Plants are the gifts that keep on giving. Here are three great ideas for your special gardening friends this Christmas, each with a different theme.
- Something with Christmas colours: Red mandevilla (Mandevilla)
Plants that display classic Christmas colours can be used to decorate the home on Christmas Day then given to your guests as they leave. Poinsettias have always been popular for this, but why not try a beautiful red-flowering mandevilla? They flower profusely from spring to autumn and are great for growing in containers on a sunny patio or balcony, where they can be trimmed as a shrub. Planted in the ground, they make a tidy, attractive climber when trained over a frame. Look out for ‘Dark Red’ from the Aloha Mandevilla range, with rich red blooms.
- Something that has an Aussie feel: Albany woolly bush (Adenanthos sericeus)
With its compact form and soft and shimmery silver-green foliage, this Western Australian native makes the perfect Aussie Christmas tree alternative. Just pop on some colourful baubles and you’re ready to go. ‘Platinum’ is a neat, upright selection that performs well in a container and can stay inside for up to two weeks over the festive season. Birds love the little red flowers that appear throughout the year. Re-pot into a larger container once a year or plant it out in a sunny spot where the soil is very well drained. An occasional light trim will keep it in good shape.
- Something for the new gardener: Herb pots
A nice container filled with a selection of culinary herbs is a welcome gift for any gardener. It’s a particularly good choice for a friend who is new to gardening, as they are easy to grow and very practical. To make their growing experience even easier, aim to create combinations of herbs that like similar growing conditions. Mediterranean herbs, such as thyme, oregano, sage and rosemary, make good partners as they prefer their mix to be a little dry and don’t need much fertiliser. Other favourites, such as basil, parsley and mint, go well together too because they demand more regular watering and feeding.
You’ll also find indoor and edible plants that make perfect gifts in our December issue, along with many more great Christmas gift ideas.