Plants for special occasions

When buying a gift for a friend or relative who enjoys plants and gardens a special plant can be the ideal choice. There is a wide range of plants named to commemorate special occasions or with personal names in their titles.

Plants for special occasions

Quick facts

Top plants for special occasions:

Practical considerations

When buying a plant for a special occasion, the plant purchased could;

  1. Bear the name of the occasion being marked
  2. Be named after the person to whom it is being given
  3. Mark an event by flowering at a significant time of the year
  4. Be a known favourite for that person or bears flowers in their favourite colour or with an attractive scent

When purchasing a plant as a gift, try to consider the recipient’s circumstances. Key points to bear in mind;

  • Do they have a garden? If so, is the plant suitable to the size of their garden or would it need to be kept in a container (which can make more work for them)?
  • What sort of soil does their garden have? Can they grow acid-loving plants such as camellias and rhododendrons or would these have to be grown in pots?
  • If they only have a small garden would a houseplant or plant to keep in a pot be more appropriate?
  • Where there is doubt, consider garden centre vouchers that let the recipient choose their own plant

Finding plants with particular names

Using the RHS Plant Finder:

Many plants have been bred to mark special occasions and can be found using the RHS Plant Finder:

  1. Open the RHS Plant Finder
  2. Type the required name into the search box e.g. ‘Susan’ or ‘Golden Wedding’
  3. Click 'Search' and you will get a list of all plants containing the name
  4. Select ‘Show all records’ so you can see the full name of each plant. You can then look through them to find something appropriate

Remember: When searching for a person’s name, bear in mind that you may well turn up plants with combined names – for example a search for plants with ‘Alfred’ in the name will bring up Rosa ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’ – making it entirely unsuited for the purpose. When no suitable name can be found, alternative criteria for searching (as described in 'Practical considerations' above) will need to be tried instead.

Rose directories

There are a number of directories of rose names helpful to look for a rose with an appropriate name such as:
Rose locator
Find that rose

Find that rose is also available in book form from:
The Editor
303 Mile End Road
Colchester
Essex CO4 5EA

Suitable plants for special occasions

Below is a sample of special occasion plants. Many more can be found using the RHS Plant Finder. Further information about the plants can be found on the RHS Plant Selector.

Golden Anniversary

Fuchsia 'Golden Anniversary': Spreading plant good for hanging baskets, green-gold young foliage. Violet flowers with white sepals.
Hosta 'Golden Anniversary': Golden foliage turning green as the season progresses, blue flowers in summer, height and spread 25-45cm (10-18in).
Rosa 'Golden Wedding': Large golden-yellow clusters of flowers, floribunda rose, height and spread 60-90cm (2-3ft).

Silver Anniversary

Camellia japonica 'Silver Anniversary': White flowers from January to March. Height up to 3m (10ft) and spread 2.4m (8ft).
Rosa 'Silver Anniversary': Pure white double flowered, hybrid tea rose height up to 90cm (3ft) and spread 60cm (2ft).
Buddleja 'Silver Anniversary': Creamy white fragrant flowers in late summer. Deciduous shrub with silvery leaves, height 2-3m (6½-10ft).

Ruby Anniversary

Astrantia major 'Ruby Wedding': Ruby red flowers from June-August, reaches a height of 90cm (3ft).
Camellia williamsii 'Ruby Wedding': Deep, ruby-red, medium, paeony form flowers in spring. Vigorous, upright bush reaching a height and spread of 1.5m (5ft).
Rosa 'Ruby Wedding': Deep red double, hybrid tea rose, height and spread 60cm (2ft).
R. 'Ruby Anniversary': Rich crimson blooms, repeat flowering floribunda rose, height and spread 65cm (26in).

Birthday

Camellia japonica 'Happy Birthday': Large creamy white flowers, produced in early summer and again in late summer. Group 2 clematis height up to 3m (10ft).
Rhododendron 'Birthday Girl': Pink flowers in May. Compact rhododendron reaching 1m (3¼ft).
Rosa 'Birthday Girl': Cream, yellow and pink flowers, repeat flowering, floribunda rose, height 90cm (3ft).
R. 'Birthday Boy': Lilac purple scented double flowers, hybrid tea rose, height 1m (3¼ft).
R. 'Happy Birthday': Yellow flowers from summer-autumn, patio rose growing to 60cm (2ft) high. Ideal for containers.

Wedding

Clematis 'Wedding Day': Creamy-white flowers produced in May and June and again in September. Group 2 Clematis growing to 3m (10ft) high.
Fuchsia 'Happy Wedding Day': Lax plant, good for hanging baskets, flowers are double white with rose-pink bases to the sepals.
Malus 'Wedding Bouquet' (crab apple): Single white flowers produce in spring, followed by small dark red fruits. Height up to 4m (13ft).
Rosa 'Wedding Day': Creamy yellow flowers turn white with age. Vigorous rambler, which can grow up to 8m (26ft) and spread 4m (13ft).

New Baby

Dahlia 'New Baby': Pompom dahlia with orange-red flowers. Height 1m (3¼ft).
Narcissus 'New Baby': Pretty yellow-flowered, late season daffodil.

Celebration

Camellia × williamsii 'Celebration': Large deep pink flowers in late winter. Height 2m (6ft) and spread 1m (3¼ft).
Fuchsia 'Celebration': Variegated foliage, medium sized variegated orange blooms.
Rosa 'Jubilee Celebration': Fragrant salmon pink double flowers throughout the summer. Medium shrub rose, height and spread up to 1.2m (4ft).

Other Occasions

Rosa 'Warm Wishes': Fragrant peach blooms, dark foliage, hybrid tea rose height 75cm (30in) and spread 1m (3¼ft).
R. 'Loving Memory': Dark foliage and long stems, red flowers throughout the summer. Good for cutting. Height up to 1.2m (4ft).

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