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As winter thickens and the holidays approach, gift guides abound and sometimes the right gift is less clear than you’d prefer — this might be especially so for anyone you’re gifting whose pastimes revolve around plants and gardening. Gifts aside, you might be considering trying your own hand at finding a green thumb, an effort whose return might resonate outside the actual growing of things. “Gardening can be wonderfully meditative,” noted Josh Kilmer-Purcell, co-author of “The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook.”
“The most mundane gardening tasks all have a repetitive nature that lend themselves to easing mental anxiety," added Kilmer-Purcell. "Watching the never-ending cycle of nature also reminds us that the world isn’t ending.”
SKIP AHEAD Where to find gardening gifts
During the pandemic, Americans have turned to gardening and gardening-related gifts can be a nice way to support a loved one’s new hobby or passion. We asked Kilmer-Purcell — who co-founded skin care purveyor Beekman 1802 — what a gardener might want as a gift (pro tip: skip the funny garden plaques).
“There are some really great gardening gifts that aren’t cliche and your favorite gardener may not already own,” Kilmer-Purcell said, throwing in mention of his brand’s moisturizers as one gift option to pamper your gardening giftee. Regardless of what you choose to get, you may want to start shopping now as UPS and FedEx, among other retail experts, are concerned about possible shipping delays this holiday season.
Best gardening gifts
To help your gift shopping, we put together gardening gift ideas based on guidance from Kilmer-Purcell and otherwise Shopping reader favorites, ranging from helping you start a garden to tending to your garden or simply enjoying the literal fruits of your labor.
If you’re worried you don’t have a green thumb or are gifting a novice gardener, Click and Grow has a line of smart garden products to help you. The Click and Grow Smart Garden comes with everything you need to grow plants indoors and experience what Kilmer-Purcell calls the “joy of window-to-table cooking.” You insert three pods (think bigger versions of coffee pods) which contain the soil and basil seeds into the BPA-free plastic garden that sits beneath a grow light. Plug in the smart garden (the light works on a timer), fill the attached water reservoir and you’re done. After you grow basil, you can purchase fruit and vegetable plant pods, herb pods or grow your own seeds in the garden.
If you prefer AeroGarden’s wares (another leader in the smart indoor garden space and a Shopping reader favorite), consider adding it to your wish list or gifting it to someone. The Harvest model comes with half-a-dozen pre-seeded pods for cooking staples like thyme, parsley and dill, and the brand promises easy controls via just three buttons.
The Duluth Trading Company places a high priority on utility and the Hori Hori Garden Knife is a great example of how one tool can have a lot of different uses in the garden. The digging tool, which sports a wooden handle, has a pointed blade and curved shape that lets it act as a trowel. The steel blade is also marked in inch-long increments for spacing and planting seeds. The serrated edge saws through small branches or stems or can tear open a package of soil. It also comes with a sheath for the blade, so you can store it safely.
With Seeding Square, organization comes first for any garden. A seeding square takes away the guesswork on where to place seeds in the garden. A series of color-coded holes in the hard, bright green plastic square and an accompanying planting guide aids novice gardeners — useful for those who’ve been gardening for years. Get even rows and maximize space, which is especially handy if you’re growing in a small space. The square also comes with a funnel and seed dibbler (a tool for planting) to help you place seeds at the right depth in the soil.
Felco makes pruners — another word for shears — with an eye toward sturdiness. The rubber-encased handle is comfortable to grip, while the steel blades are sharp, durable and make quick work of stems. The Swiss pruner can be adjusted quickly with a few turns on a nut-and-bolt assembly at the bottom of the blade. It can easily trim rose bushes or tomato plants, making it a good choice for gardeners growing lots of different plants or vegetables. Gifting a new gardener? Grab them an entire garden tools set.
Maine Garden Products knows that, just as beach sand gets everywhere, half the challenge is keeping the dirt in your garden. A hod, a basket with a mesh bottom and sides (in this case, a pine box with PVC-coated wire), are often used by clam diggers in Maine to carry and clean what they find. But it’s also become popular for rinsing flowers or vegetables in New England gardens. Kilmer-Purcell recommended a hod because the “harvested vegetables can be hosed down and cleaned right in the garden so dirt isn’t brought into the kitchen.”
The POTEY line of planters are designed to balance style and function. The seagrass plant basket comes with handles so you can move your plant buddy around the house or shift its location to make sure your plant is getting enough sun. A plastic bowl is included to catch the water that would drip out of the base of your planter.
This metal hanging planter from Dayne has space for three plants to bring a little bit of the outdoors inside your home. The modern planter comes with all the hanging hardware you need. Since this planter doesn’t drain, opt for succulents or air plants that require less water to avoid spills.
Where to find gardening gift sets and indoor garden gifts
If you’re able to safely travel to and responsibly shop from local gardening hubs and plant stores, consider supporting those local businesses as they may have suffered greatly given the pandemic. If you’re looking to grab gifts online, we broke out some useful gardening destinations to consider shopping at right now — indoor plants enthusiasts might enjoy any number of plants or flowers from online stores like Bloomscape, Floom, The Sill and Urbanstems
- Amazon: Check out plants, pots, and gardening tools.
- Home Depot: Explore the Garden Center for everything a gardener needs to plant, maintain and build their gardens.
- Lowe’s: The Garden Center is a one-stop-shop for gardeners looking for indoor and outdoor plants and pots.
- Target: Shop Lawn & Garden for everything from container gardens to greenhouses.
- Walmart: Dive into the Garden Center to help start or augment a garden.
- Wayfair: Find planter pots, urns and statues, terrariums, hanging planters and more.
Catch up on the latest from NBC News Shopping guides and recommendations and download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Looking for the perfect gift? Check out the Shop TODAY Holiday Plaza.