This Christmas I've avoided the traditional bottle of bubbly and personalised my presents so the recipients can enjoy them long after the festive season.
The plants will be fine in the basket for four to six months, needing about 250ml of water twice a week. At that point (ideally in May), the gift recipient should replant each plant - after gently separating the roots - into individual pots.
Then, why not give the basket a coat of lacquer and replant it with winter colour plants? Try African violets, gloxinias, cyclamen, streptocarpus nodding violets and bromeliads such as neoregelia or guzmania.
·Buy a cane basket (expect to pay between $20-$30). Look for lacquered wicker as it will be sealed from moisture, ensuring it has a long life.
·Place red plastic wrapping paper or sheets of red cellophane into the bottom of the basket so it is overlapping the outside edges.
·Add another layer of covering using wax paper (used for baking) as a base. This protects the cellophane. Poke holes into the base of the dual layer of paper.
·Half-fill the basket with the potting medium. I used coco peat potting mix from Brunnings Garden Products, a product that is inexpensive and convenient and holds moisture and nutrients for a long time.
·Take four to six flowering and foliage plants and carefully place them in the basket so it is full of foliage and flowers.
·Water the plants in with Seasol.
·Finish the planter off with a Christmas bauble or ornament and a bow and you have the perfect living Christmas gift.
The selection of plants is very important. I chose varieties that are grown indoors, making them better suited for this planter which is intended for inside or in shady outside positions.
The mix is important too; aim for three flowering and two foliage plants. You want one taller variety, one to spill out of the basket and the others to fill it with colour.
Below are some great plants to use, all of which are commonly found in garden centres. For an edible alternative you could also try using chillies, strawberries and assorted herbs.
·Moth and dendrobium orchids
·Rex begonia hybrids
·New Guinea impatiens
·Hypoestes Freckle Face
·Spathiphyllum white sails
·Poinsettia Ecke hybrids