Forget the sad last-minute orchid. Here are 9 Mother’s Day gifts any gardener will love

An illustration of azaleas, a watering can and gardening gloves and tools.
(Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

It’s time to grow up, folks, and give Mom a gift that a) doesn’t involve macaroni, b) requires a tiny bit of forethought, and c) actually reflects something she cares about (gasp).

We’re here to help with our handy guide to super-useful (and relatively inexpensive) garden tools and decor that Mom or any other gardener will thank you for.

Maybe Mom doesn’t love digging in the dirt but she does need good snippers for trimming her cannabis plant. Or how about a good garden trug for holding roses or tomatoes she’s cut in the garden. We’ve got you covered there too, as well as some ideas for decor to enliven her patio and yard.


Pro gift-giving tip for kids and spouses: If you decide to give Mom a beautiful garden pot, go the extra mile and buy excellent potting soil too, rich with compost and beneficial microbes, such as Malibu Compost’s Baby Bu’s Biodynamic Blend or Fox Farm’s Happy Frog. When you see the price tag for good soil ($30 to $45 a bag, about 1.5 to 2 cubic feet), you’ll understand how much more helpful it is for you to supply all the ingredients for growing — plus you can lift that heavy bag out of the car much more easily than Mom can.

Here’s our list of ideas:

A red plastic tub trug
Tub trug
(Red Gorilla)

Tub trugs by Red Gorilla are two-handled, practically indestructible polyethylene tubs available in nine bright colors (so they won’t get lost). The tubs are flexible and endlessly useful in the garden or home. You can use them to haul water or soil, fill them with weeds or heap them with harvested veggies and fruit. I have seven in various sizes and use them for foot baths, kindling storage, watering seedlings, storing socks, hauling compost and clean laundry (not at the same time). The medium 7-gallon size is just $14, so buy a few in her favorite colors, online or at some nurseries. Try Amazon for quickest delivery.

Felco 2 hand pruners

Felco No. 2 hand pruners are a Swiss-made classic, the crème de la crème of garden pruners and, lately, hard to come by. Home Depot, for instance, is sold out, as are other distributors, although they are available on Amazon for $55 (delivery in mid-May). (Note: The Felco 6 model is the same, just designed for smaller hands.)

If you can’t find Felco No. 2, try Corona’s Forged DualCUT Bypass Pruners, which I use as often as my Felcos and, truth be told, enjoy even more. These are super-sturdy hand pruners that cut through branches as large as 1 inch in diameter as well as smaller stalks. They feel good in my hands, and — bonus! — they are made in Southern California, in Corona. $23 on Amazon, yes, less than half the price, and still my fav.

Hori hori garden knife
Hori hori garden knife
(Truly Garden)

Hori hori knives are cool. You can stride around the garden with the knife, in its leather sheath, strapped to your hip and pretend you’re Angelina Jolie or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, ready to take on any comers. Hori hori knives are super useful for digging out stubborn plants, planting bulbs, sawing through roots with its serrated edge or moving just enough soil to plant a seedling. We like Truly Garden’s knife ($24 on Amazon) because it includes a leather sheath and sharpening tool. It is made in China, however, so if you prefer a Japanese-made hori hori, try Nisaku’s $22 knife, which includes a leather sheath for storage but not, alas, for wearing.

The Spear Head Spade
The Spear Head Spade
(Spear Head Spade)

The Spear Head Spade is for serious gardeners. It has a rugged, pointed tip that makes it easy to dig in tight spaces and tear up nasty roots or rocks. It’s sturdy but also small and light enough for people of all sizes, with steel-reinforced fiberglass handles that come in five bright colors — yellow, lime, teal, lavender and red — that make it near impossible to lose in a garden bed. Bottom line: This shovel means business, and anyone who uses it looks great, a win-win where Mom is concerned. $52 from

Kneelers may sound like an oldster gift, but gardening eventually brings everyone to their knees. Anyone who spends an hour on the ground appreciates a little padding and, sometimes, (discreet) help getting up. Even a basic foam pad kneeler can help, but for a special gift, consider the Deep Seat Garden Kneeler ($60 from Gardener’s Supply), which provides cushy support for the knees as well as handles to make getting up a little easier (and more graceful).

Goatskin garden gloves
Goatskin garden gloves.
(Bear Wallow Glove Co.)

Goatskin gardening gloves are the best — soft and supple even after they’re wet yet strong enough to protect your hands while digging in coarse soil or clipping thorny vines. The Perfect Goatskin Gardening Gloves ($23 on Amazon) are easy to pull on, fit over the wrists and come in a variety of sizes for a snug fit. If Mom is a multitasker who likes to text while she gardens, add Vgo’s Ladies Goatskin Leather Gardening Gloves, $15 for two pairs, in teal and purple, from Amazon.

Corona Micro Snips
Corona Micro Snips.

Corona Tools’ Micro Snips, just $10 from Amazon, are a precision tool for trimming herbs, deadheading spent blooms and, of course, paring marijuana buds. They’re a great accompaniment to an assortment of potted herbs or, if Mom is willing to put up with the skunky smell, her own cannabis plant.

Sun Tripper Cap.
(Sunday Afternoons)

A good gardening hat is a must these days for gardeners and anyone else in the sun. Duluth Trading Co.’s Crusher Packable Sun Hat ($35) has a wide brim and mesh panels to keep the wearer relatively cool. And for those who prefer a billed cap, Sunday Afternoons’ bestselling Sun Tripper Cap comes in six colors, is adjustable and has handy sleeves for holding sunglasses firmly in place.

The Rake Assassin
The Rake Assassin.
(Root Assassin)

A good rake is hard to find. Enter the Rake Assassin, a $50 game-changer that lets you rake leaves into a pile and then easily shovel them into a compost pile or bin, leaving behind any soil or gravel you may have picked up. This rake is tough, with polypropylene tines strong enough to hold fallen fruit as well as leaves, smaller stones and sticks. It almost makes raking fun!