Sustainable Gift Wrapping with Plants

An array of holiday gifts decorated with foraged plant clippings.

An array of holiday gifts decorated with foraged plant clippings.

By Lizzi Brosseau

A More Meaningful Package

Have you ever looked at the wreckage of paper, ribbons, and cardboard on Christmas morning and thought about landfills teeming with similar items and wondered if there must be a better way to gift wrap? We met with Zenaida Sengo, a horticulture author and artist, who showed us how to use compostable items in our wrapping—plants!


Video: Gift Wrapping with Plants


Budget and Eco-Friendly Holidays

Using plants in gift wrapping is a great idea because the materials can be found around your yard or neighborhood, in your own home, and it's free! Cuts from shrubs, trees, and flowers can be used to make your gift look tailored to their recipient, while also doing a bit of mid-winter tidying up in the yard. Be sure you have permission from homeowners and landowners before your forage!

Or, do you have a friend who always admires your succulent indoor plants? You can cut off a stem from your plant that can be used as an accent to your gift wrapping, and the succulent can be replanted in a pot of soil as an extra gift! But when looking to plants that aren't yours, remember that responsible foraging applies to plant cuttings as well. Never snip without asking first!

Plants used in gift wrap can also be added to compost, to spare the trash can heaps of non-biodegradable materials.



4 Tips for Sustainable Gift Wrapping

There are many ways to personalize your gifts with foraged plants, there's no wrong way to do it. But Zenaida has some great tips for those who are gift wrapping with plants for the first time...

  1. Begin your gift wrapping with paper you already have in your house. Open up your printer tray, or disassemble a paper bag!
  2. Using a piece of ribbon or twine, she wraps the package several times to create a grid that she can secure her plant cuttings.
  3. She first uses sturdy conifers that aren't too colorful to create a base layer, and then adds other cuttings like seed pods, pinecones or dried berries to accent the other greenery.
  4. Using floral wire to secure bigger accents, like succulents or air plants, she finishes each present in a meaningful way that is catered to its recipient.


Plants and materials for gift wrapping with plants.


Bringing the Outdoors In for the Holidays

Gift wrapping with plants is a beautiful, thoughtful, affordable and sustainable way to bring more cheer and joy to a special occasion. We hope you'll enjoy bringing winter's beauty inside to share with those you love. Happy Holidays! 

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Lizzi Brosseau

Lizzi Brosseau, Digital Producer at KUED Channel 7.
Modern Gardener Host and Author

Lizzi works for PBS Utah as a digital producer and host of Modern Gardener. Read more