LSU AgCenter Horticulturist
Flowers and chocolates are the standard Valentine’s Day gifts — but if you would like to come up with something more original this year, it’s time to think beyond the typical bouquet of red roses. For the gardeners in your life, the gift of a live plant can be an excellent expression of your love.
Any live plant will do, but if you want to stick with flowers, why not give a plant that can be used to make cut flowers year after year? A great example of this is, of course, roses.
With a large array of colors and fragrances to choose from, there is no shortage of options with roses. If you are looking for fragrant roses, choose those classified as bourbon, tea or hybrid tea types.
Another shrub that produces excellent cut flowers is hydrangeas. Hydrangea paniculata varieties such as Limelight, White Wedding and Littlelime Punch are great options. Other hydrangeas include Big Daddy and Heart Throb. Heart Throb is a Hydrangea microphylla with cherry red flowers in the summertime, making it an appropriate selection for Valentine’s Day.
Perennials also make great cut flowers. Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile), gerbera daisies, calla lilies, coneflowers, dianthus, gaillardia, day lilies, black-eyed Susans and zinnias are a few more options.
You don’t have to stop there. You can find all sorts of gifts for gardeners. How about a good gardening book? These reference publications will help expand your gardener’s knowledge and serve them well for years to come.
A decorative planter is another great idea. Ceramic containers can be very ornate, although they often are heavy. Terracotta is traditional and affordable. Plastic plant containers are often the most economical and are lighter in weight. You can also find wooden and metal planters.
Indoor herb gardens can be great for your loved ones who are high-tech and have small spaces. Energy-efficient LED lights, plant pods and a reservoir for water make it easy to have your own kitchen garden.
Houseplants are extremely trendy and easy to care for. You can easily find a live plant at most any florist. Floral jewelry also can be a great gift, and do not forget gift cards to local retail garden centers.
Need more ideas? Try gardening tools, garden art, watering cans, seeds, seed starter kits, trellises, plant stakes, harvesting baskets, gardening shears, bird feeders and houses, composting bins, bulb vases, gardening gloves, shoes and hats.
If you don’t want to give an actual gift, why not take your valentine for an outing at a public garden? What could be more romantic than a stroll holding hands out in nature and enjoying the outdoors? There is a public garden in or near almost every town.
A brief list of public gardens are the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden, LSU Hilltop Arboretum, Cohn Arboretum and Independence Botanical Gardens in Baton Rouge; Jungle Gardens in Avery Island; Louisiana State Arboretum in Ville Platte; Louisiana Tech University Arboretum in Ruston; Biedenharn Museum and Gardens in Monroe; LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station in Hammond; The Gardens of the American Rose Center in Shreveport; and the New Orleans Botanical Garden.
In addition, of course, many private gardens can be toured for small fees, such as Afton Villa Gardens and Rosedown Gardens in St. Francisville; Houmas House and Gardens in Darrow; and Longue Vue House and Gardens in New Orleans. The list could go on. It is easy to research gardens near you to plan an outing.
The sky is the limit when it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts for gardeners. When in doubt, though, a bouquet of flowers is a sure winner. And, above all, don’t forget the most important gift you can give on this holiday: spending time together.
A beautiful stroll in a botanic garden can be wonderful Valentine’s Day surprise. Photo by Heather Kirk-Ballard/LSU AgCenter
Bouquets of flowers are a sure winner for Valentine’s Day. Photo by Heather Kirk-Ballard/LSU AgCenter
Ceramic plant containers make an excellent gift for gardeners. Photo by Heather Kirk-Ballard/LSU AgCenter
Indoor houseplants are trendy and make wonderful gifts. Photo by Heather Kirk-Ballard/LSU AgCenter
Raised bed containers, hummingbird feeders and plant labels all make great gift ideas for gardeners. Photo by Heather Kirk-Ballard/LSU AgCenter