I first met my husband’s grandfather, Joe, when I was in high school. He lived in a nearby nursing home, and we hit it off immediately. I would often visit him and play games with the residents while chatting and hearing stories from when he was young.

One Christmas season, I stopped at a nursery on the way to see Joe. I picked up a potted poinsettia plant and gave it to him. Many months later, I was shocked to see that he kept the plant alive and thriving. I was even more shocked when he showed me the plant again the next Christmas. I never even knew they could live that long. Joe told me it was the best present he had ever gotten.

I have come to realize that plants can make great gifts. Although not everyone has the time, room and patience to take care of a plant properly, there are plenty of low-maintenance options in a variety of sizes to consider.



Technically an herb, lavender gives off an aroma that is known to provide a relaxing effect. Not only is the plant fragrant, but it also is relatively small and requires minimal attention. Choose varieties specific for indoor use, if you intend for the recipient to keep it potted inside. Keep it in a pot close to the size of the rootball. If you go too big, the soil will retain too much water for the plant to handle.


Also known as a Swiss cheese plant, these broad leaves are dark green with sporadic holes throughout. You can keep it in a pot, and the plant will keep itself contained to that size. Or, if you have a yard, you can plant it in the ground, and it will grow larger and spread. What I love most about this plant is being able to trim the leaves and place them in vases around the home.

Fiddle leaf fig

This is the plant that you often see in magazines and retail stores. Its name comes from the shape of its leaves, which look like dark green violins. The plant is a large one and can grow to six feet or taller. The recipient should have a room with tall ceilings and plenty of sunlight. The plants are relatively low-maintenance, but should be watered regularly and repotted annually.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisin@gmail.com.