Couldn’t believe my eyes this weekend while shopping at the Dulwich Pot and Plant Garden centre – all I was looking for was a nice “frilly” plant or two to cheer me up after a stressful week. And what did I find? I found a Hoya Kerrii the perfect plant gift for Valentine’s Day. I’d never heard of Hoya Kerrii and I’d forgot it’s February 14 soon!
Poking their little heart-shaped leaves out of the soil the Hoya Kerrii, also called the Hoya Hearts, looked simply too cute – and as February 14 approached.
I had to buy one – two just in case (one of them doesn’t survive Valentine’s Day…). Apparently, the Hoya Kerrii grows steadily into a bunch of heart shaped leaves, said the assistant at the garden centre, as he pulled the “heart” from the pot. “Lots of long, young roots,” he said, turning it upside down. “Oh yes, it’s not just a Valentine’s thing, it’s a real plant.”
Caring for the Hoya Kerrii – how to water the perfect Valentine’s gift
But the plants grows slowly. Enjoy the quirky shape of the single leaf while it lasts, the gardener said. If you’re in a hurry to see it bloom then you might get disappointed. The leaves barely change for several weeks, particularly in winter. But as a gift the plant full of fun.
To get it in time for Valentine’s Day you’d probably have to go to a garden centre, but if you’re keen to have and nurture it throughout the year try delivery through Amazon – click here to get a home delivery.
The Hoya Kerrii, or Sweetheat Hoya, even – apart from being the perfect indoor plant gift for Valentine’s Day – is amazingly low-maintenance, the gardener said. Only water it about once a month. When the soil is completely dry add some water – not too much – and then place it in relative light.
It can take both indoor and outdoor climates, but for my purposes, loving my urban “jungle” it’s a new favourite indoor plant.
Finding a pretty pot
The gardener also said to place the plant in a pot with a drainage hole. The only problem is, most of the pretty pots on sale actually don’t have a hole for the surplus water to run out.
That means you have to take a little extra care that you don’t over-water it so that the roots stay permanently wet and eventually rot. And if there is a drainage hole, be careful where you place the pot – not on top of an expensive, antique wooden console without a tray to catch the leaking water.
However, another solution would be to buy gravel or decorative stones and place a handful or two of those at the bottom of the pot – under the soil. Then you have a space for the water to drain through. That way the water stays in the pot, but doesn’t clog up the soil and roots.
Gardeners love the Valentine’s plant because it’s easy to propagate and sell off for a good profit. You can do the same – when the plant is too big for the pot, separate it at root stem level and plant into a second pot…
The Hoya Kerrii Sweetheart plant was the highlight of my day trip to the Dulwich garden centre. But, like when buying a new dress, one ends up with a few more.
Let’s see how long I can keep the Hoya Kerii alive – my perfect Valentine’s Day gift idea
So I snapped up a few succulents and a fabulous cactus with lots of little “heads”. Let’s see how long I can keep them alive. The winter months are not easy months for growing plants and the bitter cold of January and February can stunt the plant’s growth, said the gardener. Even kill it.
I’ve noticed some plants in the bathroom and the bedroom just not getting any taller. “Keep the temperature at around 15 Celcius,” said the gardener. But leaving the heating on a night and while out during the day is not an option. So fingers crossed the greenery will be able to see the winter through.
Having plants can be quite an emotional experience – one doesn’t exactly talk to them, but absolutely watch them change from day to day in the summer months. For some it’s almost a therapeutic experience. They really can be just what the doctor ordered when everything seems to be going wrong.
So as we approach February 14 and look for a sweet, fun and relevant thing to give to a friend, relative or a lover, then think of the Hoya Kerrii the perfect plant gift for Valentine’s Day.
House plants can be therapeutical – after heartbreak
I read a brilliant piece in The New Statesman by Hannah Rose Woods about her newly discovered passion for plants. She said: “House plants, they say, can be addictive. I thought they were joking, but I now own 51.”
She writes about a bad break-up and how buying plants for the first time and caring for them helped her back on track. “I spend perhaps three hours of my week watering pruning, propagating and otherwise tending for them,” she writes. “I simply did not anticipate that they would bring me this level of joy….The emotional bond I have formed with my plants is almost embarrassing.”
Read it, it really is a super article. And what a suitable way to end a piece on this funny, quirky, charming house plant, the Sweetheart plant. Here’s the link to the New Statesman article.