How to Make Gift Plants Last Longer

How to Make Gift Plants Last Longer

Discover water, light, and other tips for keeping new plants looking their best.
Did someone special give you a plant? Lucky you! Here are some common gift plants and care tips for enjoying them forever.

Variegated Leafy Plants
Most variegated plants look their best in bright, indirect light. Variegated striped or two-toned leaves produce less chlorophyll. If the plant doesn’t get enough light, it will sprout all-green leaves in order to get the chlorophyll it needs for growth.

Surprisingly easy care, orchids stay in flower for several months. When their flowers fade, just clip off the withered stem and enjoy their strappy glossy leaves. In a few months, moth orchids will send up a new stem and rebloom (see tips for getting them to flower again). They are epiphytes so they need little water – a mist of their aerial roots will keep them happy.

You will enjoy the leathery, textural heart-shape flowers of anthurium for weeks. When the flowers fade, clip off the stem at the base of the plant. If kept in indirect bright light, healthy plants will rebloom.

Succulents and Cacti
Two words: Bright Light! Both succulents and cactus need bright light in order to grow successfully. Cacti require little water. And most succulents also prefer life on the dry side. Don’t overwater! It’s the number one killer of plants, especially species that are desert natives.

Hoya Heart
These little charmers are the potted heart-shape leaves of Hoya kerrii. Water hoya hearts when the top one inch of soil around the leaf feels dry. Take care to avoid overwatering, because if the base of the plant becomes too soggy, the plant will die.

Snake Plants
Tall, strappy snake plants are ideal low-maintenance roommates. They thrive in a variety of light locations and don’t require constant watering. They are ideal for plant parents who travel or are forgetful waterers. They are relatively slow growing, so you won’t have to bump them up to a larger pot for years.