Gift ideas for gardeners on 2020 Christmas lists

Published 10:44 am Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Gardens are great places to add personal touches and whimsical items. These also make great gifts for the gardeners on your Christmas shopping list. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)

By Gary R. Bachman

MSU Extension Service

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“’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the yard, not a plant was left standing, and the ground was hard.” So begins Karen Geisler’s gardener adaptation of Clement Clarke Moore’s Christmas classic “The Night Before Christmas.”

We’re just days away from the big day, and I know there are still folks trying to decide on that perfect Christmas gift for their favorite gardener.

There’s still time to shop, and I want to share some great gift ideas I gathered from the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture. This organization promotes the many environmental, health and wellbeing benefits of gardening and plants, so they make great suggestions for the perfect gift.

My first suggestion is to give a plant. Seasonal plants like amaryllises, paperwhites, Christmas cacti and poinsettias are always appropriate. They make beautiful living décor and are easy hostess gifts.

House plants make trendy gifts for all ages. Cut flowers are thoughtful gifts that can be enjoyed by those not ready to commit to plant care. Terrariums, orchids, succulent “wall art” and indoor aquatic gardens also make unique plant gifts.

If you don’t give a plant, consider giving a decorative pot for outdoor or indoor use. Pots are playful and practical gift ideas that come in a wide range of styles and prices. A hand-decorated planter makes a fun craft project for kids and a cute gift for grandparents.

Pots should be functional as well as pretty, so check for a drainage hole before purchasing. Don’t forget decorative pot huggers that hang on the outside of the pots to add a touch of fun.

Bring bling to the outdoors with yard ornaments. They can add humor, whimsy or drama to indoor and outdoor gardens.

Another idea is to invite nature home for the holidays. Do this by giving the gift of bird houses, bee hotels, butterfly homes, bird baths and feeders of all sorts to attract wildlife to outdoor spaces and enhance the environment.

Don’t forget to stuff the stockings. Seed packets make great stuffers. Gloves and pruning shears also fit nicely. Anyone who works with soil will appreciate a stiff soap for cleanup, followed by a soothing salve or hand cream. Gardeners love practical gifts, too, like plant stakes, tags and ties.

If none of these sound like the right gift, give an experience by purchasing a visit or a membership to a public garden. Many gardens have seasonal displays, special events and other amenities that make the perfect gift.

A final gift suggestion is to lend a hand. Engage a landscape company to help someone special with yard care. Your loved one can enjoy their yard rather than fuss about their to-do list.

Consumer horticulture is a driver of our agricultural economy, and with good reason. Over this past year, I have tried to highlight some of the many environmental, health and wellbeing benefits of plants and their use where we live, work and heal. This year, consider giving gifts that make our world a better place.

So, from Southern Gardening, we wish a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all, and to all a green thumb.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Gary Bachman is an Extension and research professor of horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He is also the host of the popular Southern Gardening television and radio programs. Contact him at