MOTHER'S Day shopping is a breeze if the mums in your life like flowers or plants.
A living plant will last much longer than a bunch of flowers, and will often do its thing again in future years.
So a plant given this year will keep on giving for years to come.
In Australia, the traditional Mother's Day flower is the chrysanthemum.
They are at their peak in early May, entirely covered in flowers in shades of white, pink, red, orange, bronze and yellow.
They will keep on flowering for six to eight weeks or more, and can be enjoyed in a pot inside or out. When they have finished flowering they can be planted in a sunny position in the garden or in a large pot to be enjoyed year after year.
But chrysanthemums aren't the only option.
Now that the cooler weather has arrived you will find beautiful flowering cyclamen as well as stunning phalaenopsis orchids.
Both make great gifts, and are elegant and easy to care for. They will flower for several months, and share similar needs - a protected and well-lit position out of direct sunlight, and they must not be overwatered.
It's a great time for bromeliads, particularly the showy guzmanias. Like orchids and cyclamens, these beauties will last for many months indoors at this time of the year.
When the flowers finally finish, they can be planted in a shady spot in the garden.
Sasanqua camellias are in full bloom, and are among the best flowering plants for the winter garden.
They are hardy and easy to grow, in a large tub or in the ground. Bees, including native ones, love feeding on their flowers.
They like a slightly acid soil, so make sure you use a potting mix that is specially formulated for them.
Other flowering plants looking great now include dipladenias, mandevillas, plectranthus and medinillas.
Fruit trees, especially citrus, are immensely popular, and the dwarf varieties make it so easy to grow an attractive, productive tree even in a small courtyard or on a balcony.
You can create a special gift by choosing a lovely pot and planting it out.
Fill it with flowers or herbs, and hide some daffodil or jonquil bulbs in the potting mix so mum gets a lovely surprise when they emerge in a few weeks.
Pansies and violas are looking gorgeous right now and will flower profusely right through winter. Or you could create a succulent garden.
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