A holiday to celebrate love is pretty appealing, especially if we get rid of the outdated idea that it’s only romantic love that we should celebrate. All love is worthy of celebration. Tell your bestie how much they mean to you, reach out to a sibling, or whomever makes you smile… let them know. Even better, how about we take the idea of self-care to heart and buy yourself a little something to celebrate you. Love of all kinds should be in the air.
Just how to celebrate is another topic. While I do love a gorgeous show-stopping flower arrangement, there always seems to be something missing…. like roots. A big floral bouquet is a wonder to behold but it’s just so short lived, a week or less and it’s all over. Whereas a plant can last for many years.
So, let’s flip the script, find a new love tradition to get behind and celebrate with a new kind of gift. If you really want to channel the season then look for flowers or foliage in pinks, reds, purples and white. Or perhaps a cute little planter in millennium pink, or something with a heart shaped leaf perhaps? Check out some of my personal favourites below.
- Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) are compact (15 to 23cm tall) plants with perfect little heart shaped leaves, often with silver marbling and veining. The flowers rise up above the leaves and come in a variety of colours perfect for celebrating love (pink, purple, red and white). The flowers are unique, the petals reflex backwards making the flower look like it’s just come out of a wind tunnel. A great houseplant that is able to thrive in lower light, just be sure it gets one to two hours of indirect sunlight per day. Also make sure to keep it at a slightly cooler temperature, it will not be happy in a hot spot. Water your cyclamen well but never let the soil be waterlogged since they are sensitive to rot. Fertilize at half-strength as too much nutrients can reduce flowering. Cyclamen are perennials but they often go dormant during the warm summer months, so don’t panic if it looks like it’s dying when the weather warms up. Just pull off the dead leaves, stop watering it, and place it in a cool dark place for a couple of months. When the cool temperatures of fall come again, bring it back out and start to water. You should see new leaves forming.
- Anthurium are the perfect plant to celebrate love with their glossy, green, heart-shaped leaves and pink and/or red tropical, long-lasting (literally for months) flowers. Able to withstand a bit of shade they like bright indirect light, but if you have it in a spot that’s too dark you will see a drop in flower production. They are susceptible to root rot so don’t overwater and let them dry out slightly between watering. This is another plant that it’s best to be light-handed with the fertilizer, once every two to three months at half strength is perfect.
- Orchids are exotic, tropical and almost seem to personify love and beauty. In fact, in the language of flowers (Floriography) orchids are said to represent love and beauty. The flowers come in a huge range of colours, from pure white to rosy pink and they last for months. They are actually a lot easier to grow than many people think. You just need to do a little bit of research, make sure to follow a proper watering schedule, and place it in indirect bright light away from drafts or heating vents. Check out some in-store information on how to care for your orchid.
- Succulents are the perfect little gift. I think of pink and silver rosettes of echeverias like “ground-roses” that last for years. Being succulents, they are very forgiving of everything except overwatering. Place them in a sunny spot and enjoy for years.
- Monstera, nothing says “I love you” more than a monstera. Okay, I may have made that up, but I still think it’s true. Monstera are another plant with a heart-shaped leaf and the most amazing tropical vibe. They are well known for their habit of having either holes in their leaves (Swiss cheese plant) or deeply cut lobes. They will tolerate lower light conditions but thrive with medium bright indirect light. Make sure to water them well and then let them dry out slightly in-between. Easy to grow, everyone should have a monstera.
- Bromeliads are really having a moment, as they should. Tropical, colourful and easy to care for, they are architectural plants that make you stop and look. The sturdy, thick leaves grow in a rosette and the colourful flower rises up from the centre. Place them in bright indirect light, and make sure not to overwater your bromeliad. A good tip is to make sure there is some water in the central cup of the rosette as this is the way it would naturally collect water. But it’s not necessary, you can just water like normal making sure to let it drain well and dry out slightly in-between. Fun fact: pineapples are bromeliads.
- Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) are succulent plants with deep green glossy leaves and are a mass of vibrant, long-lasting flowers in colours ranging from white, yellow, orange, apricot, pink and red. So, if you have someone with colour preference other than typical Valentine’s standards then perhaps this is good choice. Because they are a succulent, they need bright light and good drainage. Make sure to let them dry out in-between watering and never let them sit in water.
- African violets really aren’t given the level of love they deserve, in my humble opinion. They are just so retro that I can’t help but love them. With dark green low growing rosette of velvety leaves and frilly flowers in shades of purple, pink and white. They thrive in medium to bright indirect light and when watering avoid getting water on the velvety leaves (this can cause spots).
Written by: Ingrid Hoff