Connecticut Garden Journal: Orchids and other gifts for plant-loving Valentines
Yes, it's almost time for the big February holiday, Valentine's Day. While everyone knows cut flowers and chocolates are the go-to gifts for Valentine's Day, for the gardener in your life, you might want to consider something different this year.
I fell in love with the Sweetheart Hoya a number of years ago. There are green versions that are common, but look for the variegated version that's a plant, not just a cutting. This hoya has large leaves shaped like a heart. If you just get the cutting version it will stay alive, but not really grow much. If you grow the plant version, it turns into a sun loving houseplant you'll have for years.
Although they're everywhere, I think moth orchids are a great Valentine's Day flower. First of all, if you place the plant in a bright, indirect lit room or window and literally do nothing, the bloom stalk will still last weeks and may months before fading. For the same price as some cut roses, it's worth the extra flowering time. With a little care you can turn this one time gift into an all the time houseplant that blooms every year.
If you really want to give cut flowers, consider giving calla lilies instead of roses. Calla lilies flowers are really leaf-like curved bracts so they last longer than other flowers when cut. They come in a wide range of colors and are stunning. Stand the stems in 2 inches of water to hydrate for 2 hours once home. Then recut the bottoms of the stems at an angle underwater for longer vase life.