Green December gifts

December is full of secrecy and surprises, but why only put gifts under the tree on Christmas Eve? If you give plants as gifts, you can make the whole Christmas season green

In a time when green is the new black, and the wave of healthy living is washing over us, plants are the ideal gift idea. Instead of the usual Christmas greetings, why not delight your wife or girlfriend with a "green" Christmas landscape, with plants decorated with pine cones and moss? It brings freshness and nature into the home, and will also keep until after Christmas.

Plants for baking
Or how about giving her some plants whose very names have the smell and taste of Christmas, such as cardamom and vanilla? Few people realise that the spices used in Christmas baking actually come from plants that grow wild in remote corners of the world, but if you know the story behind it, these become fun and original gift ideas.

Plant consumption in December
Plants play a central role in consumer patterns during December, not only as gifts, but also as part of the home decor.

According to Morten Kappel, purchasing manager at the nationwide garden centre chain Plantorama, plant purchases in December fall into three "waves":

"The first wave is up to the first Sunday in Advent, when the home, office, etc., are decorated with plants. Then there is a quiet period before the second wave breaks. This lasts from around 10 December until Christmas, and focuses on plants as gifts.

"The third wave occurs in the week leading up to Christmas Eve, when the slightly "tired" plants from November are supplemented with new flowers, so that everything is nice and fresh when the Christmas guests arrive," says Morten.

Morten Kappel also says that in recent years the third wave has become more prominent, and that consumers are tending to replace the plants in the house more as we approach Christmas. This can be seen as an extension of the growing perception of plants as part of the interior decor, on a par with pillows, candles and other decorative objects.

Facts: The most sold plants in December
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
Orchid (Phalaenopsis)
Azalea (Rhododendron simsii)
Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe)
November or Autumn Cactus (Schlumbergera)
Christmas rose (Helleborus)
Primula Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)
Source: Plantorama

Plants that taste of Christmas:
Green cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum).
Vanilla or vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia)
Mountain coffee(Coffea arabica)
Magenta cherry (Syzygium paniculatum)

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