Flowering houseplants a longlasting Valentine’s Day gift

By Brittnay Haag Horticulture Educator University of Illinois Extension

Cyclamen plant (credit: Rebecca Niver, Unsplash

Time is ticking to find that perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your loved ones. Instead of the go-to fresh floral arrangement, give a gift that someone can enjoy for many months. Flowering houseplants are great alternatives to traditional bouquets of cut flowers. With a little care and maintenance, these plants can thrive in your house or office and rebloom multiple times. A bonus to gifting these indoor plants, they can be moved outdoors to your garden or patio container once warmer temperatures arrive.

Calla Lilies
Calla lilies, showcasing lush, strappy green foliage and elegant blooms of various colors, are a favorite cut flower, but you can also purchase the entire plant, including the rhizome growing in a container. Calla lily flowers can be shades of white, purple, yellow, pink, and red. Place the blooming plant in bright, indirect light and keep the soil consistently damp but not drenched.

The unique heart-shaped leaves of this plant offer a striking visual and compliment the showstopping flowers that bloom in shades of red, pink, or white for 4-6 weeks. Water a cyclamen at the base of the plant when it dries out. Soak the soil until water flows out the bottom drainage holes. Cyclamens grow best in bright, indirect sunlight and thrive in cooler (55-60°F) temperatures.

Miniature Rose
Rethink your rose gift. Instead of an arrangement that dies within weeks, give the whole plant (only a miniature version!) The delicate miniature buds are available in red, pink, or white and can be deadheaded to encourage new blooms. When growing them indoors, they need bright sunlight in a south-facing window and constant temperatures ranging from 60-75°F. Lightly mist the foliage daily to maintain the appropriate humidity level around the plant.

Many orchid species grow well indoors but Phalaenopsis is easy to care for and commonly found in stores. Place your orchid in the kitchen or bathroom and increase humidity around the plant by placing it on a tray of gravel and water or misting daily. Water the orchid weekly until water flows out the drainage holes and fills the tray below allowing the plant to dry out between waterings. While orchids can be a challenge to rebloom, they will, if placed in a bright location with indirect sunlight.

If you are looking for something a little more unique this year, give a potted Venus flytrap, sensitive plant, air plant, or a container of mixed succulents.

The tradition of gifting flowers on Valentine’s Day began several hundred years ago to express affection towards family and friends. This Valentine’s Day, head to your local garden center and select a blooming houseplant to remind someone how much you love them all year.