plant week

The Best Gifts for Plant People, According to Plant Experts

Photo-Illustration: retailers

Although plants themselves often make excellent gifts, buying a plant as a gift for a budding horticulturist can be fraught. Not only will they already know what works in their space, but they’ll also know what doesn’t work — nobody wants a prayer plant if their windows let in very little sunlight. Instead, consider gifts that can make the process of tending to their plants easier: misters and watering cans that are design-y enough to leave lying around or vases and planters to better show off their impressive collection. We spoke to five experts, including plant-shop owners, florists, and other horticultural experts, to get their recommendations on the best gifts for plant people. We also dug through the Strategist archives to find some suggestions of our own. And should you want to shop for the actual plants themselves, we’ve got guides to the best plants for beginners and some faux options, too.

Watering cans and misters

“Nothing feels better than watering a thriving plant in a good-looking pot,” says Stacey Rockliffe, owner of Mawusi Plants. She says that though she knows people who use “bottles, bowls, and cups” to water their plants, a dedicated can is best — and it’s a highly giftable option. “Especially one that can complement a person’s home. A nice watering can serves as a great ‘new home’ gift,” she says. Mawusi stocks this handsome gold can featuring a thin neck to allow for better control over the water flow — crucial to avoid drowning your plants.

Photo: retailer

If you have a friend whose plants err on the micro side — think succulents, cacti, or perhaps a hoya kerrii — then a regular-size can could overwhelm them. This miniature model from Urban Outfitters would do the job.

We’re partial to this indoor watering can from Haws, which has been manufacturing its products in the West Midlands since 1886.

Haws also does misters, so if you’re looking for one your giftee can proudly leave out in the open, Igor Josifovic and Judith de Graaff, authors of Urban Jungle: Living and Styling With Plants, recommend this brass one. They love this mister (which also comes in copper and nickel) for its simplicity: “The press plunger is easy to use, and the size of water droplets is really nice and small.” They add that it “looks really good paired with plants.” Josifovic and de Graaff recommend using misters on tropical plants (ferns, orchids, calatheas, marantas, banana plants, and air plants) and misting them in the early morning because sunlight can help the moisture evaporate.

Tim Sherratt, founder of plant-pot shop Anther + Moss (whose pots are also sold in the cactus shop Prick London), recommended this rather sophisticated mister from the Barbican gift shop. “The galvanised design has a black zinc finish, which would look nice next to a charcoal houseplant pot,” he says. The mister holds 320 millilitres of water, which, Sherratt says, means “you can water plenty of plants without having to fill it up every time.” He adds that mister like this one is ideal for plants that are native to humid places, “like calatheas and alocasias, as well as palm species, such as the popular kentia. Along with keeping brown tips at bay, the healthy leaves that a humid environment promotes will help keep spider mites at bay.”

“Some plant parents will get their friends or family to check in on their plants when they are away — others leave their plants with a hope and a prayer that they will be okay,” says Rockliffe. She suggests a watering globe, which sticks into the soil and gently releases water, keeping plants well watered while your giftee is on holiday. We like the giftable Bordy, a Strategist UK best seller. It was first recommended to us by Guardian columnist Coco Khan, and now three Strategist UK staff members own one too.

You can get water globes in bulk if you’re buying for someone who has a lot of plants (or takes a lot of holidays).

Floral gifts

Two of our experts suggested dried flowers as a highly giftable option since they incur very little damage in transit and can last for up to a year while looking just as striking and colourful as a fresh bouquet of flowers. “Now you can get all kinds of vibrant dried bouquets,” says Jen Panxhi, owner of Jen’s Plants & Florist in Spitalfields. Milena Mackowiak’s company, Stems Wilder in Brixton Village, specialises in unconventional flower types and colour combinations — we like this rhubarb-and-custard one.

We like this bouquet from Shida, a florist specialising in dried flowers, favoured by interior stylist Yasmin Fatollahy and influencer Emily Valentine.

We also like this option from Bloom & Wild.

Mackowiak also chose this flower press, suggesting it for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors: “Pressing flowers was something I used to do a lot as a child and teenager. It really brings back memories. This pocket press is very handy when you’re out for nature walks.”

Once pressed, flowers could be displayed in one of these glass frames, which Mackowiak says make for a striking Christmas-tree decoration.

Pots, planters, and vases

“Every plant looks nicer when it’s in an equally stylish pot,” says Panxhi. “You can choose a pot that will complement the style of your plant — a loud one might suit a very neutral pot, and a simple plant might suit a jazzier design.” Panxhi, who says her shop will be launching its own range of pots soon, says she is fond of yellow ones, which suit both the greens typical of most houseplants as well as the reds and pinks seen in some calatheas and rubber plants.

Mackowiak told us about Conservatory Archives, which she called “the best plant shop in London.” There are two locations, one in Hackney and one in Clapton, and Mackowiak loves “their selection of terra-cotta planters, often in unusual shapes.” She says her plants at home all have terra-cotta pots — “they’re very breathable, which the plants love.” This cinnabar planter is one Mackowiak owns.

Nick Jackson, founder of Plantsmith, a company specialising in houseplant feeders, says he likes the pots and planters from Husk. “All their products are made from agricultural waste products, so they have a great sustainability message,” he says. The geometric ‘Roman’ planter, for example, is made from bamboo powder.

Husk’s pots will naturally break down after about seven years and, thanks to their composition, can be crushed and buried underground (the company also recommends recycling them professionally via firms such as TerraCycle). Husk also advises keeping them indoors, rather than using them for plants on your patio and balcony, to prolong the product’s lifespan.

Not all concrete pots are created equal — this one by the Stem is flecked with copper and would make a nice gift for a friend with a Tom Dixon–inspired living room.

“These glass vases are some of my favourite designer vases,” says Mackowiak. They come from the Danish brand &Klevering, which drew inspiration from the 1980s Memphis design movement favouring geometric shapes and bold colours. “I love how it brings a touch of colour to the interior and flower arrangements without being overpowering,” she says.

£58

We also like the striking, maximalist vases of Appreciation Project, whose wares we have seen in the homes of several notable influencers, such as stylist and YouTuber Emma Rose Thatcher and Hannah T Interiors, and even at the Rose in June in Margate.

Gardening tools

Felco Model 2 Secateurs
£35
£35

Medium-to-large plants will require maintenance, like clipping off dead or dying leaves and propagating healthy ones. While most people can get by with a pair of kitchen scissors, a proper pair of secateurs is even better, and when we looked at the best ones out there for every type of person, we were impressed at the range of surprisingly stylish options available. The Swiss-made Felco F2 was considered “an industry standard,” according to people we spoke to, with its large handles and coiled spring making it particularly comfortable to hold.

For less woody stems, these garden scissors favoured by Marie Kondo would be great for tidying smaller or trailing plants, such as string of pearls and pothos (they’d be excellent for snipping fresh chives from a balcony garden, too).

Sherratt says these Japanese secateurs are used for pruning pines: “In other words, they are much more heavy-duty than might I need for trimming my string of hearts.” However, he says, “I adore the elegant yet industrial aesthetic, and they’re much better than western-style secateurs for when you’ve got to get in amongst the foliage.”

Mini Gardening Tool Set
£6
£6

Rockliffe also suggested this mini gardening kit. “It contains everything you need to look after your smaller plants,” she says. It features 13 pieces, including a cleaning brush, a pair of forceps, an iron rake, and a seedling extractor.

Miscellaneous gifts

Wild at Heart, by Hilton Carter
£13
£13

Rockliffe suggests a coffee-table book that caters to a giftee’s interests. She specifically likes the ones by Hilton Carter: “He is an American plant-and-interior stylist, and I own two of his books myself. Not only will this complement the living space with its eye-catching cover, but inside, it contains the most useful tips on all things plant care and plant projects. There are many books on plant care on the internet but none, I believe, that look as great as his.”

Photo: RETAILER

For a more botanically oriented book, we like The Botanical City. Curated with help from Kew Gardens horticulture expert Hélèna Dove, it features reproductions of ultradetailed illustrations from the 18th-century book Flora Londinensis as well as modern recipes, contemporary medicinal uses, and unusual facts.

For a small, inexpensive gift, Jackson suggests these brass animals that hang from houseplants. “I have a couple of sloths on my plants at home,” he says.

“A lot of plant wall art can be bright and in your face, but I think these pieces have a nice artistic subtlety,” says Rockliffe of these tasteful prints by Line & Honey. The studio was founded by Amberlee Green, a mental-health advisor and lecturer at the University of the Arts, London, whose work focuses on “minimal, mindful line drawings of Black women.” We think buying a friend one of these pieces, particularly if it depicts a plant they already own, would make a thoughtful gift.

Mackowiak, meanwhile, suggests these prints by French artist Claire Leina. “In her prints, houseplants take over the scenery, the modern architecture, and interior,” she says. “These are perfect for plant lovers.”

We like Leina’s range of cards, too, like this oasis-y scene.

For a plant person who lives in a small flat (or lacks storage), Sherratt recommended dehydrated-coconut coir: “It’s an excellent, much more environmentally friendly alternative to peat, which is more than enough of a reason to choose this compost. But the real reason I love it is the packaging. Having no outdoor space to keep this kind of thing, I have it on a shelf next to my plants, and it looks great, much better than a sagging plastic bag of general-purpose compost from B&Q.” For Peat’s Sake says that after adding water, this coir will hydrate and grow to approximately 11.5 litres.

This gift set from Plantsmith includes a bottle of the brand’s houseplant tonic, which contains potassium, magnesium, and iron as well as kelp extract, which stimulates plant growth. The set also features a leaf mist, which includes lavender and avocado oils designed to keep bugs and insects away.

£10

Panxhi says a candle would be great for any plant-filled space, be it a reading nook or a carefully curated set of floating shelves. “It’s all about cosiness at this time of year — a candle is the perfect gift,” she says, adding that natural scents such as lavender or beechwood would complement any greenery (just be careful not to have a lit candle too close to any plants).

This Muji candle is scented with lavender, bergamot, and sandalwood, and the tin would be perfect for storing next year’s seeds.

For a budding horticulturist, we love the idea of gifting one of Loewe’s tomato-scented candles (a scent that is currently having a bit of a moment).

The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The Best Gifts for Plant People, According to Plant Experts