29 Perfect Houseplants To Give As Gifts This Year
Stuck on what gifts to give for a special occasion? No matter the holiday, receiver, or reason for gifting, houseplants are always a wonderful choice. Houseplant expert Madison Moulton lists 29 houseplants you should consider when you’re next gift shopping.
Giving gifts is an art. Some people have the ability to pick out the perfect personal gift. Others don’t (myself included). For those in the latter category, I’ve found the ideal solution that has never received a bad review – gifting houseplants.
Whether it’s a birthday, holiday celebration, or just a little treat, houseplants can brighten someone’s day instantly.
There is risk in gifting something that needs care and attention, but that concern is easy to work around. You can gift low-maintenance, almost impossible-to-kill houseplants to beginners, reserving the more unique species for avid houseplant collectors.
These 29 houseplants are suitable for a range of people and situations, keeping your gifting list covered year-round.
The quintessential houseplant gift, peace lilies are the first plant I think of when there is a special occasion. Their classic look and stark white flowers suit any space, and they’re almost the perfect size – small enough to place anywhere but large enough to make an impact.
Peace lilies have wonderful symbolism, including healing, hope, and prosperity. But if you don’t subscribe to any of those plant meanings, you can be satisfied that they are also remarkably easy to care for and tolerant of many environmental conditions. Just don’t forget to water if you want to avoid sad and wilting leaves.
If the intended gift receiver has never cared for houseplants and knows next to nothing about how to get them right, this is the plant to choose. Snake plants can grow in low light to almost full sun, only need watering every couple of weeks (even less in winter), and thrive when given little attention.
There are several cultivars to look out for with different shapes and colors. They can also remain compact or grow quite tall, so tailor your choice to the most suitable variety for the space. Snake plants are great for any plant newbies, excluding perhaps your mother-in-law, thanks to their common name, mother-in-law’s tongue.
For those indecisive gift-givers who want more variety with the same ease of care, peperomia is the answer. This genus is packed with interesting species with uniquely textured leaves and vibrant colors. There is so much variety between plants that you can place two different ones together and not even know they’re related.
The plants are even more beautiful when in flower, producing tall flower spikes that tower over the leaves. But you can place them in a slightly darker spot and just enjoy them for their attractive foliage.
The previous explosion in houseplant popularity arguably started with two species – Ficus lyrata and Monstera deliciosa. But as beautiful as the fiddle leaf fig is, it does have a reputation for being a little fussy and, by extension, not the most welcomed gift. Luckily, the same does not apply to the monstera.
While a standard monstera makes a great gift alone, you can take it to the next level by rooting a cutting in a decorative vase and gifting that. With some extra care, the cuttings can stay in the water indefinitely, or the giftee can transplant the cutting into a container of their choosing.
Monsteras are suitable for many interiors, with a soft and organic look. But if you want something a little more structural, the jade plant is perfect. This succulent handles indoor conditions incredibly well and develops thick branches that make it look almost like a small tree – bonsai without the technicalities.
As a bonus, jade plants don’t need watering often, holding excess moisture in their leaves and stems for times of drought. They make a wonderfully low-maintenance gift for any forgetful waterers.
Continuing the list of easy-care houseplants, the ZZ plant is another one to fall into the ‘almost impossible to kill’ category. They certainly don’t look like it, with stunning glossy leaves and long arching stems. But these tough beauties can handle anything you (or your giftee) throw at them.
To add a bit of drama to your gift, look for Raven ZZ plants. The leaves emerge as bright green but slowly transition to a deep, almost black color suitable for minimalist or monochromatic interiors.
Chinese Money Plant
Another social media favorite, you’ve probably seen the Chinese money plant many times online. This plant is beloved for its rounded leaves and unique growth habit, circling a central stem in a spherical shape.
Along with being easy to grow and beginner-friendly, Chinese money plants are also the gift that keeps giving. The plants produce small pups near the base of the main stem that can be separated and replanted to grow even more of these adorable plants.
The anthurium is a traditional houseplant staple that never disappoints. The beauty of giving this plant as a gift is that the flowers (or, more specifically, the waxy, modified leaves surrounding the true flowers) come in many varied colors, allowing you to tailor your choice to the giftee for a personal touch.
These plants need bright indirect light to produce their unique flowers, but beyond that, they’re not fussy or difficult to care for.
For the whimsical loved one in your life, finding a gift that matches their personality can be hard. Allow me to present the perfect answer – the ponytail palm. This plant looks like something straight out of a fairytale, with curled leaves emerging from an inflated base.
Ponytail palms grow several feet tall, but their size can be restricted by the container they are kept in. Look for smaller plants if the receiver has limited space in their home.
String of Hearts
If the common name wasn’t enough of a clue, string of hearts is often gifted on Valentine’s Day or any romantic occasion. The vines have tiny heart-shaped leaves with stunning patterns that catch the eye without overwhelming a space.
Although the vines are usually left to trail out the sides of a container, you can also train them along a wire structure. My string of hearts is wrapped around a heart-shaped wire frame for maximum impact.
The same shape on a larger scale, interest in Hoya kerrii spikes dramatically around Valentine’s Day each year. The leaves of this species are large and almost perfectly heart-shaped, retaining water to give them a plump look.
You’ll often see these plants sold as single leaves, but it’s important to note these won’t ever turn into full plants. To gift the real thing, look for the vine. If you’re happy to stick with an adorable leaf that will last a while in soil on its own without much attention, these tiny plants in smaller pots are perfect.
For giftees with pets, navigating which plants to give as gifts can be hard. So many plants are toxic to pets – some even just by being touched. The spider plant is a pet-friendly option suitable for gifting on any occasion.
Even if pets are not a concern, spider plants still make ideal gifts. The arching strappy leaves look great in hanging baskets, and the plants are not fussy, ideal for beginner gardeners.
To stick to a traditional houseplant with an avid fanbase, you can’t go wrong with the classic African violet. These adorable plants are appreciated worldwide for their fluffy leaves and elegant flowers in several glossy colors. Purple is a standout, but there are also pink or pearly white varieties.
African violets are not just great gifts for their looks but also for their compact size. They require a little more attention than the beginner-friendly mentions but should be no trouble for experienced houseplant owners.
The triostar stromanthe is a colorful marvel. The patterns and colors on the leaves look almost painted on, making a great gift for artistic types or foliage lovers. They also aren’t as common as other intricate patterned plants like calatheas or marantas (a close relation).
If the gift receiver often plays around with cut flowers from the garden, stromanthe is a great indoor addition to the fun. The leaves are eye-catching fillers in bouquets, especially when paired with other tropical plants.
Cast Iron Plant
Giving houseplants as gifts is not usually recommended for so-called ‘black thumbs’ that kill all their plants. However, the cast iron plant may be how to turn that around.
Evident in the common name, cast iron plants are remarkably tough. They can handle low light, lack of nutrients, missed watering, and many other care mishaps without trouble. Getting this right may just be the thing that gets the houseplant bug to bite.
In Feng Shui, the money tree is believed to bring its owners luck, success, and prosperity. You couldn’t ask for better symbolism for a gift than that, especially for graduation or career celebrations. Young trees are relatively small – small enough to fit on your giftee’s desk without trouble.
The glossy umbrella-shaped leaves are well-suited to any space, made even more dramatic when the central stems are braided. They will stay glossy and strong year-round with a bright spot and occasional watering.
When you think of gifting and plants, orchids are probably the first plants to pop into your head. With intricate flowers and a stunning look, it’s not hard to see why. Despite their delicate appearance, orchids are also not difficult to manage if you understand their native environments.
Moth orchids are the most commonly gifted type, available almost anywhere. But if you want to gift something a little different, look for a less common orchid type or one with a striking color. The extra effort will make all the difference to the receiver.
Unbelievably easy to grow, pothos is the perfect vine for newbies to houseplant growth. These plants are vigorous growers, looking their best in hanging baskets where the vines can cascade close to eye level.
The beauty of choosing pothos as a gift is the variety between cultivars. You can choose the classic golden pothos with flecks of yellow or the bright neon pothos for a pop of color. The variegated varieties, like Marble Queen, are particularly popular among houseplant collectors.
Bird’s Nest Fern
Ferns may seem like carefree gifting options, but they are often tougher to keep happy indoors than people realize. I’ve struggled with delicate ferns in the past, but one species I have never had any problems with is the bird’s nest fern.
Bird’s nest fern fronds are an eye-catching bright green, unfurling from the center to create an attractive nest shape. They handle lower light levels well and don’t require as much watering or high humidity as other species to look their best.
Philodendrons are commonly recommended for beginners or given as gifts for ease of care. But for experienced houseplant growers, a standard philodendron species may not be as exciting to receive as a gift as one of the rarer types.
Philodendron tortum is the perfect middle ground between common philodendrons and incredibly rare (and pricey) ones. They are relatively easy to find and have a unique, spindly look that you don’t see in other philodendrons or other types of houseplants.
Despite the confusing common name, this plant is not related to mistletoe, nor is it a cactus in the way you may recognize. Mistletoe cactus is an epiphytic cactus with cascading stems that make a unique gift or addition to houseplant collections.
This species is accustomed to growing in jungles, preferring bright indirect light over the full day of sun you might expect from a cactus. This makes it great for growing indoors, particularly in hanging baskets. It will also produce adorable white flowers in the right conditions, followed by berries.
Although succulents aren’t great for growing indoors, they make good gifts for anyone with a bright patio, balcony, or even a sunny windowsill indoors. Succulents benefit from a limited need for water, which is ideal for newbies who are not accustomed to regular plant care.
Aloe vera is a great beginner-friendly succulent that makes a wonderful gift for any occasion. The plants are also known for their health benefits and are often used in DIY beauty products.
Rat Tail Cactus
This cactus is a little more off the wall than traditional options, which makes it perfect for gift-giving. The somewhat off-putting common name comes from the look of the long and thin stems, often cascading over container sides.
This species also produces bright and eye-catching flowers in the right conditions, but their unique form is just as exciting when the plant is not in flower.
If you’ve seen a cactus with a neon top that almost looks unreal, it’s probably a moon cactus. This plant is two cacti in one – the colorful species grafted to a green cactus for chlorophyll. When you give this plant as a gift, it really is the best of both worlds.
These compact cacti add a unique pop of color and charm to any space as long as they have enough sun to look their best. Look for one in the giftee’s favorite color to make the gift more personal.
Gifting during the holidays can be tricky, but it’s made much simpler with the Thanksgiving cactus. This interesting species is named because it typically blooms around Thanksgiving, creating a wonderful spectacle that can double as Thanksgiving décor.
This plant is often mixed up with other Schlumbergera (including the one discussed next). If you’re looking for this species in particular as a gift, check labels and look out for identifiers before purchasing.
The Christmas cactus receives immense attention over the holidays thanks to its seasonal flowers that pop up in December. It is the more sought-after of the Schlumbergera species, flowering in late December and continuing through February with the right care.
If you’re gifting a Christmas cactus around the holidays, it’s vital to ensure you’re dealing with the right species. Gifting an Easter cactus by accident will probably lead to disappointment when there are no flowers to enjoy over the holidays.
Norfolk Island Pine
Houseplant gifts are typically compact and manageable, making life easier for the gifter and the giftee. But that’s not a strict rule. The Norfolk Island pine will make a massive impact if you want to go all out on gifts, especially around the holidays.
This tree is one of the few often grown indoors as a houseplant. It makes a great replacement for a Christmas tree that can be used year after year. Plus, they still look great in empty corners long after the holidays end.
The adorable zebra haworthia is a compact plant that makes a no-fuss gift for succulent lovers. The spiked leaves add structure and texture to a space, making an impact despite their small size. They are also easy to care for if you give them plenty of direct sunlight.
If you have a larger plant with a few pups, you can separate them to create multiple gifts. They make great party favors, even for guests who may not have experience with houseplants.
The final entry on the list is another succulent – echeveria. Its geometric shape and smooth, plump leaves instantly identify this genus. Many species also have a silvery-purple tone that complements elegant and modern giftees well.
The only risks when growing echeveria are overwatering and rot. But with a little forewarning, even plant newbies will find keeping their echeveria alive a breeze.
Gifting plants can be a minefield if you don’t know what to look for. These 29 houseplants offer a range of solutions to deliver the perfect gift you know the receiver will adore.