2. Panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)
In the United States, Grandparents Day is held on the first Sunday of September after Labor Day. And in these uncertain times, what a privilege it is to celebrate the unconditional love and support of grandparents. We think plants are the best gifts you can give on this occasion, apart from the gift of spending quality time together with your oma and opa.
Chances are your grandparents don’t need more stuff, so plants are the perfect present that helps make their home environment more cheerful and healthy - not to mention the benefits to mental health that have been well-documented. And if you’re a plant lover yourself, the gift of houseplants can also provide a precious bonding experience with your grandparents.
We’ve set these three criteria to determine what plants to recommend as the best gifts for grandparents.
The plants should bring a sense of novelty and should be a relative newcomer to the houseplant universe. A lot of us still remember elements of grandma’s house such as the spider plant on the shelf, the snake plant in the corner and the African violets lining the windowsills. While these plants have made a comeback with millennials and gen-Z, your grandma will probably enjoy some new plant grandchildren around the house.
The plants should be easy to care for and relatively stress-free. Nobody wants to send their grandparents on endless errands to buy orchid bark, bottles of fertilizer or indoor trellises.
The plants should be safe to take care of for an older adult. Plants should be small enough to be carried comfortably and not require reaching high places, climbing of any kind or moving heavy objects. This means that oversized darlings such as monstera deliciosa and fiddle leaf fig are out of the question.
So here are six ideas for plant gifts for your grandparents:
1. Madagascar jasmine (Stephanotis floribunda)
Talk about a showstopper! The Madagascar jasmine is a sensory delight when it’s in bloom. But the waxy rubbery leaves and the twirly stems are just as pretty when the plant is dormant.
This plant prefers to be slightly root bound (that doesn’t happen very often with plants) and only needs repotting every three years.
It will thrive in a humid room (such as a kitchen or bathroom). The Madagascar jasmine prefers bright indirect light and doesn't mind cooler temperatures (around 64 F) in the winter.
2. Panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)
This is a super easy to grow plant that doesn’t seem to mind a little bit of neglect. It doesn’t thrive on it, mind you, but it’s very forgiving. Because it’s a succulent with thick juicy leaves, it doesn't require frequent watering.
Its leaves are also a sensory delight, with burgundy edges and fine velvety hairs that are very soft to the touch. The panda plant prefers full sun from a south-facing window or really bright filtered light. It grows to about 1 to 2 feet tall and stays relatively compact throughout its maturity.
3. Crispy wave (Asplenium nidus)
This plant is so flawless-looking, it may even trick you into thinking it’s artificial. Nope, it’s real. Just absolutely perfect.
Since it’s a fern, it prefers low to medium indirect light and high ambient humidity. It thrives at around 70-80 F and doesn’t mind if it gets too much water. Just make sure you don’t let it sit in soggy soil for too long.
You can move the Crispy wave outdoors in the summer months, as long as you keep it in a shaded spot under a canopy.
The crispy wave is an excellent grower and has a really long lifespan. And it’s super fun to propagate via spores - what a cool experiment that kids can do with the help of grandma.
4. Pilea peperomioides
We know, we’re biased! But we truly believe that Pilea is the perfect gift for grandparents.
Pilea doesn't require too much light or too much water and it has a compact growth pattern throughout its lifetime.
It also requires only one repotting a year, so it couldn’t be more low-maintenance in this respect.
In its growing seasons (spring and summer), Pilea is a prolific self-propagator, putting out a lot of plant babies over a short period of time. And we think grandma will let you take some Pilea pups back to your place next time you visit.
5. Peperomia obtusifolia
The Green Gold Obtusifolia will brighten up any place with its two-toned leaves and glossy texture. If you can’t find this variegated version, then the deep green Peperomia obtusifolia is just as pretty.
Although it can be left on a windowsill (especially the variegated variety), this Peperomia prefers bright indirect light in the summer months. You should move it closer to a source of light in the winter months.
If you want the plant to grow bushier, you can remove the new growth at a growing point in the summer months when the plant is most active. Treat it right, and it will reward you with gorgeous white flowers up to five inches long.
6. Nerve plant (Fittonia albivenis)
This boldly patterned houseplant comes in a few color combos, such as deep green, pink, chartreuse and neon green. The veining on the surface of the leaves isn’t just for good looks. It helps the plant capture and retain as much light as possible in its natural rainforest habitat.
Fittonia is easy to propagate from stem cutting, so it is a perfect plant for grandparents who love to share.
Fittonia plants are drama queens who are prone to fainting when they need a good gulp of water. But they bounce back to their usual perky selves as soon as this problem is rectified.
The plant also burns easily in direct bright light, so indirect light is better for its overall wellbeing. Much like the Crispy wave and the Madagascar jasmine, it will also do better in rooms with high ambient humidity.
There you have it, six plants for your grandparents to take care of and enjoy. And while you’re at it, see if you can find out the story of how your grandparents got into houseplants and what plants were popular when they were younger.