Let your love grow this Valentine's Day
THIS Valentine's Day, why not ditch the bunch of roses or box of chocolates and give the love of your life a beautiful living gift?
While a bunch of flowers will last for a week if you're lucky, a plant will live for months or even years.
In Queen Victoria's day, one could use a gift of flowers to express a whole range of emotions, thanks to the sophisticated language of flowers called florigraphy that developed during that time.
Back in the day, both the type of flower and the colour had specific meanings, so giving floral gifts was potentially fraught with danger.
While orchids symbolised love, a gift of marigolds meant cruelty, grief and jealousy.
White, pink and red flowers all had positive meaning but yellow meant "you have disappointed me”.
Thankfully, no one speaks floriography any more, so a gift of cheerful yellow marigolds comes with no terrible meaning.
This frees us up to choose plants purely on how lovely they are or how interesting or useful they might be.
Of course, it's hard to go past a butterfly orchid, a peace lily, an anthurium or a flowering bromeliad. These will last indoors for many months, are super-easy to care for and will flower year after year.
With plants being such an important part of styling a home, any gift of a potted indoor plant is sure to be appreciated.
Snake plant, monstera, zanzibar gem, string of pearls, chain of hearts and devils ivy are all good choices even for those new to the plant game.
If your Valentine is a plant-lover, seek out something a bit rare or unusual. A jade vine or bat plant, or one of the gorgeous new mussaendas would fit the bill nicely.
For someone who likes to grow food, herbs and fruit trees are lovely gifts. While some fruit trees take a few years to become productive, other fruiting plants like blueberries, passionfruit and chillies will be bearing fruit within a few months. You might even find something exotic like a vanilla orchid or peppercorn vine for the serious gardening foodie.