Skip to main content

Mother's Day

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator

Don't forget you special Mom on Mother's Day! If you haven't bought something special for her yet, consider these ideas. You can be sure I'll get my Mom (Doris Simmons) a special horticultural gift for Mother's Day.

A gift of fresh flowers always says, "I love you!" Many beautiful bouquets are available at the local florist. Options might include sending all cut flowers, a live plant, a fun balloon arrangement, or any combination of these.

If you receive cut flowers for Mother's Day, here are some tips to ensure the longest vase life. Don't let your flowers get thirsty. Add water to the vase every day. Be sure they don't get hungry. Add a floral food to the vase water. The best flower food can be obtained from your floral retailer.

For some it is family tradition to give mother a new rose bush every year to add to the rose garden. There are many different kinds of roses available. The bush roses are grouped into types according to their flowering habit, winter hardiness, and other traits and include knockout, hybrid tea, floribunda, wild, old-fashioned, and carpet roses.

I commonly give my mom a hanging basket for Mother's Day. Hanging baskets have increased in popularity for many years and include a variety of plant types. Baskets are available with ferns, annual flowers, seasonal plants, and other interesting hanging plants. Different basket types are available too.

Most commonly these are available in white plastic with a plastic hanger. These are fine, but I prefer a wire basket filled with sphagnum peat moss or fiber material. These are very natural looking and quite beautiful when filled with a variety of plant materials.

There are many different annuals on the market now. Consider giving your mother a sampling of these plants to try. Million Bells (Calibrachoa sp.) looks like a small petunia and works well in containers. Licorice Plant (Helichrysum petiolare) is a foliage plant with gray-green to silver leaves that spreads several feet. Fanflower (Scaevola aemula) has unique ½-inch fan-shaped flowers in violet or white on 6-inch trailing stems. There are so many more examples such as lotus vine, treasure flower, butter daisy, and more!

Recently there has been a revolution in garden products and décor. These include patio decorations, specialty tools, garden books, and even everyday practical items such as gloves, buckets, rakes, and trowels.

Many other horticultural gift ideas come to mind including gift certificates, garden statuary, flats of annuals, perennials, a new tree, bird feeders, and so much more! Remember your Mother this year with a horticultural inspired gift.



As horticulture educator, Rhonda Ferree inspired citizens in local communities to grow their own food and improve their home landscapes. She focused on high quality, impactful programs that taught homeowners how to create energy-efficient landscapes using sustainable practices that increase property values and help the environment.

After 30 years with University of Illinois Extension, Rhonda retired in 2018. She continues to share her passion for horticulture related topics as “Retro Rhonda” on social media.

ILRiverHort is a blog that helps people connect to nature and grow.