Give the gift of plants — and tips on how to care for them — to your loved ones this Valentine's Day.
It’s that time of year again: romance, chocolate, and… plants? We’re big fans of giving all our nearest and dearest the gift of green on V-Day.
Though flowers die after a week or so, plants can really last if you care for them correctly… and isn’t that a beautiful metaphor for love?
However, the most romantic day of the year falls squarely in winter, which can be a tough season for plants.
Don’t let your loved ones stress — just share these helpful care tips.
1. Make sure your plant is getting all the light it needs
As we all know too well, sunlight isn’t particularly reliable during winter.
Since the sun rises later and sets earlier, you have to make sure that your plant is getting all the light it needs to thrive. Try moving your plants closer to a window for the dark winter months — a south-facing window is best, since it gets the most sun.
2. Give your windows a good clean to really allow the sun to seep in
You can also give the leaves of your plant a wipe with a damp cloth — this will allow it to absorb all the light it needs.
3. Make sure the temperature is right
Most plants don’t love being in temperatures below 10°C, so make sure they aren’t in those really cold spots in your home for very long.
On the flipside, they also don’t like being too hot, so make sure they aren’t too close to radiators or fireplaces.
4. Don’t give them any fertiliser in the winter
This would be like trying to force food down the mouth of a sleeping person.
Wait until growing season (that’s spring and summer) to give them feed again.
5. Don't water plants too much
This is the most crucial bit: cut back on your watering routine.
Unless there’s a fair amount of humidity in the air, plants like it when their soil dries out completely between waterings in winter.
This means your plant’s soil should be dry all the way through, not just at the top layer.
The best way to check if it’s shower time: pick up your plant by its pot. If it feels really light, then it’s probably time for a drink — douse your plant in water, let it drain through, and then discard the run-off.
What are the best plants for Valentine's Day gifts?
Bertie (Boston Fern)
“Our love fern! You let it die?” 10 points if you can guess which film that quote’s from.
Hailing originally from tropical climes, this leafy fern is sure to bring heat to a relationship.
Phil (Philodendron scandens)
This trailing beauty has heart-shaped leaves, making him the perfect V-Day present.
But Phil isn’t just a pretty face: his laid-back personality means he’s a perfect pick for the clueless gardener.
Lara (White Orchid)
If you absolutely have to give someone flowers, go with our girl Lara.
This gorgeous orchid stays in bloom all year round, a good symbol of your everlasting love.
If the object of your affection can’t even keep their electric toothbrush alive, then maybe you should consider giving them a hard-to-kill cactus.
Spike, our prickliest little pal, is the perfect choice for the black-thumbed people in your life.
Another nearly-unkillable house plant, Suri — our succulent — is exceptionally easy to look after, provided she’s kept in a bright spot.
Her lovely colour brings a bit of romance to any space.
Follow @PatchPlants on Instagram to get inspired by the world’s best indoor and outdoor urban gardens.