Anniversary gift: a houseplant. What kind should I get?

Got an anniversary on the horizon, and it’s always hard to shop for the other half. However, I think I have a genius idea: a houseplant. We have two kids, 5 and 3, and very handsy. So it needs to be resilient, something away from the kids, and easy to take care of. Low light in the living room as well. Anyone with a green thumb with suggestions?

Do you already have a bunch of houseplants? Does your wife enjoy taking care of them? Does she have a green thumb?

If not, I’d find another gift. Does your wife really need yet another responsibility? Besides, most plants do not do well in dark rooms. Or with active kids. (Some popular houseplants are even poison.)


I have a house full of expensive, well-made silk houseplants. I love the look of plants, but I hate having to water them and getting fungus gnats from them. If you have a local silk plant store, maybe go take a look - they’re not cheap, but a good silk plant could outlast you. :slight_smile:

(You do have to dust them, though, which I am a bit lazy about. But you have to dust regular plants too, though.)

ETA: The low light thing - I absolutely love being able to put silk plants anywhere in the house - up high on a dark shelf, in a dark corner, anywhere - you’re not limited to near the windows!

I know you are trying to give your wife a lovely gift but, I gotta say, I wouldn’t be thrilled with a plant for an anniversary gift. Could you ask her best friend if she/he thinks it’s something she would like?

Assuming it is what she’d like - pretty much all attractive, indoor, low light plants that I know of are toxic to animals and children. My favorite indoor plant is the Zeezee Plant. It’s very beautiful / interesting to look at and nearly impossible to kill. They grow very slowly so you want to buy a good sized plant to start out with. My cats never munched on this plant but I kept it on smallish sized tables so the urge to jump up there wasn’t huge.

We have a sun-room filled with plants. However, to me a houseplant is a Happy Wednesday kind of gift. Why not get a sitter and do a nice dinner?

We have outdoor plants, but not very many inside plants beside the Pothos. My wife does enjoy taking care of plants, but they don’t fare very well under her management. A friend gave us a massive African violet about a year ago and half of it’s dead, unfortunately.

The kids aren’t crazy and they leave the Pothos alone. I’m not super worried about them eating it, though I would probably want a plant that can be hung instead of hanging on the floor.

I’m the closest to a BF she has. She doesn’t like a fuss - definitely not expensive stuff. I think this is a good thoughtful gift that appears to be low cost.

We’re going to do lunch at one of the nicer spots in town, and kayak on the river in the early afternoon. Also got her a book!

  1. They’re 3 and 5 years old.
  2. Therefore, they are crazy.
    (also luvable. And huggable.And, best of all------they have edible toes!) :slight_smile:

But please do be safe, and assume that any plant you buy will end up in the hands and mouth of the 3yr old.

How about a wax plant? My mom has a huge hoya in a pot draped and climbing on a wire frame in the formal living room - which tends to stay fairly dim because of the draperies. Not toxic, you can sip nectar out of the waxy white flowers. Pleasant scent, leathery leaves. Never seen any of the cats nibbling on any of the leaves or flowers. Lovely long snakey vines. The wiki says it is supposedly great for purifying air as well. I guess it shares that trait with the spider plant.

I am personally fond of the jade tree, very mellow plant, also has been happy and thriving in my mom’s living room. Succulents are notoriously easy to take care of, water and a bit of light and they are happy. I do not believe they are toxic, never read anything anywhere about it being so - also never seen any of the cats nibbling on it.

Mother-in-law’s tongue, Sansevieria trifasciata, will survive anything, including neglect and low light. Plus the name is funny.

IIRC Cat Whisperer is an landscaper, and I’m an ecologist. And I agree wholeheartedly with her on the subject of fake plants. I’m too lazy to dig up a cite, but I know that fake plants provide just as much psychological benefits as a real plant. Even a picture of a plant, or a window looking out on a tree or plant, offers the psychological benefit of seeing something “green”.

Plus, if you care about plants, it is hard to see them slowly withering away and dying indoors. And knowing it is your fault. So I gave up on having live indoor plants a couple years ago, and I never looked back. I have a fake fern in the bathroom, a picture of a forest in the bathroom as well, and a fake orchid on my Chinese ches. All very convincing and totally care-free, aside from the dusting. For the real greenery, I have climbing plants outside my window with a few green strands hanging in front of the glass .

So, if you wife is in charge of all things house and home, don’t give her a plant. If she wanted one, she would have bought one.

Plants that flower a while and then get thrown out are a different story, of course. Thats just a more durable version of a bouquet of flowers.

If it’s a case of “my kids are going to get into everything and I can’t stop them, and conditions are crappy in my house for growing anything” then not getting any plant is a good idea.

Otherwise I have one suggestion - a potted Clivia. One that’s blooming size and whose clay pot can be concealed in a fancy outer container will set you back enough $$ so that the other half will be impressed. They’re tough plants, relatively easy to grow, look nice enough during the 11+ months a year they’re not flowering, and are long-lived, unless the kids eat them.

I recently gave a large offset from a nearly 30-year-old Clivia to my brother and sister-in-law who have modest houseplant-raising abilities, and they’ve already gotten it to flower.

Count me among those who think that not having any plants is better than having plastic ones (blech).

You have two beautiful children. Get the best photograph you have of them and have it printed, mounted and framed professionally. She will love it.

I’m not a landscaper - I just plant things in my yard all summer, every summer. I’ve probably planted 100 or more in four years here. I love plants - just not in my house. :slight_smile:

It really is - one of my recurring dreams is trying to get all my plants watered and failing.