In the Garden | Plant-centric Christmas | Gardening | news-gazette.com – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

Many of us may have a gardener on our Christmas list or may be looking for items to add to a list of our own this time of year. Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent some time talking with fellow gardeners, family members and colleagues to come up with some ideas for you or that special gardener on your list.

Of course, plants top the list for most gardeners. I think I can speak for most any gardener, new or old, in saying that every new plant brings both excitement and interest. With the long cold winter ahead and much less opportunity for plant contact, now is great time for new houseplants.I know that some gift-givers may think a gardener has too many houseplants already, but a new plant for the collection is almost always a great gift. For me, the onl…….

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Many of us may have a gardener on our Christmas list or may be looking for items to add to a list of our own this time of year. Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent some time talking with fellow gardeners, family members and colleagues to come up with some ideas for you or that special gardener on your list.

  • Of course, plants top the list for most gardeners. I think I can speak for most any gardener, new or old, in saying that every new plant brings both excitement and interest. With the long cold winter ahead and much less opportunity for plant contact, now is great time for new houseplants.
  • I know that some gift-givers may think a gardener has too many houseplants already, but a new plant for the collection is almost always a great gift. For me, the only limitation has become window space with full sun. So, a great gift for me or other gardeners that may already have quite a few is a plant tolerant of lower light levels.

If you are interested in something different than the typical plant selection at larger retail outlets, seek out a specialty shop.

In recent years, houseplants have gained popularity, and a number of new businesses have popped up in our area that specialize in houseplants.

In addition, local florists have begun to have a much wider selection of houseplants in stock.

Since these businesses specialize in plant materials, they focus on new and interesting varieties or uncommon houseplants that larger chain stores just cannot stock.

  • Perhaps you do have a gardener on your list without indoor space for full-sun plants. In recent years, LED grow lights have become much more affordable and are available in a huge variety of shapes and sizes.

From desktop lights that clap to almost any surface to large lamps which mount to walls, there’s a ton of new variations that can help add plants to nearly any space, regardless of the available sunlight.

  • Poinsettias are always a great choice for a less long-term plant option.

I view these holiday-colored plants as a living floral arrangement for the holidays, as opposed to a permanent fixture in my houseplant collection. They’re just too tough to force into flower again in the average home setting.

While we may be able to keep them alive, they certainly won’t have the same show-stopping display next year at this time.

For a new twist on this old favorite, consider seeking out some of the newer poinsettia varieties. In recent years, breeders have created some truly interesting takes on this holiday classic. New color variations continue to enter the market each year, with interesting twists like the brilliant orange-red of “Autumn Leaves,” which can add a floral splash reminiscent of both Thanksgiving and Christmas color themes. Other varieties, like “Winter Rose,” display an interesting ruffled margin on their colorful bracts, which reminds me of a twisting, draping bow on a present.

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