What is a New Year’s Plant?

What is a New Year’s Plant?

new year's plantNikita Rogul/Shutterstock

New Year’s Day was traditionally a time for gift-giving. Romans celebrated with offerings to their god Janus for the sake of good fortune, according to the History Channel, and friends and neighbors exchanged gifts of figs and honey in the hopes of making a positive start on the near year.

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Now, New Year’s gift-giving isn’t what it used to be. However, there’s still an emphasis on making a positive start (that’s where all those resolutions come from!). Why not pay homage to an ancient tradition by presenting a friend or neighbor with a New Year’s Plant?

A New Year’s Plant is a living symbol of good tidings and fresh beginnings. On a practical note, it offers a welcome burst of color when the outdoor landscape in much of the country is desolate and dreary. Whoever is on the receiving end of your gift plant will likely appreciate having something alive to care for.

So, what makes a good New Year’s Plant? It should be something that stands apart from the ordinary. A common houseplant won’t do. Instead, consider a lucky bamboo (shown here), a florist’s azalea, or a succulent. The lucky bamboo is a symbol of good fortune, azalea is a pretty evergreen full of vivid color when in bloom, and succulents are easy going (and easy on the eyes, too!). Take a look at 10 seriously cool succulents you can grow indoors.

Know anyone trying to eat healthier? Give them an herb basket. You can buy one premade or put one together on the fly. Pick up a secondhand basket at a thrift shop, line it with plastic, fill with potting mix, and plant or sow the seeds of herbs such as basil, parsley, sage and oregano. Meet 10 charming indoor herb gardens.

Another idea is bonsaia tree pruned to mimic a full-size tree on a miniature scale. Bonsai, which are available at garden centers and florist’s shops, represent an ancient tradition of caring for plants that are passed down from generation to generation. That’s a lot of potential wrapped up in one little (and we mean little) plant!

Luke Miller
Luke Miller is an award-winning garden editor with 25 years' experience in horticultural communications, including editing a national magazine and creating print and online gardening content for a national retailer. He grew up across the street from a park arboretum and has a lifelong passion for gardening in general and trees in particular. In addition to his journalism degree, he has studied horticulture and is a Master Gardener.