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Theses hearts will live on: Houseplants make great gifts and last longer than cut flowers

By VERDA SUBZWARI, Associated Press
Published: February 17, 2024, 6:01am
4 Photos
Gerbera flowers come in various colors.
Gerbera flowers come in various colors. (Verda Subzwari/Associated Press) Photo Gallery

Is that Valentine’s bouquet of flowers already a wilted mess? Maybe next time, look for a meaningful, beautiful, sustainable and last-minute gift for your Valentine?

Consider houseplants. Florists say those that are heart-shaped, look cheerful or have staying power are especially good at conveying Valentine’s Day love.

Plants symbolize growth and renewal, aspects of a healthy and loving relationship.

“Some couples come together and choose plants for each other,” said Rajish Lakhera, a gardener at Yogi Nursery in New Delhi, India.

Compared to cut flowers, houseplants last longer (with proper care), serving as a lasting expression of affection. And sustainability.

Many houseplants are low-maintenance, but make sure your gift matches the recipient’s ability, space and light.

A terrarium could also be a great gift, offering a wide canvas for creativity. You can customize it with different plants and decorative items reflecting your interests and memories.

Artists have long used specific plants or flowers to symbolize particular emotions. Here are some that might send a loving message:

ANTHURIUM: Often known as flamingo flowers or laceleaf. Anthuriums have waxy, heart-shaped bracts — specialized leaves that look like flowers. Choose red, pink or white.

ORCHID: Long-lasting when given the proper light and care, orchids “express the value of longevity you have for your relationship,” said Rajiv Kumar, who owns a flower shop, GiftO2, in New Delhi.

HEART-SHAPED SUCCULENTS: Hoya hearts (or hoya kerrii) look like cute, plump hearts rising out of the soil. Succulents, too, can be long-lived and are relatively low-maintenance; don’t overwater them.

ALOCASIA CUCULLATA : Also known as Chinese Taro, Buddha’s Palm or Hooded Elephant Ears. Its typically large, heart-shaped leaves, often with knotty vein patterns, give it an exotic appearance. Lakhera said, “Customers ask for customized heart-shaped ceramic pots to gift these plants.”

GERBERA FLOWERS: Gerbera’s daisy-like blooms are vibrantly colored, and its flower petals have a velvety texture. Kumar said they’re a popular choice in his shop because of their cheerful appearance. Their large blooms are often used in floral arrangements for Valentine’s Day and can be used in DIY jewelry like floral crowns.

OTHER POPULAR HOUSEPLANT GIFTS: Cyclamen, impatiens, Chinese evergreen.