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Give a Basket of Baby Succulents

Want to launch a lifelong love of gardening? Give a basket of baby succulents.

When in my 20s, I had 30 houseplants. Before leaving on vacation, I asked a neighbor to tend them. To make it easier for her (ha), I labeled each with a number corresponding to a hand-drawn map of my apartment’s interior, and to a list that gave each plant’s watering schedule and amount.

If that sounds excessive—or obsessive—consider that #plantparenthood on Instagram has over 150K posts and averages 250 new ones daily.

Succulent Plant Parent Essentials

So what does that mean for you, dear reader, since you’re probably not in that demographic? (Most of my subscribers are seasoned gardeners 40+. That’s who we are, and we’re proud of it.) Well, you now have an idea for that lovely niece or DIL you normally just throw a gift card at: a Plant-Parent Gift Basket.

Create a Plant-Parent Gift Basket

Select an assortment of chubby succulents, tuck them into a box or basket, and pad with tissue paper. Wrap the whole shebang in clear cellophane and tie with ribbon, perhaps with a pacifier attached (kidding…sort of).

Include a copy of Succulents Simplified or Succulent Container Gardens. Email me if you want autographed, personalized copies. Or if she likes videos, give her my online class, Stunning Succulent Arrangements. Watch it together! 

Gifts for Succulent Lovers

The Easy Way (recommended if you’re shipping to the recipient): Send a gift arrangement from Succulently Urban. Owner/designer Marialuisa Kaprielian does gorgeous work, her plants are superb, and her prices are awesome. Plus her echeverias (shown here) are kitten-cute. Marialuisa will ship two-day or overnight until mid-December.

The Grandparent Way: Gather individual items at your local garden center or order them online. Good starter collections:

Altman Plant’s indoor succulents collection: set of 8 in 2.5 inch pots, $27Gifts for succulent lovers
Gifts for succulent lovers

Add a pot that has a simple form in colors trending with 20-somethings: white or pale pink. One example of many on Amazon:

Gifts for succulent lovers
Thoughtful extras likely to be appreciated:
Pebbles for topdressing: 32 oz. bag, $8.79
Cactus potting mix, 10 qts, $13.61
Cactus potting soil

Enjoy your grand-plants

When you hear squeals of glee, suggest that the giftee post occasional photos on Instagram. It’s a great way to stay connected and watch little darlings grow. About half the photos at Instagram’s #plantparent and #plantparenthood show succulents. Do tag me in the comments. Auntie Debra wants to see too!

Also watch my YouTube video in which I assemble a gift basket of echeverias for my own DIL.Video about gift basket of echeverias

Related Info on This Site:

Great Gifts for Succulent Lovers

Succulent Centerpieces

Buy and Shop for Succulents Online

Succulent White-Pot Pairings 

My “Stunning Succulent Arrangements Class” 

Gifts for succulent lovers
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Great Gifts for Succulent Lovers

Much of what follows is my own wish list, but these items would likely make great gifts for you and other succulent lovers as well. Some I already own and figured you’d want them too. If you’re the giftee, consider forwarding this to the gifter. Note: Some links go to Amazon, where I’m an associate, so I do get a small percentage of any sales that result, but it doesn’t cost you extra. Please know I appreciate it—especially since, while doing this exhaustive research, I bought a few things. ;+)

Tools and useful items

Thorn Armor Gloves: These are the gloves that Phoenix artist Jim Sudal wore while assembling his prickly-pear holiday tree. His gloves were ruined after two days and 250 spiny pads, but Jim says he couldn’t—and wouldn’t—have done it without them. Prices vary according to size, but expect to pay $40 or $50. I figure a pair ought to last someone like me, who doesn’t handle cactus much, a lifetime. In fact, they’ll probably become heirlooms.

Thorn armor gloves

Thorn Armor gloves

Joyce Chen scissors. Around $20. I have four pairs that I keep in various drawers and on my potting bench. I even have a pair in my car for…well…you know, the occasional overgrown succulent by the side of the road. Joyce Chen scissors don’t appear tough, but they can cut through finger-diameter branches. I use them mainly for precision snipping, clipping and deadheading. If I could keep one of my pairs of Joyce Chen’s out of the garden, I’d use it for its intended purpose: in the kitchen, cutting chicken bones.

Succulent clippers

12-Inch Tweezers. Under $10. These are for those fiddly instances when you have to reach into an agave or between spines to extract fallen leaves, weeds and bits of debris. Long tweezers also are good for picking up bristly succulents. However, for a plant much larger than a ping-pong ball, you really need tongs…which I suspect you already have (check the kitchen). Hm, maybe you should get a second set of those, too.

Gifts for succulent lovers

The Colorful Dry Garden, $23. Not only is author Maureen Gilmer an expert on plants and gardening in the dry Southwest, her explanations, advice and descriptions are full of wit and insight. Gilmer’s beautifully illustrated book presents an extensive assortment of flowering shrubs that make great low-water companion plants for succulents. It dovetails nicely with the updated and revised second edition of Designing with SucculentsWant to get both books for free? Scroll down to the Giveaway. 

Moisture meter. Are you concerned about under- or over-watering your succulents? If you tend to be a helicopter plant parent, you’ll find a moisture meter reassuring. Stick its probe into the soil, and if the indicator goes to the left of moist, it’s OK to water. If it zips to the right, back away from the plant. This particular meter also measures light and soil pH, and needs no battery—not bad for under $10.

Gifts for succulent lovers

Pretty, cool stuff

Gifts for Succulent Lovers

Commemorative Tile: It’s a win-win: You support a worthy cause; honor a cherished relationship for decades (if not centuries) from now; and you give the recipient a lifelong fondness for a public garden. This particular tile is in the Children’s Garden of the San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG), and whenever my grandson is there, he looks for it. The SDBG is now raising funds for a 7,400-square-foot glass conservatory. Donor tiles are $250 to $5,000, depending on size. In the Bay Area, the Ruth Bancroft Garden—renowned for its succulent collection—is currently selling donor tiles to raise funds for a new building; theirs include the garden’s agave logo.

Cactus pad jewelry. I found the adjustable ring (above) on Etsy for $11. Matching earrings are $10. They’re made of “high quality resin” and come from Bulgaria, so it takes a couple of weeks for them to arrive.

Gifts for succulent lovers

Succulent leggings. No one would ever think of getting these for me (how sad is that?), so I consoled myself by adding them to my cart. If the pattern I chose is too sedate for you, do a search for “succulent leggings.” There are dozens of styles, some insanely colorful.

Succulent shoes. These come in several patterns, including cacti. I can’t speak for the quality, but at $50 it had better be good. The seller won’t ship after Nov. 30 to ensure delivery by Dec. 25, so if you’re interested, jump. Btw, I’m a size 9. Just sayin’. 

My Own Designs

Over the past few years, I’ve created numerous gift and decor items based on my own artwork and photos. They’re for sale online at my Zazzle store. Zazzle doesn’t make it easy to pass along discounts, but here’s a 15%-off code you can use through Jan. 31, 2019. Copy-and-paste it when you order: UQEYOJQKDMCOXQJQPRTP. But first see if they’re offering an even better discount (which they often do).

Gifts for succulent lovers

Agave watercolor tile 4.25” x 4.25” on Zazzle, regular price $13.70

Agave throw pillow on Zazzle, 16′ x 16″ square, regular price $31.35.

Gifts for succulent lovers

Barrel cactus lumbar pillow, 13” x 21”, on Zazzle $36.65 regular price.

Gifts for succulent lovers

My 2019 Succulent Watercolors Calendar, on Zazzle $22.15 regular price.

And now, the giveaway!

I’m giving away a pair of books that are must-haves for anyone who gardens in the dry, hot Southwest. If you already own them, they make great gifts: The Colorful Dry Garden (see above) and my magnum opus, Designing with Succulents (the revised and updated 2nd edition). Do enter! If the winner is a subscriber to my newsletter (sign up on my Home page), he or she will also receive my Succulents 2019 Watercolor Calendar! Go to my Instagram page to enter. 

Gifts for Succulent Lovers

Related Info on This site:

Buy and Shop for Succulents Online 

Tools, Books and Products — My personal faves!

Want to give a signed copy of one or more of my books? Contact me! 

Succulent garden tools

My Must-Have Garden Tools for Spiny Succulents

The tools I use when working with spiky, spiny succulents include 12-inch tweezers, kitchen tongs, artist’s brush, chopstick, scissors, metal teaspoon, inexpensive garden gloves, and duct tape.

Long-handled tweezers are useful for removing bits of debris and topdressing from prickly plants and those with tight leaf axils—anyplace for which your fingers are too big or that you prefer not to touch. Amazon sells 12-inch stainless steel tweezers for around $13. Btw, I also own 10-inch tweezers, forceps and “planting tongs,” but I seldom use them.

I find kitchen tongs (around $6) handy for grasping and holding cacti, and planting small agaves with sharp tips.

Cactus tongs

Tongs are essential when potting up cactus and for twisting pads off of opuntias

If you’re handling a delicate plant (one with spines that might bend or break), wrap the tips of the tongs with foam rubber or pieces of soft sponge and secure with  rubber bands. (Sun causes rubber bands to deteriorate, so store your modified tongs in shade.)

Gloves for holding cactus

Duct tape wrapped around the fingers of gloves lets you pick up small cacti without getting poked.

I wear the gloves while a friend wraps them (or vice versa).

Wear the gloves while a friend wraps them (or vice versa).

There are gloves supposedly impervious to thorns and spines, but I’m not eager to spend money on an item likely to end up coated with glochids. These nasty little spines (found only—and almost always—on Opuntia cactus) stick to nearly anything…except the slick side of duct tape. Btw, you can also use the tape’s sticky side to remove glochids from your skin, should the unfortunate need arise.

Opuntia microdaysis

Opuntia microdaysis (bunny ears) is deceptive; its fuzzy tufts are glochids—tiny hooked spines that detach all too easily

I use pieces of aluminum window screen (sold by the roll for around $13, lasts forever) to keep soil from falling through the drain holes of pots. It cuts easily with scissors.

Succulent garden tools

I used these tools when doing my high-desert diorama for Garden Design magazine. View the video.

I wouldn’t be without a chopstick to settle roots of succulents. It’s essential whenever small nursery plants are tucked together so tightly, it’s not possible to manipulate their root balls to settle them.

An old metal teaspoon (the one in the photo was mangled by my garbage disposal) is perfect for funneling topdressing into gaps between plants. You can also use a funnel, but anything larger than coarse sand may clog it.

An artist’s brush is great for the finishing touch: cleaning dirt off leaves and spines. The tip of its slender handle can serve the same purpose as a chopstick.

All the links go to Amazon because their prices are as good as any, and as an affiliate, I receive a small percentage of sales that click-through from my website. I’m grateful if you obtain items that way, but it’s not necessary; most are readily available at hardware, department, or drug stores.