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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Make A Hostess Dish Garden: A Gift To Go

Lynn Coulter
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Difficulty: Beginner

dish garden


Holiday parties start at Thanksgiving and run through Christmas, coming to an end with the pop of fireworks and champagne corks on New Year’s Eve.

It’s nice to take a thank-you gift to your party host or hostess, but finding the right present can be tricky. You won’t always know your host’s tastes in food or candle fragrances or wine–and besides, it’s more fun to give something different. 

This year, get creative and make a hostess dish garden. Planted in a pretty container, the greenery and flowers can be enjoyed long after the season is over. Ours is dressed up with green ribbon and two small ornaments that can be removed when the holidays are over. When spring returns, the dish garden will be easy to update with floral picks in pastel colors. Your party host can add seasonal decorations and use the planter as an Easter centerpiece.




30 minutes


Optional: Gardening gloves


2 – 4.5 inch Ivy plants

1- 4.5 inch Anthurium plant

1- 6 inch Schefflera arboricola plant

1- 4.5 inch thyme (available in most Home Depot Garden Centers)

Sheet Moss

Potting soil

Coarse horticultural or aquarium charcoal (available from pet or fish stores)

Rectangular planter

Christmas ornaments


1 small paperclip


Step 1: Place a layer of coarse horticultural or aquarium-type charcoal in the bottom of your planter. This will help water drain away from the roots and keep the soil smelling fresh. Add some potting soil on top of the charcoal.

Step 2: Remover the plants from their containers, gently loosen the roots, and arrange them in the planter. A general guideline is to place the taller plants behind the shorter ones. You may want to save the care tags for the person you’re giving the planter to.

Step 3:  Gently firm enough potting soil around the plants to cover the roots. Add sheet moss for color.

Step 4: Tie a festive holiday ribbon around the planter and affix some Christmas ornaments, jingle bells, or a holiday card with a small paperclip.

Step 5: Water the plants and pour off any excess. If the planter has a drainage hole on the bottom, use a tray underneath to catch any drips.


Get creative with your dish garden. Use any kinds of plants you like, as long as they all need the same kind of light conditions and watering routine (that is, don’t plant a cactus with a water-loving fern). Instead of ornaments or bells, try adding a tiny red bird or other forest creature, purchased from a craft store. Sprays of artificial holly berries can add color.

Your host will enjoy her living gift for many seasons to come.


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