How to pick the perfect plant for mom this Mother's Day

Flowers are a popular gift for moms, but CBC's garden expert says people have to match the plant to the person.

Flowers are a popular gift for moms, but CBC's garden expert says people have to match the plant to the person

Heading to the greenhouse is a great idea for Mother's Day, but Lyndon Penner says you need to do it right. (Kalina Laframboise/CBC)

Looking to hit up a greenhouse for your Mother's Day gift? According to CBC's garden expert Lyndon Penner, it's their busiest weekend all year.

"There's no room for people to get in or out and I was constantly refilling perennials, and you know selling things and having to pull stuff down from the back shelf because it was gone right away," he said.

And what is the typical gift people buy for mom? Penner says hanging planters or roses.

"All the garden centres seem to push the hanging baskets to the front of the building and mom goes home with a planter whether she wants one or not."

Often, Penner said, she does not. He has better ideas for what to give mom.

The right plant to buy mom

"You have to match the plant to the person," Penner said. 

"If mom is old fashioned and hardy and steadfast, maybe she needs a lilac instead of a rose. Maybe she's beautiful and dependable, lilacs are perfect for that."

Or maybe you have a different kind of mom. "If she only flowers occasionally and not particularly profusely, perhaps I could recommend a certain iris."

Penner says to think about your mom, how she spends her time, and what she likes.

"If mom is away for two weeks at the lake, don't buy her lilies. She's going to totally miss when they flower."

Plants to stay away from

Penner said there are some plants people should not consider.

"Something that's very toxic, maybe you're not conveying the right message. Maybe something with really sharp thorns, maybe don't do that. People always buy their mothers roses and I think I wouldn't buy my mom something that was sharp and prickly and couldn't be touched."

For those wondering, Penner gives his mother a perennial every year. This year it will be a shade-loving peony.