Flowers have always struck me as a slightly odd gift. Sure, Valentine's Day flowers smell lovely and give you an excuse to splurge on a statement vase, but they have an upsettingly short shelf life. Cut flowers…are DEAD. Deceased. Lifeless. Caput. All synonyms for “dead” that I found on thesaurus.com. A cut flower removed from its soil will last in its beautiful bloomed state for a few weeks at most. But then the processes of death start to appear. The leaves curl, the color drains from the petals, the stem bends back towards the earth. Soon, the once aromatic bud has rotted completely, sending mold spores into your living space. Without an effective air purifier, your lungs might start to look like those wilting flowers...
Please, forgive my morbid digression. The point is, on this totally fabricated holiday dedicated to loved-one appreciation, why not skirt existential despair and give your special someone a potted plant? A plant possesses all of the elegance and tenderness of Valentine's Day flowers with none of the imminent fatality. And they typically cost about the same as a Valentine's Day-worthy bouquet, give or take. Depending on the plant they can cost even less.
Of course, like any worthwhile relationship, a potted plant requires some work. Giving someone a potted plant obligates a gift recipient to take care of a living, breathing thing. They will have to water it. They will have to check up on it. At some point they might have to [shudder] re-pot it. This is all okay. None of these things individually are that big of a deal. The stems will get longer, the leaves get bigger. The plant will grow and become healthier and more spectacular over time, just like your relationship.
Now that we've convinced you, all that remains is the actual plant selection process. Luckily, we’re experts at sourcing plants on the world wide web. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite and easiest-to-care-for plants.
$41.00, The Sill
Why we like it: A Calathea Rattlesnake has a ton of really fun shaped leaves with a unique pattern. Plus, its leaves dance during the day in order to get access to the most possible light.
Care instructions: Best in medium to bright light. Water every 1-2 weeks.
Why we like it: Snake plants go by a lot of different names, but they're largely known for their supposed air purification prowess (at least, if you're willing to take a NASA study from the '80s at its word). The pattern on their leaves looks a bit like a snake skin.
Care instructions: Any kind of light. Water every 2 to 3 weeks.
$44.00, The Sill
Why we like it: As long as you water it and keep it in a place with enough light, a ZZ plant will grow super quickly. No other plant will make you feel more like a plant God.
Care instructions: Best in medium to low indirect light. Water every 2 to 3 weeks, letting the soil dry out completely in between watering.
Why we like it: I mean, c’mon, the leaves are shaped like hearts.
Care instructions: Medium indirect light. Water every 1 to 2 weeks.
Homalomena Emerald Gem
Why we like it: Big glossy leaves!
Care instructions: Bright indirect light. Water once a week.
Originally Appeared on GQ