Step away from the roses this year and try to green up your Valentine’s Day 2015. Giving locally produced flowers and plants, or express your loving sentiment in an unexpected way, with these ideas:

Pro-flowers-heart-shaped-ivyAn ivy topiary (or other vining plant) grown on a heart-shaped wire frame is a beautiful gift that lives on with a little care. Include instructions for the recipient: Soil should be kept moist, but not wet — don’t allow the plant to dry out. Spray leaves clean periodically with water, and spray leaves with insecticidal soap to keep the topiary free of mites.

Fill a heart-shaped basket with potted primroses (Primula vulgaris). The plants are cheerful harbingers of spring — a thoughtful sentiment for someone who hates winter.

cyclamenCyclamen, which are available in red, white and various pink shades, make a beautiful Valentine’s gift. As a bonus, the plants’ leaves are heart-shaped. Play it safe and put the cyclamen in the garage or a cool sun room if the nighttime temperature drops below freezing.

Display primroses and cyclamen outdoors in bright light during cold weather. Neither primroses nor cyclamen do well in coastal Carolina’s summer heat.

Maybe your sweetheart wants to have a go at bringing the plants to bloom again next year, it is worth the try. Add directions but not promises:

Withhold water and place cyclamen in full shade during its summer dormancy. When the plant starts producing green leaves, usually by September, start watering it again. As weather chills, give it bright light, and it should bloom again.
Over summer primroses in the shade, too, but, contrary to cyclamen, keep primroses well-watered through the heat of summer. When the weather cools, return plants to bright light.

Succulents are excellent plant material for an indoor, heart-shaped container. They need little water, bright light (not direct sun), and they endure forced air heat. You can have fun putting together the gift because there are so many different succulents available.

Lucky Bamboo comes to the United States from Taiwan and China. Find Lucky Bamboo with the stems trained into a heart shape for Valentine’s Day in local stores. The plants require no sunlight and no care other than making sure they have water. Lucky Bamboo is the perfect lasting gift for anyone who has no interest in providing care for a plant. The stems are well-suited life in an office environment.

PARROT-TULIPSRed tulips are a big WOW for tulip lovers. As cut flowers, they are notably short-lived, but bulbs bloom for almost two weeks. Give potted tulips to anyone who adores this flower. If the recipient would be interested, include instructions how to store and chill the bulbs for blooms again next year.

Hoya (H. carnosa) is an old-time house plant known as a Wax Plant or Porcelain Flower. Interestingly and surprisingly, it is a tropical member of the milkweed family. That aside, another species in the genus is Hoya kerrii Craib, which has heart-shaped leaves. This plant is also called Valentine Hoya or Sweetheart Hoya. Individual Valentine Hoya leaves rooted in tiny pots are available by mail order. You may also find them locally in a retail establishment. They make a sweet enduring gift.