Picks

The Best Plant Gifts for New Plant Parents and Green Thumbs

From a variety pack of succulents to a well-designed watering can.

assorted houseplants shot from above
Photo: Sarah Kobos

Houseplants are all the rage, but not everyone feels confident or dedicated enough to tend a thriving indoor garden—even if they want to. That’s why we’ve found the easiest plants to maintain and starter tools for a budding plant lover. We also asked Ellen Airhart, host of the podcast Plant Crimes and an avid gardener, which plants make the best gifts. Generally speaking, she said, you should consider what kind of light, temperature, and humidity the plants will have in their new home: “Think about what environment they come from, and how you can re-create that ecosystem.” Any newbie or seasoned plant lover would love to receive one of these 13 gifts.

A cornucopia of succulents

Shop Succulents Variety Pack of Mini Succulents

Succulents are constant crowd-pleasers—they look cute and are dead simple to care for. If you need gifts for a group, senior editor Nathan Edwards recommends this pack of 20 mini succulents. It may seem weird to order plants from Amazon, but Nathan says these were packaged carefully and looked healthy on arrival. Plus, they qualify for Prime shipping. You can’t pick each individual plant, but the pack includes a nice selection of varieties and colors. If you’re just ordering for yourself, Nathan recommends choosing a smaller pack of four or 12 instead: “If I was doing it again, I’d just get a few at a time, so I could give them more individual attention.” Buy with confidence—if your plants don’t make it, Amazon’s 90-day refund policy applies.

A nifty mister

Repugo Spray Bottle

The cotton-candy-colored Repugo Spray Bottle is as useful as it is attractive, and it’s the perfect accessory to include alongside a gifted plant. Most houseplants (except for fuzzy-leafed plants like African violets) like being misted because it gently moistens every surface of their foliage rather than just soaking the roots. The geode-shaped bottle is cute enough to display, which will help ensure that your giftee remembers to spritz. It comes in three attractive colors, holds 20 fluid ounces of water, and fits comfortably in the crook of the hand, and the adjustable nozzle can widen or narrow the spray.

A trio of planters

CB2 3-Piece White Loom Planter Set

Staff writer Signe Brewster, who tends a large brood of plants, recommends the CB2 3-Piece White Loom Planter Set for houseplants. “These are fairly cheap, real ceramic pots,” she says. Giving a plant in a nice planter lets you tailor the pot’s style to your gift recipient’s taste and lets them avoid the work of repotting. When pairing plants with a vessel, choose one that’s large enough not to stifle the plant’s root system and that has a drainage hole (especially for cacti and succulents, which don’t need much water). For even better drainage, add a bottom layer of rocks or broken pottery to imitate outdoor soil. When you’re giving a pot, make sure to include a saucer or cork trivet, too, so it doesn’t leave a water mark on the table.

Groovy tunes for plants (and plant parents)

Mother Earth’s Plantasia Vinyl LP

A super-chill gift for the plant lover in your life, Mother Earth’s Plantasia was originally recorded in the 1970s and recently reissued by indie record label Sacred Bones. It’s a collection of weird, synthy music recorded especially for plants (“and the people who love them”) on black or green vinyl. Though we can’t speak to whether the album actually makes plants happy, the whimsical, hand-drawn cover art makes it a fun gift to open, and it looks great propped up (or framed) next to a collection of houseplants.

A sleek vase to sprout new plants

Ivolador Crystal Glass Double Test Tube Vase

Used as a vase, the clean, minimal aesthetic of the Ivolador Double Test Tube lets flowers’ vibrant colors shine, but it’s also the perfect vessel for propagating—using cuttings or leaves to sprout a new plant. Get a novice started by pairing this vase with a few freshly propagated babies. Airhart recommends treating plant cuttings with rooting hormone before gifting them, in order to stimulate growth. As a final flourish, she likes to include a card with care instructions: “For cuttings, I just tell people to put them in water, and change it out every few months.”

A reference book for plant care

How Not to Kill Your Houseplant: Survival Tips for the Horticulturally Challenged

For a friend who needs a bit more plant-care guidance, supervising editor Winnie Yang recommends the book How Not to Kill Your Houseplant. The fundamentals of houseplant maintenance haven’t changed much over the past few decades, but this recent book gives specific advice on more than 100 trendy houseplants, she says, “some of which aren’t covered in older books.” If you’re giving a live plant to a newbie, they’ll appreciate having advice at the ready: “[It] covers all the basics, from acquiring to potting to maintaining a plant, using clear, helpful illustrations and concise explanations.”

Comical creatures

Schleich Hippopotamus

Plant parenting isn’t such a serious business, so a lighthearted nod will help your giftee remember that this is supposed to be fun. Senior staff writer Lesley Stockton likes to add a little whimsy to her arrangements by popping a toy from Schleich into the pot—just for the fun of it. The figures are realistic enough to make any passerby do a double take, and Schleich offers a wide range of species, including livestock, dogs, and wildlife. Lesley likes to tailor each toy to the vibe of the plant: “Their dinosaurs are perfect for ferns or succulent terrariums, rounding out the inherently prehistoric look.” It’s a cute way to give someone a smile every time they glance at your gift.

A classic combo

The Sill Snake Plant Laurentii and Planter

If your giftee is a true plant newbie, Signe Brewster recommends the Snake Plant Laurentii from The Sill. It’s “a classic, hard-to-kill plant that does well in low light,” she says. The Sill offers a few varieties of snake plants, but the ‘Laurentii’ cultivar is the only one with touches of yellow around the edges of its leaves, providing a pop of color that’s more giftable. The stylish included planter comes in seven attractive colors, unlike many pre-potted plants that are paired with planters you wouldn’t want to display. The largest size of this plant is available for delivery only in New York and Los Angeles, but The Sill will ship the small or medium size for about $12—shipping is free if you spend over $50. The company includes a pamphlet with care instructions, but we recommend pairing this plant with a copy of How Not to Kill Your Houseplant, which has a section on caring for snake plants.

A show-stopping watering can

IKEA Bittergurka Watering Can
Photo: Michael Hession

IKEA Bittergurka Watering Can

Very few watering cans make great gifts, but the sleek IKEA Bittergurka is the exception. Its slim shape, white powder-coated steel body, and bamboo handle make it decorative enough to display. After previously using a drinking glass to water plants, managing editor Annam Swanson says it’s been nothing short of life-changing. “When I finally bought the Bittergurka watering can, I could not believe how much time and water I had been wasting,” she said. “It holds more than half a gallon but is also narrow and short enough that I can stow it away on the counter or hook it onto a plant stand.”

A plant they can’t kill

Flowers & Weeds Rose of Jericho

The Rose of Jericho, also called a resurrection plant or tumbleweed, is the Phoenix of the plant world, seemingly rising from the dead over and over. Its clump of dry, brown leaves may look lackluster at first—but add water to its roots, and it unfurls into a lush, green orb. It’s the perfect hardy gift for any forgetful caretaker: Stop watering it, and it will simply curl up into a small, dry ball while waiting for hydration. To justify the cost of shipping (about $8), you might want to buy a few at a time.

A crafty way to water

Evelots Plant Watering Globes

If cake pops were made of colorful blown glass, they’d look like this. Evelots watering globes are a handy and eye-catching alternative to a watering can. You fill them with water and stick them into the soil, where they gradually water your plants over the course of several days. If you think your gift recipient might have trouble remembering to water, or if they’re a frequent traveler, these little globes can provide backup. “These won’t replace watering your plant, but I like to think of them as an insurance policy in case I forget,” says staff writer Signe Brewster. “Just keep in mind that cleaning them can be annoying.” Signe also recommends them for trickier plants that like moist soil, such as orchids and other tropical plants.

A planter and conversation piece

Mothology Cement Architectural Cube Planter

Permeable materials like ceramic, terra cotta, and cement are best at promoting soil aeration for any kind of plant. Think of it as insurance that will help your gift survive even if the recipient accidentally overwaters. Wirecutter editor Tim Barribeau recommends this cement planter from Mothology inspired by artist M.C. Escher. The gray, cubic planter—evocative of Brutalist architecture—provides a pleasant foil to the verdant foliage within. “I have an avocado baby growing in it right now,” Tim says.

A plant for all stripes

Cactus Limon Haworthia Zebra Succulent Plant

Senior staff writer Kimber Streams loves ordering plants from Cactus Limon—they always arrive intact and healthy, and the wide, ever-changing selection of cacti and succulents is relatively inexpensive, “so you can put together something to match someone’s tastes for cheap.” There’s even a whole section of plants under $4. Shipping is reasonable, too: about $6. Kimber particularly recommends the Haworthia Zebra Succulent Plant for new plant lovers. All varieties of Haworthia are easy to take care of, but the bold stripes of the zebra plant make it an especially eye-catching gift. It’s also extra tough—Kimber has kept one alive for more than 20 years.