Do you love indoor plants? If you have an indoor jungle in your home that you’re obsessed with, it’s natural to want to share that passion with your loved ones. But what if that person isn’t an experienced plant parent yet? What if they just don’t know where to start?
We’ve compiled a list of 12 plants that make perfect Christmas presents. These plants work in a variety of conditions, work well in lots of different styles of spaces, and will withstand the ebbs and flows that come with someone learning how to grow their green thumb.
We’ve all been there with our first plants. Give your friends the gift of indoor plant confidence this Christmas with these perfect Christmas present plants! These beginner houseplants are a joy to see on Christmas morning!
1. Snake Plant
Snake plants (Sansevieria) are available in a vast array of sizes and styles. Most of them share key qualities that make them great presents. First, they’re incredibly easy to care for because they prefer to be left alone more often than not. You can wait 2 weeks to a month between waterings, especially in the winter. Second, they fit into smaller spaces with their narrow, upright shape, so you don’t have to worry about how much space your giftee has available for plants. Thirdly, they will withstand a very wide level of light, anywhere from bright light to low light – this way you can gift a snake plant without knowing how much light your friend does or doesn’t have.
Cyclamen make the perfect gift for this holiday season! We have many different varieties available in pink, white, red, and purple. They enjoy bright indirect light, humidity, and like to stay moist. Cyclamen will not only brighten up a home for the holidays but can continue to grow all year long. If properly cared for, they can grow to be 10 inches tall and wide!
Philodendrons cover a huge category of plants, with more shapes, sizes and colors than we can list in this blog! The great thing about all philodendrons, despite their vast and unique differences, is that they respond to the same simple care routine: they want lots of light, a little humidity if possible, and an even watering schedule. If you give them a moss pole to climb, many will reward you with big, dramatic leaves!
Even some of the more rare and popular styles are as easy to care for as the more accessible varieties. If you have a friend or family member on your Christmas list that has a specific kind of philodendron in mind, many of these unique varieties are available in smaller, affordable sizes. Our Philodendron Pink Princess plants in 2-inch pots are darling with their bubble-gum variegation, and they’re sure to bring a smile on Christmas morning!
We consider Pothos plants the most indestructible plants on our Christmas list. Seriously, we’ve seen Pothos recover from the most extreme cases of neglect, stress, or infection, and they bounce back like nothing happened. If worse comes to worst, they’re very easy to propagate too so you can always, always salvage a pothos! This makes this plant a perfect gift for someone who wants to learn how to care for plants: they can handle lower light, they respond to care by visibly perking up after being watered, and they’ll withstand a few bumps and mistakes along the way. The way they trail over shelves is an added bonus!
5. Christmas Cacti
Christmas cacti (Schlumbergera truncata) are very popular in nurseries during the holiday season, even ours. But did you know these are the easiest holiday plants to have rebloom year after year? Once they’re in a situation they like, they are a great choice in Christmas foliage for anyone who wants to keep them and watch them bloom every holiday season. The older ones drape with huge, elegantly draping segmented stems, earning them the nickname Crab Cactus. For most of the year Christmas Cacti look like a modern sculpture, and then for a few months of the year they bloom with bright white, pink, red and salmon flowers.
In order to care for them through the year, they actually like environments that are, as one of our staff describes it, “cave-like.” They need less light than their succulent cousins, and they like humidity. Put them over a pebble tray in a bathroom or on a shelf further into the room, water once the soil has dried, and you’ll have a happily dormant Christmas cactus that’s ready to wake up and bloom for you every holiday season.
Poinsettias are a top holiday flower pick for their beautiful array of shades and colors. They have traditionally been the winter holiday’s most popular plant! Poinsettias are easy to care for, too. They prefer indirect, natural light, especially during the shorter days of winter. Water them in the sink, let them sit for five minutes, then discard any excess water.
Poinsettias are not just for the holidays, these plants are also an excellent addition to your house since they’re able to clean the air and look good while doing it! They are at the top of the list of most helpful clean-air houseplants. Poinsettias remove the trace formaldehyde that exists in the air from insulation, grocery bags, particleboard, and other household items. This leads to cleaner air with fewer pollutants.
7. Desert Cacti
Do you have a friend who wants plants… but is probably not going to water them? Cactus it is! Most desert cacti simply need lots of light and a little bit of water every now and then. Forgetting to water these houseplants is better than fretting and overwatering them! There are more varieties of cacti than we can name, and we have a whole wall dedicated to them in our nursery. If you are gifting a cactus to a friend and you’re not sure of their light situation, add an office grow light bulb to the mix. They’re the same light and size as regular lightbulbs but they have the kind of light plants need to thrive.
8. Hoya Varieties
If you’ve heard a true plantista talk about their plants, they have probably brought up their favorite hoyas. This family of indoor plants ranges from the adorable Hoya kerii (that looks like a valentine heart growing in soil), to epic trailing plants like a Hindu Rope Hoya. Similar to philodendrons, most hoyas love bright, indirect light and an even watering schedule that lets them dry out a little bit in between waterings. They come in an even wider variety of shapes, so there is certainly a hoya for everyone. This is a good choice for anyone who has a plant or two and they’re ready to branch out just a little bit.
9. ZZ Plants
ZZ Plants (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) are another tried and true beginner-friendly plant. If you want to give someone a plant but you know nothing about their home situation or their skill level with plant, the ZZ plant can handle a variety of light levels, will complement a variety of homes, and will “thrive on neglect.” Native to Africa, they actually have a very similar kind of hardiness as snake plants, i.e. if you forget about them for a while they’ll tough it out; ZZ plants have a softer look and will blend into more styles of interior design than a snake plant always will.
Aglaonemas make awesome plant presents for the color they bring year-round. Their foliage can be festive red, white and green, and every variety sports a different balance of color. They have similar care needs to many of the plants mentioned earlier – water when the top few inches of soil have dried out, don’t let them sit in standing water, and they can thrive in low to medium light levels. Their durability makes them a great first plant, and their endless varieties of colors and variegation make them a wonderful bonus plant for the experienced plant parents on your list too.
11. Monstera Deliciosa
Monstera deliciosa plants have some of the most recognizable leaves, with their cutouts (called fenestrations) that deepen as the leaves age. Graphic designers especially have made this plant synonymous with indoor plant culture and indoor jungles.
Since Monstera deliciosas are so iconic as a tropical indoor plant, many uninitiated tend to believe that they are too difficult to care for – this could not be further from the truth. Monsteras can tolerate a wide range of light levels and they like to stay evenly moist if possible, but can handle drying out somewhat. They like humidity, so consider adding a pebble tray or misting bottle to the gift basket.
This is a very fun and trendy gift for someone who loves the idea of owning lots of plants, but they don’t have the time or resources to build biophilic rooms or living walls. Monsteras will bring that trendy indoor oasis vibe immediately and all on their own.
Anthurium plants have a great selection of options to choose from. Whether you are looking to get someone a pop of color or add texture to their collection we have you covered. We have white, red, and pink varieties for a colorful pop. If you are looking for a texture statement piece we also have many different sizes of Anthurium Ruffles. This is a houseplant you cannot go wrong with!
Bonus Gift: Gift cards! A Patuxent Nursery Giftcard is a great option. Feel free to come in and bring your bestie shopping, so you can shop for your favorite plants together! Our plant experts will help you both find the perfect houseplant that is the best fit for you, your home, and the level of care you’re comfortable with.