ORNAMENTALTIPS

Some Christmas gift ideas for the novice and expert plant enthusiasts

Begonias from Albert Howard Tang's collection (Photo courtesy of Albert Howell Tang)

BY PATRICIA BIANCA S. TACULAO

As the famous song goes, “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” Society is slowly preparing for the long-awaited holiday by putting up season-appropriate decorations, planning the Christmas Eve dinner, and gift-giving. Many people take gifting very seriously, sparing no expense and spending a long time finding the ideal presents. 

Since many have taken to gardening, plants have also become a suitable choice for gardening enthusiasts.  Those who plan on giving plants as a gift have a wide array of species to choose from. Three gardeners share some suggestions on what plants make a good gift. 

Something easy, beautiful, and affordable

Albert Tang, a fourth-year college student studying BS Management at the Ateneo De Manila University, has been gardening since he was 12 years old. He now has around 120 cultivars and species in his garden, including the largest water lily species. His collection started with cacti and succulents. He eventually developed other interests in caudiciforms, euphorbias, haworthias, aroids, begonias, and jewel orchids.

Begonias from Albert Howard Tang’s collection (Photo courtesy of Albert Howell Tang)

(Read more about Tang’s gardening venture here

Tang suggests giving beginner gardeners Cane begonia cultivars or species for Christmas because these are easy to maintain and propagate. Plus, these come in different shapes and sizes, making them a great addition to their starter collection. 

Cane begonias are called such because of their tough, bamboo-like stems. They are also known as angel wing begonias because of the shape of their leaves. The plant is native to Brazil and is characterized by upright stems with interesting dotted leaves, unique colors, and a captivating display of flowers. Beginner gardeners will also love having cane begonias around because these grow at a moderately quick rate, with noticeable growth visible in just six weeks.

Something festive

One of the first things that come to mind when people think of Christmas is Christmas trees. These trees, either pine or synthetic, are adorned with a variety of ornaments to signify the festivity of the holidays. But Genielyn Lorenzo, the owner of Lolo Boy’s Plant House in Quezon City, thinks that the trees aren’t only for decoration. She believes that these also make for a good Christmas gift. 

Lorenzo started Lolo Boy’s Plant House to honor her father, who shares in her love for gardening, and to help displaced workers from their food business to stay afloat during the pandemic. 

(Find out more about Lolo Boy’s Plant House here

A tabletop pine tree. (Photo by Genielyn Lorenzo)

She suggests giving plant enthusiasts who love Christmas tabletop pine trees. This gives the recipient a holiday feel at home, even if the holidays are over. It’s also a natural and more affordable alternative to artificial trees.

“In containers, Cypress pine trees grow best in a very well-drained but damp to moist soil. They do not like constantly soggy or wet soil. Therefore, I recommend using a premium potting mix or potting soil, or a 50/50 mix of the two, in a container that has a drainage hole/s,” she added. 

Something practical 

Plants aren’t the only gifts that both beginner and novice gardeners would like to receive. As the proprietors of Quezon City-based plant shop, Hardin Ni Lucia explain, other items can help make the lives of gardeners more convenient. 

Hardin Ni Lucia was created by the Guanlao family to honor their grandmother’s love for plants and to inspire others to start gardening. Most of the plants that the Guanlaos sell in their store come from their mother’s collection. 

(Learn more about Hardin Ni Lucia here

Those who plan on giving a gift to a gardening enthusiast can consider gardening supplies and devices such as fertilizer, humidifiers, or grow lights as gifts. These items are not only helpful in the gardening process, but they’re also practical. 

While many gardening enthusiasts will appreciate whatever gift they receive, be it a plant or a gardening tool, it’s important to remember that it’s the thought that counts the most.

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Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Patricia Taculao, or Patty as she likes to be called, is a content producer for Manila Bulletin Digital Lifestyle. She graduated from University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She loves to spend her free time, reading, painting, and watching old movies.

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