In Paradise | Plant-centered yet

Most of us may have a gardener on our Christmas list or we may be looking for items to add to our list this year. Over the past few weeks I have spent some time talking to gardeners, family members and colleagues to come up with some ideas for you or that particular gardener.

  • Of course, plants are on the list for most gardeners. I think I can speak to any gardener, new or old, to say that every new plant brings joy and interest. Long cold winters ahead and much less chance of plant contact, now is a good time for new indoor plants.
  • I know some gardeners think that a gardener already has many indoor plants, but a new plant for the collection is almost always a good gift. The only restriction for me was a full sun window. So, a great gift for me or other gardeners is already a plant that can withstand very few light levels.

If you want something different from the usual herbal selection at large retail outlets, look for a specialty shop.

Indoor plants have become popular in recent years, and many new businesses based on indoor plants have emerged in our area.

In addition, local florists have begun to make a wide selection of indoor plants in the collection.

As these companies specialize in plant materials, they focus on unusual indoor plants that cannot store new and exciting species or large chain stores.

  • Maybe you have a gardener on your list for indoor space for sunflowers. In recent years, LED lighting fixtures have become very affordable and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

There are many new variations that can be used to add plants to any space, regardless of the amount of sunlight, from clapping desktop lights to wall hangings to any page.

  • Poinsettias are always a good choice for small, long-stemmed plants.

I see these festive plants as a living flower arrangement for the holidays, in contrast to the permanent arrangement in my indoor collection of plants. In average home conditions, it is very difficult to force them to flower again.

While we can keep them alive, they certainly will not have the same screen display next year.

Look for some new Pointsetia varieties for this old favorite change. In recent years, breeders have created some interesting elements in this holiday classic. New color variations continue to enter the market each year, with exciting rotations such as Autumn Leaves and orange-red featuring floral reminiscent of both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Other species, such as “Winter Rose,” have a colorful marble on their colorful foliage that reminds me of a twisted and curved bow.

  • I have always admired the latest gardening tools to make my work on the landscape easier.

It is a new favorite hori-hor knife in my toolbox. This amazing and attractive tool, invented in Japan a long time ago, performs a wide range of functions, and is ideal for weeding, digging, splitting, or planting.

Some manufacturers offer more ergonomic designs for backyards, such as twisted handles to create less pressure on the wrist, or new designs eliminate the use of back muscles instead of legs.

Among the gardeners I spoke to, new products designed to make it easier to kneel are popular.

Most of these designs combine the folded knee with a small bench, allowing for a variety of spaces to work on the ground level.

Check out the latest “Live with Gardeners” with gardeners Kelly Alsupp and Candice Hart for more great gift ideas and fun discussion.

We discussed a wide range of gift ideas, including some beautiful plants and lessons from Candice to create your own holiday decorations.

All previous episodes of our show are available at go.illinois.edu/facebooklive.

Our next show is on December 16th, where we will continue our discussion on holiday decoration, with some ideas for “decorating halls” with plant-based theme.

Ryan Pankaw is a horticultural instructor serving in the UI Extension, Champaign, Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion districts. This column also appears on the ‘Garden Scoop’ blog at go.illinois.edu/GardenScoopBlog.

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