Best Plants to Give as Gifts

To make a good gift, we believe a plant has to be one or all of these things: 1) easy to care for, 2) useful, 3) beautiful. Almost all plants fit the "useful" bill, since they absorb carbon dioxide and help to purify indoor air. As for a few "beautiful" and "easy to care for" selections, we've got you covered...

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The Amaryllis is a traditional holiday gift, since this winter bulb blooms through the New Year. Pair it with a glass vase or jar to water the roots, and you're all set.

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Succulents are easy to care for since they don't require much water, and they come in a wide range of shapes and colors. Fill a planter with a few varieties for a striking holiday gift.

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Lucky Bamboo is technically a member of the lily family. It grows in water, not soil, and will thrive as long as it has some sunlight and a constant supply of water. As its name implies, it's also said to be a lucky plant, often used in Feng Shui.

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Herbs are great gifts for home cooks. In winter, a potted indoor herb garden can keep someone supplied with fresh herbs until it's warm enough to transfer them to the porch.

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Aloe plants are members of the succulent family and require minimal watering. They're also great to have around to treat burns and surface wounds. Just crack open a leaf and apply the inner lining directly to the skin.

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The scent of lavender is said to relieve stress and induce calm. Dried lavender can also be used to cook with or make sachets.

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Air Plants don't need soil or constant watering; they can live almost anywhere you put them and require only regular misting or soaking to survive. They also look great clustered in a bowl or used in a centerpiece.

This list is just the beginning. Add your suggestions for the best gift plants below...we know you've got 'em!

Photos: Amaryllis via Morguefile, Bamboo via Morguefile, Chamomile via Morgeufile, Aloe via Morguefile, Lavender via eHow, Air Plants via estmsk (cc license)

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