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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Why plants are the green gift that keeps on giving

Seena Raghavan of Plantshop.ae explains why a potted plant is a more thoughtful gift than a bouquet of flowers

Flowering houseplants last long and can keep you healthy by removing airborne toxins Getty
Flowering houseplants last long and can keep you healthy by removing airborne toxins Getty

For many people, the go-to gift for special occasions is flowers. And there’s nothing wrong with that. A nice bouquet is a wonderful token of acknowledgement for an event, happy or sad. I love receiving cut flowers, and arranging them around the house. However, a few days later comes the job of throwing away said flowers and the accompanying mangy water, and cleaning up the vases. And every time I find myself scrubbing slime from my vases, I think: “There’s got to be a better way.”

There is. The healthier, smarter way of giving flowers is replacing them with a whole flowering houseplant. That’s right. Instead of expensive cut flower arrangements, give a potted plant as a gift. There are several advantages to this: they’re cheaper than cut flowers, they last much longer, and they help keep you healthy.

A flowering houseplant can live for several years, and requires very little care. In fact, some of them will stubbornly keep flowering even if you abandon them for weeks on end. They don’t die easily, so they make the perfect gift, even for someone with a black thumb.

Due to their longevity, houseplants when given as gifts are a wonderful reminder of a special occasion. If you buy someone a houseplant rather than cut flowers, they will remember you every time they walk past it. Houseplants also have the added benefit of keeping your home fresh and healthy by purifying the air. This can mean you are actually giving the gift of better sleep and a healthier living environment.

Don’t be discouraged by the UAE’s hot climate, either. There are several flowering houseplants that grow very well in this country. Here are my top three picks:

Peace lily: A beautiful, elegant plant, the peace lily or Spathiphyllum is one of the most popular houseplants, and for good reason. It’s a low-maintenance plant that only needs watering once a week, if that. Keep in mind that overwatering will kill your peace lily much faster than underwatering. It is also very efficient at removing harmful toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene from the air. The graceful white blooms just add to its appeal, making it an ideal plant for the home or office.

Chrysanthemum: Another popular houseplant is the Chrysanthemum Morifolium, also known as florist’s daisy or hardy garden mum. This will require more frequent watering than the peace lily, and needs to be kept near windows for sunlight. These frilly flowers not only brighten up your space, but also cleanse the air of many toxic chemicals such as trichloroethylene, ammonia, xylene and others. They can, however, be harmful to animals if ingested.

Red anthurium: Also known as flamingo lily, the Anthurium Andraeanum is another famous flowering houseplant. It requires lots of indirect light and the soil must be kept moist at all times. If cared for properly, you will be rewarded with brilliant red blooms all year round. It is incredibly long-lasting, and is yet another plant that keeps your air clean and healthy by removing airborne ammonia, toluene, formaldehyde and other toxins.

Plantshop.ae is an online seller of plants and gardening accessories

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