How to grow lollipops for Valentine’s Day

It’s that time of year again:



Time for the annual planting (or thinking about planting) of the Lollipop Plants. And since I think this is just about the best idea ever (many thanks to Robin and Marc for this one), I am going to republish this until my kids are too old to do it anymore.

And, this year, I am ALL ABOUT WIN. Yes, I will not need the procrastinator version. But, you? I’m not so sure about you. . .


When Belly was a toddler, an online friend posted a Valentine’s tradition that was so easy and flexible that I knew I had to try it out. We are now in our eighth year, and now the kids expect it. You’d think I’d be better prepared for it each year.

It does involve a bit of deceit, so if you are someone who thinks Santa and his ilk are terrible lies for children to believe, you may want to stop reading now.

OK, here is what you do to make your very own Valentine’s Day Lollipop Plant:

1. A few days before Valentine’s Day, give you child a small empty flower pot.

Procrastinator version*: the night before, take your saddest looking house plant and, without letting the kids see, pull it out of the soil and throw it out into the backyard to serve as compost. Or just use a cup.

2. Let the kids decorate the outside of the pot with stickers, markers, glitter glue.

Procrastinator version*: skip this step; it is almost bedtime!

3. Once the decorations have dried, carefully fill the pot with several inches of fresh potting soil.

Procrastinator version*: search garage, basement and shed for potting soil, to no avail. Either reuse the soil that was once the life force of the dead plant now lying in your backyard, OR, go into the yard with a spoon and chip off a half-inch of hard dry dirt from the frozen ground.

4. Give your child some tiny cinnamon hearts and have him push some into the dirt. Blow a kiss and water them a little bit.

Procrastinator version*: Oops! No cinnamon hearts? Use anything sprinkly or red and hope your kid is too young to notice the difference.

5. If you have started your plant a few days before Valentine’s Day, you can make the plant start to grow over several days. The first night, cut up a few lollipop sticks into various heights. The first night, put the smallest sticks in the dirt so that the plant seems to be ‘sprouting’. The next night, replace those sticks with slightly longer sticks. . .keep this up for a few days.

Procrastinator version*: You did not start your plant a few days before Valentine’s Day.

6. The night before Valentine’s Day (Valentine’s Eve?), replace the sticks with several beautiful lollipops. Go to bed and know that you will be woken to the delighted shrieks of “it grew! it grew!”

Procrastinator version*: The night before, sneak out to the local CVS after the kids have fallen to sleep and buy the last sad bag of lollipops (which are not red, heart shaped or have anything to do with Valentine’s Day, but beggars can’t be choosers). Fall asleep but wake with a jolt at 6am and realize you forgot all about the damn plant. Tiptoe down the stairs, and carefully jam some pops into the dirt. If necessary, shield the plant from view with your body as you do this so your child does not see his mother’s lame attempt at creating “magic”.
7. Let your beloved eat lollipops before 8am. They will love you for it.

(and no cracks about that bottle of wine sitting there–that’s mama’s gift from Cupid).


  1. Hahaha! Brilliant! I might go with the procrastinator version, that was hilarious!

  2. Sounds a great idea! hope this idea works in my kids.

    thanks for the heads-up!

  3. We love doing this every year. The kids already asked when we're planting our seeds!

    (And this photo still cracks me up. Huge bottle of wine and coffee cup perched on the lip of the counter. Watch out for that knife block!)

  4. omg, I WISH I had seen this before my kids were old and jaded. Okay, they're not really jaded, but I still don't think I can manage even the procrastinator version (which rocks). This is awesome – I'll pass it onto my friends with littles.

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