It’s always nice to bring along a gift when you’re visiting someone’s home for the first time. Whether the invitation is for a meal, a cup of coffee, or to celebrate a move to a new home, a thoughtful housewarming gift is always a welcome surprise.
A plant is an especially appropriate housewarming gift when someone is moving into a new house or apartment. Houseplants bring life to a room and enhance just about any décor, but it’s important to select a plant that your recipient will be able to manage. After all of the work of moving the last thing anyone needs is the challenge of a high-maintenance houseplant, or the disappointment of a plant turning sickly or dying because they didn’t know how to take care of it.
If you’re giving a gift to someone who already has plants and some familiarity with their care then you could safely “think big” and perhaps give them a large floor plant or a more exotic potted plant. But if your recipient is new to plants or has limited window space to support a plant, it’s best to stick with a medium to small potted plant and a plant species that doesn’t require a lot of attention.
Best Plants for a Housewarming Gift
All of the following are plants that would be good choices for a housewarming gift. These plants typically only need watering once a week, do well near a window, and don’t grow super-fast so they won’t outgrow their pot or space too quickly.
Swiss Cheese Plant or Vine (Monstera adansonii)
African Milk Tree Indoors (Euphorbia trigona)
Heart-Leaf Philodendron ‘Brasil’ (Philodendron hederaceum)
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema species)
Peperomia, Radiator Plant (Peperomia species)
Spider Plant Indoors (Chlorophytum comosum)
Mother-in-law’s Tongue, Snake Plant Indoors (Sansevieria species)
ZZ Plant, Aroid Palm, Zanzibar Gem (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum hybrid)
Kalanchoe Indoors (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)
Aloe Indoors (Aloe vera)
African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)
How to Wrap a Gift Plant
It’s generally best not to try to wrap a plant as if it’s a package. You can easily damage some plants by breaking off leaves or stems. Consider just presenting the plant as-is but put it in a decorative pot or unconventional container to give your gift a more personal touch. You can buy a decorative pot at a garden center or a visit to a thrift shop can turn up mugs, ceramic bowls, tin containers, kettles, baskets, wooden boxes or other items that would make fun and attractive vessels for a hiding a plain grower pot. Even the addition of a simple bow wrapped around the pot can spruce up a plant enough to make it gift worthy.
Considerations when Selecting a Plant for a Housewarming Gift
Plants and Pets
If you’re gifting a plant to someone who has a cat or dog, you want to be sure it’s a plant that is safe for their pet to be around. You can check a plant’s safety by visiting the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) list of Poisonous Plants or pick from our list of Pet Friendly Houseplants to find the perfect gift plant for a cat or dog owner.
Information on How to Care for a Plant
It would be helpful for you to do a little research and print or write out care information on the plant you will be gifting. If it’s a plant that your recipient is unfamiliar with, or they’re new to houseplant care, this will help guide them on how to keep their new plant healthy by providing it with the proper light and water.
Make Sure Houseplant Pots have Drainage Holes
Ideally every houseplant should have drainage holes in the pot. One of the most common mistakes a lot of new plant owners make is “killing a plant with kindness”. Overwatering a plant very often leads to root rot. Inevitably, as a plant sickens or dies, the recipient of your gift plant may experience disappointment and even guilt if they feel that they’ve killed the plant.
Make sure the plant you are gifting is in a pot with drainage holes so that water is less likely to accumulate in the root zone. A pot with drainage holes will also require a saucer to capture excess water. If the plant you’re selecting doesn’t come with a saucer, you’ll want to purchase one large enough to fit the base of the pot with a little extra room to allow for overflow. Plastic pot saucers are inexpensive and essential to eliminate mess when watering.
A Watering Can is Helpful for Houseplant Care
If someone is brand new to caring for plants, consider adding a small watering can with your gift plant so they have the right tool for the job and won’t have to resort to using a drinking glass, measuring cup, or holding the pot under a faucet to give it a drink.
Flowering Potted Plants for a Housewarming Gift
A flowering gift plant such as an orchid, miniature rose, or potted lavender is sure to bring a smile. However, it’s important to know that even with the best care some flowering gift plants will never again achieve the lush flowering that commercial growers are able to accomplish in the greenhouse. Just like cut flower bouquets, many potted flowering plants are best treated as temporary décor, to be enjoyed for a while then disposed of when flowering is done.
If your preference to give a flowering plant, have a look at our page, All About Flowering Holiday Plants. There you’ll find detailed care information on many of the most popular flowering potted plants found through the seasons to help you decide if a flowering plant or foliage plant is the better choice for your gift recipient.
Transporting a Gift Plant
If you are transporting a plant during cold weather you will need to protect it from the elements. Find a box that will hold the plant and place some type of filler around the pot to hold it in place; things like packing peanuts, crumpled balls of paper, or towels will help insulate the plant from the cold and prevent it from tipping over. Ideally the box would be deep and wide enough to contain the entire plant, but if not, you could lightly cover the top of the plant with paper and attached it to the box with some tape. Warm up your car before bringing the plant outdoors, and minimize the amount of time that the plant spends going from indoors to outdoors.
Other Occasions for Gifting a Plant
Similar to a move to a new home, a move to a new office space is often a reason to celebrate. Office plants boost your mood and productivity by bringing a touch of nature indoors. Check our list of 10 Indoor Plants for a Healthier Office for easy to grow plants to brighten up your office space or gift to a coworker.