February 9, 2019 9:54:04 PM
Consider giving your valentine something different this year. Select an indoor plant with heart-shaped leaves or flowers.
Anthuriums are an easy-to-grow, low maintenance, long-blooming indoor plant. The red, pink or white heart shaped flowers rise above glossy green leaves.
Pothos and philodendron with heart-shaped leaves are easy-to-grow as well and longtime favorites. Select one of the newer variegated varieties like Brazil philodendron with a thin line of chartreuse down the center of the leaf or Neon pothos with bright lime green leaves for an updated look.
Caladiums and elephant ears are popular in the garden, but also make great houseplants.
Perhaps your valentine would prefer a living heart sculpture. Stems of lucky bamboo are often trained into heart shapes and are a fun, unique gift.
Or maybe it's a topiary of wire vine, English or another small-leafed ivy trained into a heart. All you need is a pot with drainage holes, a couple vining type plants and a piece of heavy gauge wire or a preformed heart-shaped topiary frame.
When making your own, bend the wire into a heart shape with one or two legs that will extend into the container. Select small plants with long branches to provide immediate impact. And consider dressing up your container with a bit of paint.
Fill the bottom half of the container with a well-drained potting mix. Set the topiary frame in place. Locate the plants in the container so the stems can be trained up either side of the heart. Cover the roots with soil and water. Secure the stems to the wire frame and add a decorative stone mulch, if desired.
For a simpler gift, add a few cut flowers placed in water picks to any pot of indoor plants. They add some color and are sure to brighten your Valentine's Day.
Melinda Myers is the author of "Small Space Gardening." She hosts The Great Courses "How to Grow Anything" DVD series and the nationally-syndicated "Melinda's Garden Moment" TV and radio program.