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Virginia-grown holiday plants make fresh, festive gifts

Poinsettias are thought to be the Cadillac of holiday plants, but Virginia gift givers have plenty of other options as well.Bulbs that blossom into delicate white flowers or large colorful blooms make delightful holiday gift options.

“Having something beautiful and alive and smells so good … it takes care of the winter doldrums,” said Becky Heath, who owns Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Gloucester with her husband, Brent. Flower bulbs have been the family’s business for three generations, and each fall they sell thousands of paperwhites and amaryllises in time for the holidays.

“You just put them in some water with pebbles, or you put them in soil, stick them in the window, and they start growing,” Heath said.

While they’re a traditional holiday plant in the U.S., the bulbs originate overseas—paperwhites are typically grown in Israel and amaryllises in South Africa or the Netherlands. Millions are imported to the U.S. each year.

“We’ve got 28 different types (of amaryllises) a...

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