Jason Hargraves is the Washington, D.C., writer for Angie's List. He hails from Texas, but he's spent the past decade living in and covering the District.
This article originally ran on AngieList.com.
It takes a sharp eye and maybe even a little help from your local plant nursery or florist to find the perfect long-lasting and low-maintenance gift. "You don't want to give the recipient a lot of work to do," says Anna Nygaard, sales associate of King Florist in Austin, Texas.
She says pansy orchids are popular this year for Mother's Day because the flowers' beauty will last with little effort. "All they really need for water is an ice cube at the base every other week," Nygaard says.
Another long-lasting choice for mom is the bromeliad. Bromeliads require even less water than pansy orchids (maybe once a month) and don't need direct sunlight.
Both choices are affordable when compared to long-stem roses in a vase. A single pansy orchid sells for about $55, while a bromeliad costs around $30.
"Cut flowers are always popular, but there are other options," Nygaard says.
One of those options is a succulent. A cactus may not be your first thought for Mother's Day, but these low-maintenance plants make beautiful arrangements when grouped together.
"It's something different," Nygaard says.
No matter what plant or flower you choose for your mother, be sure she knows how best to care for it. That care starts as soon as you hand them to her. University of Georgia horticulturist Paul Thomas tells the Athens Banner-Herald that it's important to remove the decorative foil wrapping from plant and flower gifts. True, it's festive, but it also restricts drainage and air flow — two things vital to a plant's life.
"If possible, remove these pot coverings, or punch holes in the bottom of the pot to promote good drainage, then place the pot in a saucer to protect furniture," Thomas says.
He's partial to African violets and ferns this Mother's Day because they can last for months, or even years.
Best Temperature For Houseplants
The key to successfully maintaining indoor plants, Thomas says, is to make sure they have adequate light and water, and are kept at normal household temperatures.
Well, according to the University of Georgia, that's a household temperature of 60 to 75 degrees, which is satisfactory for most indoor plants. Cooler temperatures, between 60 and 65 degrees, lengthen the life of flowering plants, while extremely high temperatures, 75 to 80 degrees, tend to shorten the display life.
Here's one final suggestion when giving live plants or flowers this Mother's Day: Don't be afraid to go big. Sheri Dorn, director of the Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteers program,recommends planting a tree. The heart-shaped leaves on redbud and katsura trees "just ooze all the love we feel for our moms," she says.
More Mother's Day Ideas
If you're looking for the perfect setting for those indoor plants and flowers before, during or after you Mother's Day festivities, Pace Webb, an an L.A.-based chef, has some great ideas about throwing a tea party. Check out her conversation with Zhena Muzyka about gypsy tea and other things to make your Mother's Day perfect!
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