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Why Plants Make Great Gifts (and the 5 Best Plants to Gift!)

Houseplants help transform a new house into a home. Here are five reasons to give them to new homeowners especially, along with some top choices.

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basil plant indoorsBrenda Bakker/Shutterstock

Plant Gifts Are Great Care-taking Practice

Millennials have helped drive a boom in the houseplant industry, according to the National Gardening Association. Giving them a houseplant can boost their confidence in greenery, which can extend to outdoor landscaping or vegetable gardening with their first home (find more gifts for new homeowners). Plants also offer a dip-your-toes-in taste of care-taking and nurturing that can expand to pets — and beyond.

Plant Gift Pick: Herbs

Inspire a green thumb and a love of family traditions by pairing a few favorite recipes with a plant gift of herbs, such as chives, basil and oregano. You can also find a starter kit with seeds. Ensure any included herb planters can fit in a sunny-but-handy location, such as a kitchen window, for fresh-snipped flavors when cooking and carrying family traditions forward.

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English ivyImage Source/Getty Images

Housewarming Plants Double As Colorful Decor

They’re affordable and come in many sizes, making plants a quick, fun way to add a splash of green and a variety of shades and textures. Deliver one in a brightly colored pot — be sure to look for options with drainage holes and a water-catching bottom — and you’re giving a bold design element that can fit modern, classic or retro styles. Change is as easy as swapping pots or adding surrounding plants, to create an indoor garden.

Plant Gift Picks: English Ivy or Pothos

To soften and brighten a home office, windowsill or reading corner, look for cascading plants such as English ivy or Pothos (also called devil’s ivy). Both come in colors with yellow or white accents on dark or bright-green leaves that can coordinate with pots. The finely textured fronds of ferns can also soften the look of a room with minimal or modern décor.

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Christmas CactussaraTM/Getty Images

They’re Mood-Boosters

Like a walk in the park or a micro version of forest bathing, houseplants can improve emotional health. They can be calming, while lowering anxiety and aggression. They also can spark joy and conversations and fuel a fresh hobby of collecting houseplants.

Plant Gift Pick: Christmas Cactus

Give a cheerful gift that keeps on giving with a Christmas cactus, designed to provide an annual show of vibrant pink, white or red blossoms to coincide with traditional family gathering times. Other great bloomers that can inspire full-blown houseplant passions include exotic orchids, with hundreds of shapes and colors, or the lush leaves and shimmery petals of African violets.

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Spider plantClive Nichols/Getty Images

Housewarming Plants Improve Indoor Air

Plants don’t just look good. They also take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, and can add humidity in the winter months when heating systems leave air dry and full of static. Scientists are still debating whether houseplants effectively purify or detoxify indoor air, but one now-famous NASA study claimed that they filter pollutants through their root systems.

Plant Gift Pick: Spider Plant

The dependable, lush and well-studied spider plant with its elongated green-and-white-striped leaves grows like a rounded explosion of fireworks. It also shoots out tendrils with offspring on them. Having baby spider plants makes this an ideal candidate for plant parenting — propagating new plants — for even better air quality in your house or to share with friends.

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ghost plant succulentZoroasto/Shutterstock

They Improve Focus and Productivity

Numerous studies show that having plants in the workplace can enhance productivity, creativity and ability to focus. As more people work and study from home, having home office plants that mimic the energizing and calming effects of the outdoors can make it easier to get back to work and stay on task.

Plant Gift Pick: Succulents

With intricate patterns and even mandala-like structures, it’s little wonder that succulents have exploded in popularity. They require little watering, and they’re perfect for a quick and refreshing visual break during work or studying. Group a trio of choices such as rosetta-like hen-and-chicks, spiky and medicinal aloe vera and the draping green-blue donkey’s tail in a planter for a blend of colors, textures and shapes.