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Christmas Gift Ideas


Neville Passmore


28 November 2017

Decorative Succulent Bowl

Stuck for gift ideas? The look no further than a beautiful Christmas gift bowl, start planting now so it looks stunning at Christmas time!  

Bowls are by definition wide, low profile pots that are small enough to be used as a tabletop garden.  This makes them excellent choices for gifts, as you generally don't need a truck to deliver them.

Of course you will need a good quality free draining potting mix.  Baileys Premium Potting Mix is just the shot for all of the following suggestions except the cactus or succulent bowls which will need either a specific mix or a 50:50 combination of Baileys and washed river sand. 

A bowl of herbs makes great sense as you can combine a number of different varieties so you finish up with a suite.  For example you can put an Italian Collection a pizza selection a breakfast suite of Indian inspired collections.  There is a wide range of herbs in sale now including the well known of dill, chives, parley, basil sweet, garlic, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme. 

Trumpet Pitcher Carnivorous Plant

Another very practical idea - a lettuce bowl. Just get a colourful selection of lettuce seedlings aim for the advanced ones and the recipient could be harvesting salad greens for Christmas lunch. 

One of the hottest trends for bowls this season is cacti and succulents.  They come in mesmerizing shapes look great when planted together in most cases and are as tough as old boots being able to go for up to a fortnight without water in the height of summer if necessary.  Of course they will enjoy a bit of TLC but don't go too far overboard these plants come from desert style environments so they are built tough.

Flowering annuals certainly give lots of scope for bowl planting and with a bit of advice at the garden centre you can ensure that your colourful bowl will indeed be in flower at the time of giving.  Remember there are selections for full sun as well as shaded locations so get good advice before you buy.  

Indoor plants are becoming hot items as millennials develop their passions for greening the indoor scenery.  Have a look at the Plant Life Balance App. It allows you to take a photo with your smartphone and then place in plants to beautify the indoor space.  There are many options here my main suggestion is to plant closely so the bowl looks full from day one. 

Bromeliads are also known as air plants and vase plants and are basic succulent even though they don't have thick stems, leaves or roots.  They store water in the vase shaped whorl at the base of the leaves.  So apart from being holiday proof from a watering perspective as long as there is water in the vase, these plants can have spectacular flower clusters to rival tropical orchids.   

You can buy a bonsai that's been shaped and pot it into a bowl. Just one hint Bonsai plants need to be watered often so they do best in a very coarse open mix such as I have suggested above for Cacti and succulents.  

Carnivorous plants are an unusual choice for a bowl but they can work very well. Choose a bowl without a hole in the base as carnivorous plants live in swampy conditions where they need to access insects for food because the sodden soil yield little nutrient.  Look for Venus flytraps (dionaea), Trumpet Pitcher plant (sarracenia), Albany Pitcher plants and sundews (drosera).