Growbag Blog

What plant would you like to get for Christmas?

Plants – what better Christmas present is there? They’re a GOOD THING for the planet, sustainable, personal and promise a lifelong connection with the giver. Truly, they’re a great gift idea, but what plant should you choose at this slightly tricky time of the horticultural year?

Although this is our 200th post (and our 65th year) together, we still have differing views. (There is a short video about this – see the link at the bottom.). But you tell us, which plant would you most like to get? Which one of us has got the closest?


Yes, 65 years of being sandwiched between E &C who are both head and shoulders taller has taught me to hold my corner, and I’m sure that after 200 blog posts you have come to realise that I’m actually the only sister with impeccable taste.

So in my book, one of the best plants to give at Christmas would be the stunning little flowering apricot Prunus mume ‘Beni-chidori’, which I was actually given as a gift and has filled me with delight ever since. Unbelievably pretty deep crimson flowers on bare branches as early as February, then it sits demurely and unobtrusively in its space, until you get another flush of warm buttery-apricot autumn colour. It can be a bit pricey, so you would probably baulk at buying it for yourself (I did) so it makes for a very special treat to be given one.

Prunus ‘Beni Chodri’
Prunus ‘Beni- Chidori’ a really scintillating colour on a small manageable tree.

A smaller gift along the same lines but maybe a bit more affordable would be the delightful small cherry ‘Kojo-No-Mai. Again you wouldn’t have to wait long before it proves its worth with dainty little flowers in early March, and then fiery red foliage in the autumn. It likes to be planted in an open site and its diminutive size would also lend itself to being grown in a pot.

Prunus mume ‘Kojo-No-Mai’
Prunus ‘Kojo-No-Mai’ has the prettiest flower and this dainty cherry would make a lovely gift.

And if you’re really hard-up or have a maximum price limit of a tenner for the Book Club Secret Santa, it’s not too late to be giving tulip bulbs. You can get some unbelievably good offers at the moment, and if you went for some of the smaller more perennial botanical tulips your gift would be a sweet reminder of its donor for many years to come.

It’s not too late to plant tulips and the botanical ones like this Tulipa clusiana hybrid ‘Peppermintstick’ will come back year on year if they planted in the right spot


Oooh, giving plants at Christmas can be a touch tricky, can’t it!  Much as we want our gifts to exude lavish appeal on the BIG MORNING, most plants look decidedly ….meh at the back end of December.  This is where poinsettias score very highly – fizzing with festive colour as they do – while a rare red-hot poker at three times the price, has all the party vibe of a burst balloon.

What about an attractively-planted pot? Buy small plants with different leaf colours like heucheras, ivies, Carex grass, cyclamen or little herbs and tuck them into an attractive container. Liven the scene up with some bright violas. Or a shallow dish of little succulent plants like echeverias and sempervivums (see our delightful feature pic this week) – generally very easy to look after – perfect perhaps for a keen youngster. At a stroke you have created a homemade present (Blue Peter badge coming your way! ) that looks lovely immediately, as well as having lasting appeal.

Use the fabulous leaf colour of heucheras for a handcrafted pot of little beauties

Have you got a favourite rose? Not much says to someone ‘You’re special to me’ more than buying them a rose variety that has already captured your own heart. They can be bought bare-rooted online now more cheaply than when potted from many great companies like David Austin or Peter Beales. Just remember to include a bright and informative label with it, and tie a big festive bow round the bag to give it a touch more festive chutzpah.

Who wouldn’t want to receive a rose like this beautiful ‘Chandos Beauty’?


Hmmm I’m not sure about Elaine’s pot suggestion. Any I’ve seen with carex in them tend to look like a badly wrapped parcel. I assume it’s my lack of creative appreciation for naturalistic arrangements – or it could just be they always look a bit of a dowdy mess?

No, what your friends want is something that’s going to sprout, bloom, double-in-size or ideally do all three in the not too terribly distant future. Also something that’s not a one-and-done (so candidly, that’s poinsettias oot).

Hellebore ‘Anna’s Red’ – a gorgeous example of intense colour

Hellebores fit the bill (get Anna’s Red – a proper ballsy colour at a time when pastels and white tend to proliferate elsewhere in the garden) or what about a little hammamellis (witchhazel) tree or Viburnum bodnantese ‘New Dawn’ or ‘Charles Lamont’ that can miraculously fill the most arctic February afternoon with delicious scent?

Your friends and family wont have to wait long to get the gorgeous blooms and fantastic scent from Viburnum bodnantense

I’m not against pots per se, and I’d be quite pleased to get one from Elaine, but I’m currently busy feeding my pot of ‘paper white’ bulbs on gin, having read that it will reduce the height of their often straggly stems (one part gin to seven parts water if you want to give it a go).

I don’t know if it’s going to work, but to date they’re just knocking it back and doing very little – something I’d really planned for myself – so if none of these plant suggestions tickle your fancy, I’d just get a bottle of Gordon’s – it’s a plant-based present after all.

STOP PRESS: That gin trick does actually work! It’s served up this delicious little ‘paper white’.

Here is our short video saying THANK YOU to you, our readers, for all the support you have shown us over the last few years.

And Louise is wondering why this euphorbia isn’t better known as it has so many great assets and is her plant of the moment.

NB If you’re not already a subscriber and you’d like a bit more gardening chitchat from the3growbags, please type your email address here and we’ll send you a new post every Saturday morning.

We’ve got a really fantastic range of Christmas gifts in our shop, including scented candles, tools and gardening gifts. Look out for our brand new stock including outdoor thermometers and PH meters – great tools to keep your gardening on track. Do have a look!

By the3growbags

We're three sisters who love gardening, plants and even the science of horticulture but we're not all experts. We'd love everyone even remotely interested in their gardens to be part of our blogsite.

13 replies on “What plant would you like to get for Christmas?”

I just love your weekly blogs. They are informative and great fun. My garden tool collection is growing from your suggestions. Keep it going and happy Christmas xxx

Ah thank you, Lynne! Elaine here. As we said in our video, the fantastic support we get from readers like you is the reason we have kept going with this adventure. We are really glad to hear that you like the tools we have in our shop too! Happy Christmas and here’s to a great gardening year in 2024.

Merry Christmas to all all. Thank you for your weekly blogs I really look forward to it arriving Saturday mornings and reading your pearls of wisdom xx

Thank you for writing in, Marjorie – we are so pleased that we can brighten Saturday mornings for lots of folk! Not so sure about ‘pearls of wisdom’ but we are hoping that there are a few ideas amongst our ramblings that might be useful. Merry Christmas to you too, and we hope you keep enjoying our blog. Elaine, Laura and Caroline

I agree with Caroline that a hellebore would make a great gift. In flower when you give it at Christmas time, can always be squeezed in no matter what size of garden.
Keep up your excellent, informative and amusing blog! Merry Christmas to you all.

Thank you for writing in, Angela. Yes, Laura and I are always a bit tentative about heaping praise on Caroline’s suggestions – we don’t want her getting ideas above her station! But there’s no question that she’s on to a winner with this one – and what a stonking colour it is! So glad you enjoy our weekly offerings and Merry Christmas to you too. All the best, Elaine and the other two……

I have a Japanese flowering apricot, not sure if it’s the one you mention but it is indeed very beautiful in spring. It flowered particularly well last year. I have a hankering for a pomegranate. The flowers are very lovely and it is generally pretty sheltered here in S Wales so think I would be able to keep it outside.

Thank you for writing in, Rosemary. Elaine here. Laura’s flowering apricot does indeed look lovely and might have to be added to my own Christmas wish list. I have never grown a pomegranate and they are usually seen in warmer more tropical areas than the UK,but there seem to be cultivars that are more suited to our climate. For instance there is one called ‘Provence’ which they say is hardy down to to -10. It sounds a lot easier than a citrus, anyway! Hope your plan to grow one in S Wales works out. All the best.

Thank you dear sisters for your gardening inspiration and teasing banter.. I really enjoy your blogs.. I would appreciate all your plant gifts..they all sound delightful .. I would love a quince as a present..last year I made quince jelly for the first time from a friend’s fruit and it’s amazing.. attractive tree lovely flowers and delicious fruit..perfection!
Merry Christmas..never stop..

Hi Sarah, thank you for writing in. Elaine here, and I reckon a quince tree is a great shout! I have an established one and I really love it! I honestly think it has the prettiest blossom of all, much more delicate than most cherries. We had a HUGE crop of fruit this year, and the whole garden is filled with their fragrance as they ripen. We are so glad you enjoy our blogs – we are so touched when people take the trouble to write in and tell us that we are doing all right. Merry Christmas from all of us, and let’s hope 2024 brings us a fantastic gardening year.

I always enjoy your posts, particularly on a very wet and dark December day. Your tips are useful but I won’t be sharing my gin with my plants any time soon. Any gift of plant, cutting, seed or bulb welcome (except for Poinsettia. Have a good one sisters.

Dear Linda, you have been one of most loyal supporters over the years, and we are really delighted that you still enjoy our articles. You make an excellent point about gin and Laura and I are frankly astounded that Caroline is prepared to share hers with a species of daff! Thank you so much for being such a treasured and loyal reader – we all wish you the very best of Christmases and a wonderful New Year. E, L and C.

It has all been said above……just remains for me to wish you all a very
Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year…
See you in the garden..

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