I learned a new word while investigating the latest Christmas gifts for gardeners. Martha Stewart recommends five essential tools for gardeners, and topping the list is a secateur.

Now don’t laugh, but I’ve never heard of a secateur. Could it be you need a secateur after your firsteur wears out? Lucky for me, Martha explains that a secateur is a pruning shears or hand pruner. Leave it to Martha to elevate a pruning shears to a new sophistication.

A pruning shears is definitely on the wish list of every gardener who doesn’t have a well-made version. The following are additional Christmas gift ideas for the gardener in your life.

Gardeners appreciate high-quality tools that can last a lifetime. David Samson / The Forum
Gardeners appreciate high-quality tools that can last a lifetime. David Samson / The Forum

Houseplant growers

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  • Comprehensive houseplant books that list nearly all indoor plant varieties, their botanical names and care.
  • Clay pots in assorted sizes.
  • Drainage saucers. Different grades of plastic are available, so treat your gardener to the heavier-duty models in assorted sizes.
  • Fertilizers labeled specifically for African violets, cactuses or orchids, plus all-purpose types.
  • Rooting hormone to propagate plants from cuttings.
  • Systemic houseplant insecticide for long-lasting insect protection.
  • Insecticidal soap and neem oil for safe, effective knockdown of insect flare-ups.
  • Upstairs and downstairs watering cans for houseplants located on different home levels.
  • Terrarium kit.

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For lawn and landscape

  • Hand-held lawnmower blade sharpening tools for a crisp-cut lawn.
  • Heavy-duty sprinklers with metal, non-plastic parts for longer life.
  • A fertilizer spreader with adjustable settings for fertilizer and grass seed.
  • Fountains or water features for restful additions to landscapes.
  • Sundials or statuary to add interest to plantings.
  • Hose guides to steer water hose around edges of flower beds and landscapes.
  • Heavy-duty pruning loppers plus hand-held shears. Treat gardeners to quality tools, which perform better than bargain brands and can last a lifetime.
  • Dandelion digger for spot-removal of lawn weeds.
  • Hose-end sprayer for applying herbicides or insecticides.
  • Books with landscape ideas.

Vegetable gardeners

  • A ball of heavy twine, sturdy wooden stakes, and yardsticks for both ends of the row to measure and space vegetables, while keeping rows straight during planting.
  • Wooden or plastic stakes or markers to identify newly seeded rows.
  • Soaker hoses to prevent foliage diseases and conserve water.
  • Galvanized pails to harvest and wash vegetables.
  • A high-quality hoe with superior metal that will maintain a sharp cutting edge.
  • Pump sprayer to apply fungicides and insecticides to vegetables.
  • Raised bed construction kit.

Fruit tree growers

  • Pole pruners to reduce tree height.
  • An apple picker to reach upper fruits, which is a small wire basket with fingers located on a long pole.
  • Tree wraps to protect trunks from winter sunscald and animal injury.
  • Fruit tree spray to combat insects and diseases.

Seed-starting kits and plant lights are welcome gifts for gardeners. David Samson / The Forum
Seed-starting kits and plant lights are welcome gifts for gardeners. David Samson / The Forum

Flower gardeners

  • Watering wands with attached nozzles to reach hanging baskets and containers, or to hand-water flower beds. Choose high-quality metal types instead of plastic.
  • Plant lights to start bedding plants indoors from seed. Fluorescents, LEDs or special plant lights are all effective.
  • Seed-starting kits and germination heat mats.
  • Rain barrels to collect soft rainwater by downspouts.
  • Potting bench, which can be a simple wooden or metal workbench located outdoors along a garage wall.
  • Timed release fertilizers like Osmocote for season-long feeding of outdoor containers.
  • Metal or plastic labels for writing plant names to identify perennials.

Gardeners of all types

  • Amaryllis bulbs, with their huge, easy-to-grow flowers.
  • Gift certificates to locally owned garden centers.
  • A membership in a local garden club.
  • A gift membership in the North Dakota, South Dakota or Minnesota state horticultural societies. Membership information is available online.
  • A subscription to Northern Gardener, a premier magazine with information adapted to our Northern growing region, published by the Minnesota State Horticulture society.
  • Any gardening books.
  • Wind chimes.
  • Bench to sit in yard and enjoy yard and landscape.
  • Extra tools, rakes, shovels, cultivators, watering cans and gloves.
  • Rain gauge.
  • Twist-ties on a roll for attaching vines, flowers or plants to trellises or supports.
  • Rabbit and deer repellent.
  • Trellis for flowering vines.

Don Kinzler, a lifelong gardener, is the horticulturist with North Dakota State University Extension for Cass County. Readers can reach him at donald.kinzler@ndsu.edu.