Skip to main content

Get The Dirt: Gift Ideas for Gardeners

Red flowers amid green foliage, wooden fence at bottom.

By  Lynn Barber March 1, 2024

Whether you are gifting a significant other, relative, friend or casual acquaintance, it’s time to think outside of the box. A significant classic plant is the rose, whether freshly cut and in a vase or the bush itself. A few other choices you may want to consider include firebush, firespike, powderpuff/sunshine mimosa and purple coneflower.

Firebush, Hamelia patens, a native large shrub, can grow to a height and spread of 15 feet and is suited for Central and South Florida. It is fast-growing, has medium drought tolerance and prefers shade but does well in both full sun and partial sun/shade.

Orange/red year-round flowers attract butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and birds. The foliage is generally more attractive in the shade, but it flowers more in the sun. I have firebush in sun and shade, and wildlife is present. This plant can die back in the winter but comes back strong in the spring.

Firespike, Odontonema strictum, non-native, can reach a height of 2-6 feet and a spread of 2-3 feet, has medium drought tolerance and prefers full sun. This herbaceous perennial produces red fall through winter flowers and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Powderpuff/sunshine mimosa, Mimosa strigillosa, is a native perennial groundcover that grows well in North, Central and South Florida. It is fast-growing, tolerates drought fairly well and prefers full sun. The pink powderpuff flowers attract butterflies.

Purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, another native perennial, performs well in our state. This plant can grow to a height and spread up to 3 feet. Purple coneflower tolerates drought well and performs well in partial sun/shade and full shade. It produces flowers that attract butterflies, hummingbirds and birds.

Some gardeners in your life may have more plants and gardening gear than they can manage (Not that many of us would admit to that!). If that’s the situation, consider nongardening-related gifts. Maybe offer your time to assist with mulching or weeding. What about gifting a nice lawn chair, binoculars, a bird feeder, bird seeds or a birdhouse? If your gardening friends prefer gardening gifts, a subscription to a horticulture magazine or an hour or more of your time helping them with a project. It’s easy to find a pair of red gardening gloves, pink shovels, garden hoses and trowels too. Repurpose items: Gift a plant shelf (also known as a towel holder), turn shoes into a succulent planter or put half of a food-grade barrel into a planter. Ideas are limitless.

For information about upcoming horticultural programs and to find your county’s calendar of events, go to For the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, visit our website,, which contains our calendar of events.

Contact Barber at

Join our mailing list