By Eri Matsumura
This Valentine’s Day, ditch the cut flowers that will only last a week and give a potted plant that will last a lifetime, just like your love. Whether you’ve got a houseplant-loving partner or a novice, there are plenty of options to choose from to express your care and admiration.
Heart leaf Philodendron
This philodendron is perfect for someone who loves plants but hasn’t quite perfected their green thumb. This plant is very low maintenance and a prolific grower, making it an easy plant for beginners. The Heart Leaf Philodendron requires infrequent waterings and wants to go fairly dry, around seven to ten days between watering is recommended. As for light, you can put this plant anywhere! It would prefer bright and indirect light, a south or west facing window. However this plant can tolerate lower light, such as an east facing or a big north facing window. With green, heart-shaped leaves that cascade down, you can shower your partner with love wherever you place this plant.
Another easy to care for plant is an Anthurium. This has similar requirements as the Philodendron, with infrequent waterings every ten to fourteen days suggested. These plants will thrive in a south or west facing window. The more light it receives, the more flowers the plant can produce.
Anthuriums feature glossy and bright colored flowers (we recommend getting a red or pink of course,) matched with dark green, heart shaped leaves. An interesting fact about the Anthurium flowers is that they aren’t actually flowers, but a modified leaf. This means that these flowers will endure a long time, some lasting for over a month. This plant definitely beats out the generic cut roses wilting on the kitchen counter.
This succulent is just like a potted heart! This is another low maintenance plant that wants to go almost bone dry between waterings. We recommend thorough watering once every two weeks. The Hoya Heart wants to be in the brightest spot in the house, ideally a south facing window. This plant is just a leaf cutting from the larger trailing Hoya, and will remain just a heart shaped leaf for its entire life. Start a new tradition by giving a Hoya Heart each year and build a collection to track all the years you have been in love, or get the whole plant and watch it grow new hearts year round.
String of Hearts
Another trailing succulent with heart shaped leaves is the String of Hearts. With a name like that it’s easy to see why this would be a great option. This succulent has similar needs as the Hoya, and also wants to be in the brightest spot of the house. For watering, this plant would like to go slightly dry between waterings, around ten to fourteen days is recommended.
String of Hearts comes in two different varieties, one variegated and the other dark green. The variegated one is a bit harder to find and has white and pink leaves, making it an extra special plant for this holiday. The darker green succulent is just as interesting though, with a purple underside. This plant frequently blooms with little fuzzy, tubular looking flowers, making this already interesting plant even more fun!
Orchids are the beauty pageants of the houseplant world. This is the perfect plant for a collector with a wide range of varieties, some with grand showy flowers to those with a multitude of small, sometimes fragrant flowers. With so many options, there’s definitely a unique one to match your unique relationship. In the wild, orchids are epiphytes, meaning they grow on another plant, but they aren’t parasitic. This means most orchids don’t need soil and are most commonly potted in moss or bark. Orchids can also be mounted on a piece of wood to be hung on the wall as an art piece that expresses more than any painting.
Orchids require a little bit more care than the average houseplant. They require once a month fertilization and a closer attention to watering. Orchids would like to be thoroughly soaked once their substrate dries out. For light requirements, they do well in sunny spots in the house, such as south and west facing rooms, and can tolerate a big east facing window as well. Orchids prefer some humidity, so a well light bathroom or kitchen makes a perfect spot.
The most popular variety of orchid is called a Phalaenopsis. Also known as a Moth Orchid, it typically blooms once or twice a year with the colorful flowers typically lasting over two months, making this plant an excellent gift choice.
The gift of a luscious potted plant will be cherished for years to come and remind your lover of you each time they look at it. Whichever plant you choose this Valentine’s Day, make sure you also get some chocolates, there is no replacement for a box or sweets!
Originally published on February 2nd, 2024. Updated on February 4th, 2024.