Care for Your More Common Plants

Green and blooming plants are popular gifts for many special occasions. They bring life and sunshine into any home or office. Below are a few helpful tips to care for some of the more popular plants.

African Violets are lovely small plants, which may bloom at anytime. They prefer bright indirect sunlight and grow well under fluorescent light. Cut off the flowers after they die and provide good ventilation. Keep the soil evenly moist at all times and feed monthly spring through fall with a nitrogen-free fertilizer.
Areca Palms grow well indoors, in bright indirect sunlight and may be placed outdoors for the summer in an area of filtered light. Ensure that the plant has good drainage and keep it away from drafts. Never let the plant sit in water. Mist the fronds occasionally with warm water and feed monthly.
Azalea plants produce beautiful blooms February through May. They require specific care, such as good rich potting soil and full sunlight. Azaleas should be fed every two weeks during the growing season. Remove all dead flowers and keep the soil on the wet side.
The Boston Fern is the ideal hanging basket plant. It requires a little extra care in that it likes good, rich potting soil and should be misted frequently with warm water. Boston ferns grow well in bright indirect sunlight. Keep the soil barely moist and feed weekly.
Bromeliads are beautiful, exotic plants requiring some extra care and attention. Bromeliads grow best indoors in bright indirect sunlight. Use good rich potting soil, keep the soil evenly moist and feed about every eight months. Bromeliads bloom April through June.
Croton plants require full sunlight and should be pinched back occasionally for good shape. Croton plants are poisonous and should not be kept around children. Keep the soil barely moist and feed every two weeks when young. Fertilize weekly after maturity.
Cyclamen have beautiful dark green foliage with unique “upside down” blooms that flower December through May. Cyclamen are dormant for the summer and should be repotted in late summer and kept cool. Stop watering in late spring and resume watering in late summer. Feed every two weeks while in growth. Bright indirect sunlight and evenly moist soil is best. Cyclamen are poisonous and should not be kept around children.
Diffenbachias are easy care plants with large leaves, making it an effective remover of indoor air pollutants. Diffenbachias are poisonous if ingested. Do not keep around children. Place this plant in bright indirect sunlight and let its soil become moderately dry between waterings.
Dracaena plants are easy to grow indoors in bright indirect sunlight. Good general purpose potting soil is fine and should be kept evenly moist. Leaf tips may turn brown if the plant is under-watered. Feed every two weeks.
Gardenias are wonderfully fragrant blooming plants, but generally require a little extra care and attention. Gardenias grow best inside the house with bright indirect sunlight. The plant requires good rich potting soil, kept evenly moist at all times. Mist the plant frequently with warm water, feed every two weeks and prune in early spring. Gardenias flower June through August.
Gerbera plants produce beautiful blooms July through September and are very easy to grow. They prefer full sunlight. Be careful the crown of the plant is above the soil and provide good drainage. Allow the soil to become moderately dry between waterings and feed every two weeks during growth periods.
Hydrangeas are gorgeous blooming shrubs with showy color June through December. They require full sunlight and good, rich potting soil kept evenly moist. Prune the plant way back in early spring and feed every two weeks during growth with fertilizer suitable for acid loving plants.
Ivy plants are easy care leafy green plants perfect for hanging baskets. Ivy grows well in bright indirect sunlight. Keep the soil evenly moist, mist occasionally with warm water and feed every two weeks during growth periods.
Kalanchoe are succulents and bloom January through July. Kalanchoe grow best indoors in full sunlight. Use good general purpose potting soil with a little added sand. Avoid getting water on the leaves, be careful not to over-water and feed only twice a year, once in April and once in July.
Norfolk Island Pines require a little extra care and attention. Bright indirect sunlight is best and over-watering must be avoided. Turn the plant occasionally to keep it symmetrical. If possible put the pine outside during the summer in bright light. Feed every two weeks and do not fertilize in the winter.
Orchids are exquisite blooming plants, requiring just a little extra care. Orchids grow well in bright indirect sunlight and may produce flowers at anytime. Avoid cold drafts. Most orchids have sphagnum moss potting mix and should be kept evenly moist. Be careful not to over-water. Feed every two weeks during the spring and summer with orchid fertilizer.
Peace Lilies are beautiful large-leafed plants, which produce white blooms April through October. They require full sunlight and should be placed away from drafts. When watering, drench the soil and allow it to become moderately dry between waterings. Feed every two weeks during the summer months only.
Philodendrons are easy care plants, which grow best indoors in bright indirect sunlight. This plant is a climber if given proper support. Philodendrons are poisonous if ingested. Do not keep around children. Keep this plant’s soil barely moist and feed it every two weeks when in growth.
Pothos are easy care climbing green plants. Pothos do well indoors in bright indirect sunlight, but will grow in rooms with less light as well. Keep this plant’s soil evenly moist and supply good drainage. Pothos is a good climber, if given proper support. Otherwise, pinch back to maintain its shape. Fertilize every two weeks.
Schefflera are beautiful, easy care leafy green plants. They grow well indoors in full sunlight. When watering, drench the soil and allow it to become moderately dry between waterings. Feed monthly spring through summer.

Make em last longer!

Two of the top questions Americans ask when purchasing flowers are “How do I take care of them?” and “How long will they last?
From a single bud, to a small bunch to an abundant arrangement, just a little extra care can make a big difference. Most floral arrangements last from 4 to 7 days, depending on the types of flowers used and the type of care they receive. Here’s some specific tips to keep your flowers looking beautiful:

For floral arrangements… Keep the vase filled or floral foam soaked with water containing a flower food. If the flower food solution becomes cloudy, replace it entirely. If possible, recut stems by removing one to two inches with a sharp knife. Use warm water when adding water to the vase or refilling it.

Keep flowers in a cool spot (65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit), away from direct sunlight. Avoid heating or cooling vents, areas directly under ceiling fans, or on top of televisions or radiators. Appliances such as televisions and radiators give off heat, causing the flowers to quickly dehydrate.

For boxed flowers or loose wrapped bunches… If you can’t get your flowers into a water and flower food solution right away, keep them in a cool place. Fill a clean, deep vase with water and add the flower food, following the directions on the package.

For all arrangements… Remove any leaves that will be below the waterline. Leaves in the water will promote bacterial growth, causing the flowers to wilt quickly.

Recut stems with a sharp knife. Do this underwater, in warm water. This allows the stems to draw in water instead of air. Then place the flowers in the vase solution you’ve prepared. When using woody stems and branches (such as forsythia, quince or lilac), cut the stem with sharp pruning shears.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,800 times in 2010. That’s about 14 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 23 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 136 posts. There were 25 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 7mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was June 7th with 44 views. The most popular post that day was Croton Care.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were billyheromans.com, facebook.com, android-vs-ipad.co.cc, webhostingplusdomain.co.cc, and en.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for croton, crotons, vera bradley patterns, vera bradley baton rouge, and vera bradley paprika.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Croton Care September 2009

2

2010 Floral Trends January 2010

3

Vera Bradley July 2009

4

Custom Funeral Design August 2009

5

Vera Bradley October 2009
3 comments

What do I do with the Poinsettia once I receive it?

The poinsettia likes moderately bright light, but they will tolerate low light for sometime.  Water when the dirt or soil feels dry to the touch. Make sure all excess water drains from the pot or container.  If the plant does not completely drain, the poinsettia will experience root rot.  Poinsettia’s prefer temperatures, that are 60-70 degrees during the day and 60 – 65 degrees at night. Please avoid excessively cold or hot temps.  To keep your poinsettia long-lasting, add fertilizer periodically.

Liatris – What’s that all about?

 

 Also Known as:  Gay Feather, Blazing Star

Availability: Year round

 Lasting Power:The fresh cut flower is able to last seven (7) to ten (10) days.

 Family Relations: In the Compositae family, this along with  corn flower, chrysanthemums, asters and zinnias.

 Description: Unusual looking, most blossom stems open from the bottom to the top of the spike. This flower blooms from top to the bottom. It is advisable to avoid buying the flower which the blossom already three-quarters.

Arrangement of Flower:  Most use liatris for what is referred to as line flowers in arrangements.  These flowers are suitable for drying.

Flowers and Seniors

www.Aboutflowers.com 

Rutgers: Flowers Boost Seniors’

Well Being

Flowers & SeniorsEveryday, America’s aging population – 40 million and rising – faces the challenges of growing older, including depression, memory loss and social withdrawal. As a concerned nation, we are continually exploring new means to ease daily-life anxieties. Recently, researchers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, released the results of a six-month behavioral study on the health effects of flowers on senior citizens. The study demonstrates that flowers ease depression, inspire social networking and refresh memory as we age.

“The results are significant because as our nation grows older and life becomes more stressful, we look for easy and natural ways to enhance our lives – and the lives of our aging parents,” said Dr. Jeannette Haviland-Jones, professor of psychology and director of the Human Development Lab at Rutgers. “Now, one simple answer is right under our noses.”

This research follows a study conducted in 2000, which links flowers to greater happiness and life satisfaction in women. In 2001, Rutgers set out to explore the effects flowers would have on senior citizens, who experience different living situations and greater life changes.

Prevention in a Bud, Not a Bottle

More than 100 seniors participated in the Rutgers research study, in which some received flowers and others did not. The results shed new light on how nature’s support systems help seniors cope with the challenges of aging. The results are as follows:

  1. Flowers Decrease Depression. Study participants showed a significant increase in happiness and positive moods when flowers were present.
  2. Flowers Refresh Recent Memory. Seniors performed higher on everyday memory tasks and experienced enriched personal memories in the presence of flowers.
  3. Flowers Encourage Companionship. Seniors who received flowers re-engaged with members of their communities and enlarged their social contacts to include more neighbors, religious support and even medical personnel.

“Instinct tells us that flowers lift our spirits, but, their effects on seniors are especially profound, if not surprising,” said Haviland-Jones.

New Evidence Sprouts Up

Specifically, 81 percent of seniors who participated in the study reported a reduction in depression following the receipt of flowers. Forty percent of seniors reported broadening their social contacts beyond their normal social circle of family and close friends. And, 72 percent of the seniors who received flowers scored very high on memory tests in comparison with seniors who did not receive flowers.

“Happier people live longer, healthier lives and are more open to change,” said Haviland-Jones. “Our research shows that a small dose of nature, like flowers, can do a world of wonder for our well-being as we age.”

Studies are showing more and more that flowers do have an emotional impact on human’s.  Flowers do more than look pretty.  Visit www.aboutflowers.com to learn more.

Not Your Everyday Arrangement!

Looking something different to send to your friend or loved one?  Mixed spring arrangements are always a great choice, but what if you want something a little different?  Why not try a BHF Lilies and Lemons arrangement? 

This arrangement will surely delight the recipient.  Heighten the senses and make them smile!

The Impact of Flowers

Flowers have a significant impact on feelings and emotions.  According to studies by Rutgers University:

Research Findings

A team of researchers explored the link between flowers and life satisfaction in a 10-month study of participants’ behavioral and emotional responses to receiving flowers. The results show that flowers are a natural and healthful moderator of moods.

  1. Flowers have an immediate impact on happiness. All study participants expressed “true” or “excited” smiles upon receiving flowers, demonstrating extraordinary delight and gratitude. This reaction was universal, occurring in all age groups.
  2. Flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods. Specifically, study participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious and agitated after receiving flowers, and demonstrated a higher sense of enjoyment and life satisfaction.
  3. Flowers make intimate connections. The presence of flowers led to increased contact with family and friends.

“Common sense tells us that flowers make us happy,” said Dr. Haviland-Jones. “Now, science shows that not only do flowers make us happier than we know, they have strong positive effects on our emotional well being.”

Sharing Space

The study also explored where in their homes people display flowers. The arrangements were placed in areas of the home that are open to visitors – such as foyers, living rooms and dining rooms – suggesting that flowers are a symbol for sharing.

“Flowers bring about positive emotional feelings in those who enter a room,” said Dr. Haviland-Jones. “They make the space more welcoming and create a sharing atmosphere.”

Want to learn more?  Visit www.aboutflowers.com

Easter Lily

THE EASTER LILY HOLIDAY TRADITION

Each holiday is marked by cherished traditions that bring joy, comfort, and warmth, and provide continuity from one generation to the next. Easter has its share of traditions: egg decorations and hunts; gift baskets and chocolate bunnies, sunrise church services, parades, and, of course, the Easter Lily. For many, the beautiful trumpet-shaped white flowers symbolize purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life – the spiritual essence of Easter.

History, mythology, literature, poetry and the world of art are rife with stories and images that speak of the beauty and majesty of the elegant white flowers. Dating back to Biblical lore, the lily is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. One of the most famous Biblical references is in the Sermon on the Mount, when Christ told his listeners: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet….. Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Often called the “white-robed apostles of hope,” lilies were found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ’s agony. Tradition has it that the beautiful white lilies sprung up where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the ground in his final hours of sorrow and deep distress. Churches continue this tradition at Easter time by banking their alters and surrounding their crosses with masses of Easter Lilies, to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and hope of life everlasting.

Since the beginning of time, lilies have played significant roles in allegorical tales concerning the sacrament of motherhood. Ancient fables tell us the lily sprang from the milk of Hera, the mythological Queen of Heaven.

The pure white lily has long been closely associated with the Virgin Mary. In early paintings, the Angel Gabriel is pictured extending to the Virgin Mary a branch of pure white lilies, announcing that she is to be the mother of the Christ Child. In other paintings, saints are pictured bringing vases full of white lilies to Mary and the infant Jesus.

The legend is told that when the Virgin Mary’s tomb was visited three days after her burial, it was found empty save for bunches of majestic white lilies. Early writers and artists made the lily the emblem of the Annunciation, the Resurrection of the Virgin: the pure white petals signifying her spotless body and the golden anthers her soul glowing with heavenly light.

It seems the thirteenth-century Barthololmeus Anglicus had this in mind when he wrote: ‘The Lily is an herbe with a white flower; and though the leaves of the floure be white, yet within shineth the likeness of gold.” So goes the saying, ‘To gild a lily is to attempt, foolishly, to improve on perfection.” To many artists and poets it seemed that, if any flower could have one, the lily had a soul.

In yet another expression of womanhood, lilies had a significant presence in the paradise of Adam and Eve. Tradition has it that when Eve left the Garden of Eden she shed real tears of repentance, and from those remorseful tears sprung up lilies. The spiritual principle held here is that true repentance is the beginning of beauty.

A mark of purity and grace throughout the ages, the regal white lily is a fitting symbol of the greater meaning of Easter. Gracing millions of homes and churches, the flowers embody joy, hope and life. Whether given as a gift or enjoyed in your own home, the Easter Lily serves as a beautiful reminder that Easter is a time for rejoicing and celebrating.

The following poem by Louise Lewin Matthews captures the spiritual essence of the Easter Lily:

Easter morn with lilies fair
Fills the church with perfumes rare,
As their clouds of incense rise,
Sweetest offerings to the skies.
Stately lilies pure and white
Flooding darkness with their light,
Bloom and sorrow drifts away,
On this holy hallow’d day.
Easter Lilies bending low
in the golden afterglow,
Bear a message from the sod
To the heavenly towers of God.

-Louise Lewin Matthews

Written and posted by http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/publications/lily/lily.html