Suitable indoor plants must not die of desiccation in the dry heat needed to keep Granny snug and warm and then get thrown out by New Year's Day (not Granny ). They should last at least a year and be attractive. Many potential presents fail at least one of these tests. Most orchids dislike dry heat, poinsettias are grown in such an artificial light regime to produce the beautiful coloured bracts that they should be regarded as a bunch of flowers, enjoy them as long as you can and then compost. The Christmas Cherry is very colourful, the berries so tempting but very poisonous especially to young children.
Fortunately there are many more, here are a few to think about.
HIPPEASTRUM (Amaryllis) is a remarkable bulb with 2ft tall, fleshy stems and flamboyant flowers up to 8ins. across. These are often boxed as a DIY present and given with a pot and some John Innes compost No 2. It will give the recipient pleasure for weeks into the New Year and for years to come.
CYCLAMEN (Persicum) is a highly decorative plant. Getting it to flower again is difficult but can be done. Keep it in full light in winter at a steady 13-16° C. Give it a liquid feed every fortnight while it is in flower. Water less as the stems start to bend and collapse, then keep it completely dry for 3 months when it is dormant. Gently introduce water again as leaves appear .
SCHLUMBERGERA (Buckleyi): Christmas cactus has beautiful flowers and protruding stamens at the end of flattened leaves. It is an easy plant to look after. Mist regularly with a fine spray of water, feed monthly with high potash feed. Put the plant in a light place after flowering and keep the compost just moist. I have one that is 10 years old and thrives on neglect.
HYACINTHS are wonderful gifts and the secret of success is to place them in a cool place no more than 13° C. so that they do not flop over. The bulbs can be planted in garden after but cannot be forced again for indoors.
Succulents of all varieties, spider plants, rubber trees are all gaining popularity again, to name but a few. So happy hunting and hope the present you give this Christmas will be on show when you visit your friends next year.