Phalaenopsis orchid care

Phalaenopsis Orchid is famous by the name of ‘beginner’s orchid’ because of its hardy nature and the ability to survive in intense weather. It’s also known as ‘Moth Orchid’ or ‘phal’ in short and is sure to please anyone with its wonderful beauty. Under proper care and attention, these exotic colored indoor plants can be in full blossom for a long time. The propagating and pruning of Phalaenopsis Orchid is also comparatively easy compared to other orchids.

Phalaenopsis prefers a bright light with temperature from 65 to 85 degrees F. A 40% to 70% humid atmosphere with any typical potting mix is ideal for these plants. Phals have wing-shaped leaves that add more to the beauty of them. They should be placed near the window where they can receive soft sunlight.

Varieties of Phalaenopsis Orchid

Though there are approximately 60 or more species in the Phalaenopsis genus, only a few types are grown and cultivated. The common Phalaenopsis orchids are:

Phalaenopsis Amabilis

Native to Sumatra and Java, Phalaenopsis amabilis is a fine, vigorous and easy-to-care plant for the beginners. They grow best in moderately warm climates. Most of the hybrid Phalaenopsis are derived from this species.

Phalaenopsis Aphrodite

This plant is endemic to the northern Philippines and southeastern Taiwan. It blossoms in winter & autumn, and flowers are white with a purplish flush. Leaves are elliptic-oblong in shape and deep green on the top side. The leaves can be up to 15 inches long and 3.5 inches wide.

Phalaenopsis Sanderiana

Unlike other Phalaenopsis, this plant seems to grow in offseason, from mid-summer to late of it. Flowers are comparatively smaller than other ‘Phal’ species and blossom in white with diverging degrees of pink glaze at the edges of the petals and sepals.

Phalaenopsis Appendiculata

Native to Malaysia, Phalaenopsis appendiculata is a small sized plant that blooms colorfully patterned flowers. This plant has been recognized recently and can be easily grown in-house.

Steps to Ensure Proper Care for Phalaenopsis Orchid

  • Know your Plant

The basic step is to identify that you have a Phalaenopsis Orchid in your garden. There are a few features that this plant possess. Phals consist of with 3 to 6 leaves from where the flower blooms. Flower have 2-4 inches diameter and can grow in any color. So, make it confirm that you have this amazing orchid at your home. Because not all orchids are created equal, and people often confuse them due to the numerous types of orchid plants available in the market.

  • Avoid Over-Watering

The key cause of phals’ fading or death is over-watering. You should water them just once a week because Phalaenopsis are epiphytic plants which can survive easily in drought as well. Before watering them, check the soil with your finger and in case the soil feels wet, avoid watering. The best time to water is in the morning.  While watering, prevent water from getting on the leaves because it may kill the delicate leaves.

  • Keep in a humid place

This plant should be placed in any indoor humid place like washrooms as they are tropical plants. Use a tray of pebbles or small stones filled with water to raise humidity around your plants. Spray water around the aerial roots to keep them moist.

  • Light

Placing the Phalaenopsis Orchid plant under direct sunlight can burn their leaves.  They should be placed where they are never exposed to intense sunlight. They need mild light to grow properly. For example, early morning light is considered the best to grow its lively leaves and flowers.

  • Temperature

Phalaenopsis Orchid plants cannot grow well during too hot or too cold temperature. It requires a moderate temperature to flourish. So, a temperature between 70 to 80 degrees F is considered optimal for its growth. In fluctuating temperature, the buds ready-to-open could drop.

  • Nourishments

Like humans and other living beings, plants also require proper nourishing to grow into a blooming one. So, feed your Phalaenopsis Orchid plant with some tree food once a month. Use any balanced orchid fertilizer (typically 20-20-20 in fertilizer grade). Fertilizers that contain urea is harmful to Phalaenopsis.

  • The Best Kind of Phalaenopsis Orchid

When you go to buy Phalaenopsis Orchid for your home decor, try to buy only those with big and thick roots and glowing leaves. These ones will be the fresh and healthy ones and will be easy to bloom with proper care.

Useful Facts about Phalaenopsis Orchid

Phalaenopsis Orchid is used to develops different hybrid orchids related to same and different species but with specific genera.

  • A well-growing orchid blooms twice during a year. Make a wise decision while buying an orchid and select only that one which is at full bloom during the buying period.
  • The flowering period of Phalaenopsis Orchid persists as far as six to ten weeks.
  • In the case of re-potting Phalaenopsis Orchid, it may not bloom flowers till a year because it is disturbed from its original place. Phalaenopsis Orchid should be bought along with their pots than with a bare root because replanting them may take long to bloom flowers again. Or you should repot them just at the end of the flowering period.

Special Tips for Phalaenopsis Orchid Lovers

  • The beginning of the autumn season is very special for Phalaenopsis Orchid because that’s the time when an orchid plant unfolds its full beauty with blooming flowers. A secret tip to gain an orchid flower spike is a slight drop in the temperature during the night time. 62 to 64-degree temperature during night hours is considered the best temperature to make an orchid to develop a spike.
  • The best time to place the plant indoor is when the spike starts to bloom.
  • Cutting the bloomed orchid’s spikes will give birth to new flowers within 8 to 12 weeks.
  • Try to use transparent pot for planting Phalaenopsis Orchid because it will give you an accurate idea that when the plant’s roots require some water.

Conclusion

If you possess a Phalaenopsis Orchid, you have already stepped in the wonderful world of beautiful orchids! Phals are one of the finest and easiest orchid plants to grow in the home. If you just maintain a few basic guidelines, these plants will shower you with several months of beautiful blooms.

Poinsettia care

When Christmas season starts crawling in, you will see many people adoring their abodes with a red flower-like plant named Poinsettias. Surprisingly, Poinsettias don’t bloom any flower, the plant itself is vividly colored like flowers. Poinsettias are native to Central America and Mexico and they got their name from Dr. Joel R. Poinsett who was the first US ambassador to Mexico and introduced the plant in the USA. For some time, there was a concern that Poinsettias plant may be poisonous. But the recent research done on the plant has concluded it as non-poisonous.

Poinsettias Myth

Due to its exotic yet vibrant look, there are a few myths associated with Poinsettias plant. The most popular one is: a little girl named Pepita didn’t have anything to gift baby Jesus. So, she gathered a few weeds and started for the church. On her way, the weeds miraculously turned into bright colored flowers. As a result, the plant is called Flowers of the Holy Night or Flores de Noche Buena. The plant is known under different names in different South American countries. Aztecs called it “Cuetlaxochitl” and considered it a symbol of purity. In Peru & Chile, it’s known as the Crown of the Andes.

Poinsettias prefer indoor atmosphere but can be grown outdoors if necessary care is taken to control humidity and sun. It can brighten your interiors during the holidays. With proper care, the beautiful appearance of Poinsettias can be extended to many weeks after the Christmas season.

Varieties

Carousel Pink

Carousel Pink Poinsettias do not have well-defined borders. They are wavy, bubbly and decorated in shape. As with dark red Poinsettias, the buds start to show up in the late November and full grown in mid and late December. The bracts of this variety are a bit smaller than an average poinsettia. The branches are strong and broad, and they can be easily transported in the garden without the fear of breaking.

Ice Punch

This variety of poinsettias has white shade at the center of its red flowers. The white shade is considered to resemble lightning streaks or the frost that lands on the regular red poinsettias. From the time of blooming, the white streaks increase their radius and spread towards the outer periphery. 

Winter Blush

Winter Blush variety was recently introduced in the market.  It gives out foliage with pink and cream or yellow mix. Pink covers most of the area whereas yellow is present at the borders. This variety is more robust and can easily be grown indoors. 

Winter Rose

It is a ruffled variety that resembles an open rose. The color varies between deep red to mild red.  It adds a new spin to your holiday décor and is a fine alternative to the flat bracted red poinsettia. Having delicate branches, winter rose needs extra care. 

Cinnamon Star

Cinnamon star variety of poinsettias is gaining popularity as it is being used more than ever during Thanksgiving. There is a great liking for alternatives of traditional poinsettias, and Cinnamon star is a mild one. It flowers early, has dark leaves and upright bracts.

Orange Spice

Orange Spice Poinsettias are a rare variety. A few years back you could only wish for orange poinsettias. These are sleek, long and have dark foliage. The color resembles a burning orange sunset, and this perfectly suits Halloween decoration. However, it is also used, though less in numbers compared to another type, during Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Whitestar

This variety looks way different compared to traditional poinsettias. It has smooth, huge and flat bracts arranged in a symmetrical fashion. It comes with a light creamy-green color that perfectly suits the occasion of Thanksgiving.

Planting

The best way to propagate Poinsettia plants is by planting cuttings. The cuttings form new growth and develop flowers within a year during Christmas. You should take the cuttings of three to four inches during July or August and insert in pots filled with a mixture of sand, perlite and peat moss.

Care

Although Poinsettias are native to Central and North America, taking proper care of them is essential. These plants can get easily affected by changes in weather. And since they are short day plants, you need to cater for their specific needs to make them bloom at the right time. 

 

Watering

Poinsettias enjoy humid, semi-cool and bright indirect light. Mulching below the stem helps these plants retain moisture. But overwatering can lead to root rot. A typical poinsettia needs to be watered once in every 4 days. After the flowering season, decrease watering to let the plant dry out some leaves to form new ones. Relocate the poinsettia plant to cool dark area until around April. In dry rooms, using humidifiers might be necessary.  

Fertilizing

Any fine household fertilizer can be applied to poinsettias. The best time to fertilize the plants is after the holiday season. Apply fertilizer once or twice in 15 days. Once the fertilizer is applied and the plant has shed a few old leaves, you will notice new growth within the next 2 weeks. 

Pruning

Pruning of Poinsettias is done after holidays or during the spring season. The plant, during this period, should be relocated to a sunny area and its bottom most canes or branches should be cut until about 6 inches from the pot’s rim. To encourage new growth and branching, cut the tips once every month until August. In fall when nights become longer, the poinsettia can be brought indoors. Along with pruning, you might also repot the plant with a mixture of sand, perlite and peat moss. 

Temperature

Poinsettias need to be kept at an optimal temperature of 13-16 °C or 55-60 F on cooler nights and 18-21 °C or 65-70 F on a warmer day. This will help the plant be full-grown during the holiday season.  From September through November, if you keep your Poinsettias in long hours (at least 12 hours) of darkness during nights, it will encourage the blooming. 

If you can take proper care of your Poinsettias, ‘they don’t have to be holiday decor “throw-away” plants. You can keep these plants all year round to add to your interior beauty.

Mandevilla winter care

Mandevillas are one of the most adorable plants for their beauty and lush colors which you can easily grow in your garden. A few years ago, this plant was rare because only a few varieties were available in the market. Thanks to the crossing, Mandevilla plants with a wide range of colors are now available in different sizes. You can grow this plant to outdoor landscapes, patio or other indoor places. As Mandvellia is sensitive to snow, they need to be kept indoors or covered during winter months. 

Mandevilla Categories

You can get lovely Mandevilla flowers in an array of colors, as well as plants that grow different sizes, including vines. Mandevilla plants are of two categories – Mounding Mandevillas and Mandevilla vines.

Mandevilla vines are primitive, and most gardeners are familiar with this type. If you plant them under the trellises or other structures, they twine and climb up on the structure. As they grow up, you have to support and wind Mandevilla vines in clockwise or counterclockwise direction. The height of these vines depends on the variety. A typical Mandevilla grows between 10 to 15 feet in height. Although they grow vertically, you can control your Mandevilla vines to grow horizontally. 

Mounding Mandevillas form mounds as they grow in length rather than coiling up. These are ideal for raised beds, borders, container gardening, and landscape beds. They grow around 14 to 18 inches wide and tall. While these are easy to maintain and control, they are widely used in window boxes and hanging baskets. 

Mandevilla Varieties

Carmine King Mandevilla

This is an evergreen variety that blooms fringed deep red flowers with a size of 3 to 5-inch length. The red color spreads through parts including floral tube and throat. This is a vigorous growing variety with moderate branches. It needs wrapping around arbors or trellises. 

Crimson Mandevilla

This variety grows higher than other Mandevillas. Its vibrant and gorgeous red color gives it a place in bouquets to back red roses. The leaves of the vine are glossy, big and lush in texture. It suits perfectly in landscapes and patios. It grows best during summer and in frost-free regions. 

Giant Pink Mandevilla

This Mandeville variety produces pale pink blooms that start to appear in early summer. It comes with large and glossy green foliage. It can survive through the frost and hence suitable for cooler regions. 

White Mandevilla

This is a frost and humidity resistant variety. It produces showy white blooms from early summer. The vine grows fast and gives out oval shaped pointed leaves that are 4 inches long. 

Summerville Mandevilla

This is a mounding variety that produces rich and vibrant red flowers. It is a perennial kind and so produces flowers round the year in moderate climate

Variegated Mandevilla

It is a soft-stemmed vine that grows well in containers. This variety was recently discovered in Florida. It is speculated to be created due to natural mutation. It has a hard stem and grows well in winter. 

Planting

Mandevilla plants are generally brought as potted plants from the local store. They need to be planted during early June when warm weather is established. Mandevillas can be grown in containers, hanging baskets or directly in the ground.

Since these plants generally are not winter-tolerant, its best to grow them in containers. First off, pick a spot that has arbor, trellis, fence or mailbox next to it. Next, dig a hole as much as it can hold the root ball and is twice its size. Place the plant, fill the hole with soil and gently press around the stem. Water the soil thoroughly and do not water for the next 4 days. For planting in containers, use containers of size 12 to 14 inches. Limit one plant per container and use a well-drained potting mix. 

Watering

Mandevilla prefers regular watering whether it is planted indoors or outdoors. For indoor plants, thorough weekly watering along with good draining is necessary to keep the soil moist. During winter months, watering should be reduced to such that the soil gets dry between waterings. For helping the container to drain water, perlite or sand should be added to the soil along with a hole at the container bottom. 

Fertilizing

Fertilizing Mandevillas is not required if they are planted in moderately fertile soil. Feeding a timed-release all-purpose fertilizer (10-20-10 at fertilizer grade) helps when they are potted. Moderate using of fertilizer keeps the soil nutritious over time and boosts the frequency of flowering. 

Pruning

You can prune Mandevilla at any time of the year when they seem too large. If Mandevillas are grown in partial shade or full shade, regular pruning helps them look more beautiful. Regular pruning also helps prevent attack by pests such as mealybugs, whiteflies, and spider mites. If you find any dry or diseased leaves, feel free to dispose of them. 

Temperature

Most Mandevilla varieties are drought and heat tolerant and so require less care once they are established. In colder climates, you should put the plants in full sun for 6 to 8 hours, and they will be fine every day. They perform well in sun and partial shade. In summer, Mandevillas do best in afternoon shade. 

Winter care

Certain Mandevilla varieties cannot survive if the temperature drops below 45-degree Celsius. If your place goes through such a climate, you might need to replant Mandevillas every year. Planting Mandevillas in a container and moving them in and out of the house based on the climate change can help preserve the plant. During frost, keep the plant on a spot which is warm. A shop light or plant light could be convenient for you in this case.

During winter, water your Mandevilla only when the top one or two inches of the soil feels dry. Due to chilly weather and less light, the plant grows slowly and absorbs less water.

Practically, Mandevilla needs no special arrangements (except a little bit warm) in winter unless its frosty.

Conclusion

Both Vining and Mounding Mandevillas will do fine if you follow the above suggestions. These tropicals are easy to care for and flower almost nonstop to keep your place always fresh.

How to plant Water Lilies

how to plant waterlilies

Waterlilies or Nymphaeaceae are flowering plants that live as rhizomatous aquatic herbs. This means that waterlilies are rooted in soil under a body of water, while the leaves and flowers float in the water surface. If you have a small pond in your garden, waterlilies are good additions to your collection of ornamental plants. These aquatic plants can give your garden a totally different look and tranquil vibe.

If you don’t where to start, here’s a quick guide on how to plant waterlilies.

Do water lilies need soil to grow?

how to plant waterlilies
Image by Pixabay

Waterlilies need to be rooted in the soil to grow. It is important to use the proper soil as it can cause several problems. For waterlilies, a heavy clay loam is the most ideal soil. This soil is used specifically for aquatic plants. It holds water and nutrients without floating in the surface.  It also creates a firm anchor for the roots of any aquatic plants.

Types of water lilies

There are several varieties of waterlilies. But they are categorized into 2 types.

Tropical lilies – these lilies only bloom during the evening. It also produces blue petals. And much more ideal for places with warmer temperature. Tropical lilies can’t also tolerate temperature below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hardy lilies – these lilies only bloom flowers during the day. They can tolerate colder climate than tropical lilies.

How long do water lily flowers last?

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Image by Pixabay

The water lilies flowers only last up to 4 days until it submerges and rots underneath the water. But a healthy lily can produce up to 6 flowers a day.

What do you need

  • Containers that are shallow but wide. Ideally 6 x 10 inches deep and 12 x 18 inches wide.
  • Heavy clay loom soil
  • waterlilies tubers that you can buy from your local nursery.
  • fertilizers

How to plant water lilies?

Plant the waterlilies in the spring – from late April to May. Make sure to plant lilies when the weather is a bit warmer. Even if hardy lilies can tolerate colder temperature, it is important to still avoid planting them when there’s a risk of frost.

1. Prepare your containers. Make sure the containers meet the ideal depth and width. Select a container that doesn’t have a drainage hole but if the containers have drainage holes, use a burlap to cover it to keep the soil in the container.

2. Fill the containers with a heavy clay loom soil. Do not use floppy plotting soil, it won’t be able to hold water and will float out of the container. Only use soil that is specifically for aquatic plants. Add fertilizers to prepare the soil for planting. The amount of fertilizers needed depends on the specific product you are using. Read the instructions properly.

3. Plant the waterlilies tubers in the container. Make sure to place them on the side of the container with the tip pointing upward at 45 degrees angle and to the center of the container. Add more soil and cover the top with small rocks or pea gravel to keep the soil from floating. Make sure to rinse the pea gravel before adding to make sure it’s free from any pest or insects. Don’t add too much gravel around the base of the plants to avoid stressing the new plants and to give enough space for them to grow.

4. Water the plants well and then place the container in a pond or aquatic planter. Make sure the leaves or crown is not submerge in the water and floating instead. If the pond is too deep, put planting ledges or stack bricks under the container to ensure the leaves will float. This will ensure the growth of the lilies.

How to care for waterlilies

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1. Lower the container gradually as the lilies grow as well. Make sure the crowns are always partially covered by water.

2. Remove dead leaves and old flowers before they rot. Flowers only last up to 4 days and they should be trimmed when they wither. Leaving dead leaves and old flowers might infect the entire plant and will help keep the water clean in the pond. This will also encourage growth for new flowers.

3. Add slow-release fertilizers every month. To add fertilizers, simply lift the container out of the water and use your hands to insert fertilizer pellets or tablets to the soil. Smooth out the gravel and put back the container into the pond or to your aquatic planter.

4. As the lilies grow, the rhizomes or the root ball, crowd the container. Divide them every couple of years and plant the new tubers in separate containers. If you have a big pond, this will give you more water lilies to admire.

 

 

How to grow bulbs in vases

As the spring season begins, bulbs and bushes start blooming in the gardens. However, some people love to plant bulbs in the vases for indoors. There are many varieties of bulbs that you can grow in the vases, such as tulips, daffodils, crocus, lilies are a few to name.

There are specific vases available in the market that you can purchase, but you can also plant them in the regular jars. Only the thing that matters is the bulb you plant should fit inside the vase.

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Growing bulbs in the vases

Growing the bulbs in vases is easier than you think. The fits step for planting the bulbs is to prepare the vessel. Any jar is suitable for growing the bulbs, but using a glass vase allows you to see the roots develop. If the jar is large enough, you add two or more bulbs to grow.

If you want to plant a single bulb in a jar, make sure that the jar has a diameter of 4 inches. If you want to plant two or more bulbs, use a bigger jar that can accommodate the roots of multiple bulbs.

Cold and Sleepy time

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Some bulbs like hyacinths and tulips need some time in the dark and cold place before you put them in the vases. Read the instructions on the packet or ask a landscape professional about the time they require to keep in a cool place. After the cooling is done, put the soil or water in the jar and place the bulb in the same with pointed tip upwards.

Make sure you place the bulbs properly in the water or soil with only the pointed tip left out. The partially dipped bulbs in water may rot within a few days. Therefore it is essential to take care that the bulbs are placed correctly in the water or soil.

Selecting the bulbs 

It is essential to choose the right bulbs to get the full blooms. Larger the bulb you select, bigger will be the blooms you get. If you select the smaller bulbs, you will get small blooms.  Make sure you choose the right size and healthy bulbs that can grow into full-size flowers.

Place in the sunshine

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If you plan to plant the beads in the water, you can also add some glass beads to the water. You need to place the vases in the sunshine to let the bulbs get proper temperature and humidity. You should not put them in the direct sunlight, but in a room with indirect but bright sunlight.

Roots will find their way through the beads into the water. Also, top up the water every three days to maintain the optimum level.

Options for growing bulbs

You can buy potted bulbs from a garden or plant nursery, but you should choose the ones that have not bloomed. Empty the pots and shake off all the soil from the bulbs, but make sure you do not harm the tender roots.

You can also use fresh water to wash the soil from the bulbs. Then trim the roots with a blade and place them in the vases with glass beads. If you don’t like glass beads, you can add pebbles or bright coloured marbles to get a better view of the growing roots.

Final Words

Bulbs in the vases need more care and attention than in the garden. It is best to transplant the bulbs into the soil after they bloom fully. Doing this prepares them for the outdoor flowering next year. Every bulb should be planted in the vases only once.

Growing Periwinkle as ground cover

periwinkle

Periwinkle is a perennial herb that blooms flowers all year round. Its flowers normally vary in colors ranging from yellow-green to lavender. This plant is normally used as an herbal or ornamental plant. As an ornamental plant, periwinkle is used as a flower bed.

If you are looking for bedding plants, growing periwinkle as a ground cover is a good choice. They only grow at 4 inches at the most and can expand up to 8 feet across. Which is ideal for ground cover plants.

Types of Periwinkle

periwinkle
Image by Pixabay

There are two species of periwinkle or vinca: the vinca major, which grows in the wild mostly and has bigger plants and flowers,  and the vinca minor which is commonly used as ground cover. The latter is also known as common periwinkle, dwarf periwinkle, myrtle, and creeping periwinkle. Vinca minor is a trailing subshrub that spreads in the ground and it occasionally scrambles but doesn’t twine or climb. Which makes it a good bedding plant.

Where can you grow periwinkle?

Periwinkle plants are easy to grow and care for. It is a low maintenance plant that requires well-drained but moist soil, plenty of sunlight and warm temperature. This plant is highly tolerant to heat so planting them anywhere that gets over 65 degrees Fahrenheit will ensure a healthy flower bed.

What type of soil works for periwinkle?

white periwinkle
Image by Pixabay

Common periwinkle thrives best in a well-drained and acidic soil. Especially, if you need vigorous growth for a large area to cover. However, it can thrive in many types of soil and conditions.

How to plant periwinkle as ground cover?

how to grow periwinkle as ground cover
Image by Pixabay

Planting periwinkle from seeds is an easy process as long as you know what you’re doing. However, it grows slowly so patience is key.

1. Prepare the flat by filling it with 2.36 inches of seed starting mix. A flat is a nursery plant tray which is made of plastic usually. It is made to facilitate watering and transporting plants. When choosing flats, make sure to get the flat with individual cells for easier transporting.

2. Put 3 to 4 seeds in each cell and cover it with 1/4 inch of seed starting mix. Press down the soil lightly and moist the mix by spraying water into using a spray bottle. Avoid overwatering it. Cover the flat with black plastic to block any light but maintain a temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Once the seeds germinate, remove the black plastic cover. This should take place between 1-2 weeks. Place the flat to a location where the seedlings can get full sunlight and a temperature above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Water the sprouts lightly. Keep the soil moist but avoid overwatering it. After 10 days from germination, add 10-4-3 fertilizers. Cut off unhealthy leaves or plants in each cell and leave at least the healthiest plant.

5. Once the plants are at least 3 inches tall, prepare the transfer to the ground. Dig a hole in the ground enough for the periwinkle roots to fit. Keep at least 8 inches of space between the plants. This will periwinkle enough space to grow.

6. Loosen the soil in the ground before transferring the seedlings. Add mulch and compost into a 2-inch layer over the soil surface and till it.

7. Remove your seedlings carefully from the flat. Hold the leaves and avoid holding them by their stems or roots to avoid damage. Avoid breaking any roots as much as possible. And plant them on the ground as soon as possible. Water the plants immediately and keep the soil moist but not soaking wet.

Aftercare for periwinkle

ground periwinkle
Image by Pixabay

The periwinkle is a low maintenance plant as long as it gets partial sunlight. However, adding extra care help any plants reach their maximum growth.

1. Water the plants daily. Always keep the soil moist but soggy. You can skip watering during the rainy season.

2. Prune your periwinkle plants when necessary. Periwinkles are naturally invasive so use pruning shears to cut any dead leaves or damaged parts of the plants.

3. Apply pesticide when necessary. Periwinkles are highly resistant to most pests and diseases but rust can be a problem for places with high humidity. As an alternative, always remove any leaves that have brown or black patches right away.

 

Different types of Marigolds

A beautiful small flower that comes in numerous shades, marigold is a herbaceous plant belonging to the family of sunflowers. It has become a popular choice among a lot of people for a simple reason that it does not demand too much. Neither does it care much about soil conditions, nor about the season.

Calendula and Tagetes are the two genera of marigold which include about 50 different species of the flower. The genus Calendula is native to the Mediterranean, Western Europe, Micronesia, and southwestern Asia. This genus is of about 15-20 species.

On the other hand, the genus Tagetes is native to North and South America. Despite its native background, some of its species have become popular across the globe.

Some of these species have been used traditionally in some parts of the world. In the ancient times, Romans and Greeks used to wear garlands or crowns made of golden calendula. People in India have been using marigold flowers to decorate the statues of Hindu deities for quite a lot of time.

There’s a lot about these beautiful flowers that can one grasp. We’ll discuss different varieties of marigold flowers that are found enhancing the beauty of yards, and sidewalks.

Tagetes Cottage Red

Discovered in Mexico, this single, bright-red flower blooms all through the summer season. The petals of this beautiful flower are spade-shaped and have squared-off tips. It is believed to be a hybrid one. Butterflies and bees love to visit the blooms of cottage red. They grow best when exposed to the full sun, and any average well-drained soil. It is best suited for cutting gardens and mixed plantings.

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Bon Bon Yellow Calendula

A bushy variety, it produces bright yellow double flowers that are generally considered to decorate mixed borders and containers. The fragrant daisy lemon yellow flowers have brown eyes at the end of the stems. In the past times, people used it as a replacement of saffron to give a rich color to the butter and cheese. It has also been used to treat smallpox and measles. Also, on the battlefields, soldiers would use it as a dressing for the wounds.

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Tagetes Erecta Antigua Orange

Best known for its bright orange and yellow golf-ball shaped flowers that bloom to about three inches. Since they don’t get sad because of the extreme hot weathers, a lot of people choose to plant them in their garden bed or containers and borders. An added advantage of Antigua orange species is that it goes well with almost every edible or blooming garden plant. Tomatoes, beans, carrots, and cabbages are some of the plants that benefit from marigold as their companion plant.

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Tagetes Erecta Doubloon

Also known as American marigold and African marigold, Doubloon produces large, fully double golden yellow flowers that rest on sturdy stems. The dark green ferny foliage has an aromatic smell which is quite distinctive. Whether the climate is warm or there’s heavy downpour, the doubloon marigold stands upright throughout the period. The plants of nematode-susceptible vegetables make good companions of the doubloon marigold because the roots of the latter emit a substance that deters root nematodes.

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Park’s Whopper Yellow Marigold

Belonging to the genus Tagetes and the species, erecta, these fully double flowers that grow in the form of 4 inch balls attract both the butterflies and the humans. Whopper is a new standard for large marigold flowers. Unlike some of the other varieties, whopper yellow doesn’t get to rest on their laurels after a couple of blooms. They keep blooming all season long. If you plant them close, they would look like a solid wall of flowers which hides under them the foliage and ground.

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Janie Deep Orange Marigold

Scientifically known as Tagetes patula, Janie Deep Orange is the most floriferous French marigold out there. The curls on this marigold resemble that of the carnation ones, which make both of these flowers look identical. This variety of marigold is known to tolerate extremely hot climatic conditions, and they grow well when the soil is kept warm throughout the process. It is ideal for container planting, border edging, and mass planting. One great thing about this flower is that deer don’t care about its presence in the garden and leave it alone to let it grow.

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Safari Red Marigold

Since it belongs to the genus Tagetes, it is also called French marigold. Safari Red produces compact and large-flowered blooms with quite a lot of deep orange-red, gold-tipped petals. Any pH of the soil is ideal for safari red marigold flowers to nourish. It has got fern green fragrant foliage which and does not have any thorns. Butterflies love the colors of this flower and they are attracted towards it. It generally blooms for an entire season before you need to replace it in the next season.

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Mr. Majestic Double Marigold

It is the most unique marigold with double blooms that have alternating colors on the petals. There’s nothing challenging about planting and growing this variety of marigold which makes it popular for crafting purposes. This beautiful and attractive flower attains a height of about 16 inches to the maximum. If you deadhead it regularly and properly, the flower will bloom all summer long. Frost has the ability to halt its growth and bloom.

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Desert Marigold

This mound shaped biennial has daisy-like bright yellow flowers. It is a North American species of the marigold which is native to the Mexican deserts and the southwestern United States of America. Desert Marigold, also called Baileya multiradiata, is mostly found in the states of Durango, California, Nevada, Texas, and Arizona. The foliage of this short-lived perennial is grey in color and has the texture of wool.

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Bon Bon Orange Marigold

Pot marigold is the other name of Bon Bon Orange marigold. It has got double orange flowers on the stems that grow relatively fast and deliver bright sunny shade all through the season. Originally originated in the Mediterranean and Europe, it grows better in well-drained soil and enough sun exposure. Just like regular lighting and watering, you have to deadhead it regularly to encourage continuous flowering. The flowers of this marigold attract bees and butterflies. Its petals can also be used as edibles to add flavor to the food and salads.

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Rhododendron varieties & care

A sure-fire way to spruce up your indoor/outdoor living space is to grow Rhododendrons. These plants bloom clusters of bright and spectacular flowers in the late spring. When watered right, their large, leathery leaves stay green all through the winter and keep your space fresh and deciduous. The flowers appear to be funnel-like or bell-shaped. Depending on the variety, the flowers may have a nice fragrance too. 

Rhododendron prefers moderate climate- not too cold or hot. To develop flower buds, they prefer the chill climate. The plant is available in yellow, white, red, pink and purple colors. Although a typical rhododendron might flower in spring, there are some varieties that can bloom in summer as well. 

Varieties 

There are a couple of popular varieties of rhododendrons. 

  1. Windsong

It is an evergreen shrub that flowers lush yellow blooms that look quite elegant with glossy green leaves in the background.

2.  Blue Peter

It blooms lavender colored flowers in the mid-spring and can grow up to 4 feet.

3.  Boule de Neige

This variety bears clusters of white flowers in spring. It prefers deep shade and is sensitive to overwatering.

4.  Elvira

It is a short shade loving plant that blooms bright red flowers. A great choice for indoor planting. 

   5.  Bow Bells

This is a hybrid variety that blooms bell-shaped pink flowers.  It requires good fertile soil. So, you should plant it in compost to get full blossoms.

6. White Angel

This is a long growing rhododendron that could grow up to six feet. It is semi-evergreen and blooms in the month of April. Pruning of this plant is necessary to keep it vibrant throughout the year.

Growing Rhododendrons

You can grow Rhododendrons from seeds, cuttings or saplings brought from the nursery store. If you are not sure about the type of flower ‘a seed growing into a plant’ would bear, getting a cutting of a Rhododendron of your liking helps.

The best time to plant is during spring or early fall. 

Once planted, give your rhododendrons dappled shade as they struggle in full sun and deep shade. A spot that is sunny during the early hours of the morning and receives shade at noon and evening is a perfect spot for the plant.

The soil you plant it on should be moist, humus-rich, well drained and mildly acidic at pH level 5 to 6. If the garden soil is poor, use peat moss and compost. As rhododendrons have shallow root systems, they need mulch and moist soil to stay hydrated, especially during summer months.

To plant a rhododendron, dig a hole that is twice the width of its root ball and deep enough to hold it. When planting multiple plants, place them 2 to 5 feet apart. Do not plant too deep to avoid rotting of roots. After digging the hole, water it and let it settle. Partially add the loose soil, place the plant and fill the remainder with compost and soil mix.

To grow a healthy rhododendron, buy suitable varieties of plants from the nursery. Pay attention to the time they blossom- fall, July, March or some other timing of the year. Buy plants that are healthy with deep green leaves, well watered and not wilted. With your finger, check the condition of the soil. If the soil is bone dry, avoid buying them. 

Rhododendrons Care

Indoor rhododendrons should be watered relatively less and the soil needs to be well drained and rightly acidic. Use a peat-based potting mix without lime. During the growing season, feed the plant with high potassium fertilizer every two weeks. To give a sufficient amount of light, place the pot in a well-lit room and avoid direct sunlight. To keep the plant healthy, the room temperature should be between 16-21°C or 60-70°F.

Watering

Rhododendrons need to be watered thoroughly until they are established. As these plants can absorb water from their leaves, its necessary to water their foliage and also around the roots. The best time to water these plants is during the morning. This allows them to absorb water and dry off until day’s end. Try to avoid watering in the evening as you can put them in the risk of mold growth. 

Fertilizing

It’s important to fertilize rhododendrons once the blooming season is over. As the flowers start to fade, add a good fertilizer to give it a nutrition boost. Also, apply mulch to the area to help the soil retain moisture. Use a slow-release acid forming fertilizer to give the plant a continuous source of nutrition through the rest of the seasons. Cottonseed meal or rhododendron food may be a good choice in this case. 

Pruning

Pruning a rhododendron is necessary to stimulate new growth. The right time to prune the plant is when its leaves are dormant and a few have turned yellowish. Pruning gives rhododendrons symmetry as they tend to grow haphazardly. While pruning a rhododendron, remove dead flowers, yellow and dry leaves. 

Final Note

When you pot a rhododendron and grow it indoors, pay attention to the soil, temperature and amount of sunlight it receives. They are one of the classic flowers with cluster beauty that have been featured in many literary works such as Emerson’s well-known poem, “Rhodora”. So, brighten your space with these large, beautiful flower clusters.

How to plant Gladiolus

Also known as gladiola, and glads, gladiolus are popularly grown to enhance the beauty of bouquets. Ranging between 2 to 5 feet in length, the trumpet-shaped flowers come in every shade, except blue. If you want to plant these South African native flowers in your garden, certain things have to be ensured before you get started.

Choose the Right Gladiola Corms

Corms, also known as bulbs, should have thick centers if you want the flower to bloom properly. If you desire the gladiola in your garden to reach a length of 2 to 3 feet, choose the corm whose diameter ranges between ½ and ¾ inches. If you go for the corms that are about an inch in dia, the flowers will grow much larger.

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Store the corms in a cold and dry place before they get ready to be planted in the yard. Make sure that the temperature inside the storage container does not fall below freezing point. This can damage the bulb.

Pick up a Great Spot

Gladiolus bloom the best when they get full sun. Although you can witness their growth in partial shade, the colors of flowers in such case won’t be as vivid. To give your yard the desired astonishing colors, you must plant gladiolus at a spot where it gets enough of sunlight to grow and lush.

Take Care of Soil

Generally, the gladiolus prefers to grow in sandy loam soil, which has got exceptionally good water drainage. But any soil that is ideal for veggies is great for gladiolus. Heavy and wet soil can cause the roots of the plant to rot. If your yard is filled with clay soil, loosen the soil to a depth of 12 inches before you plant gladiolus over there.

Ideal Climate Conditions

It is better to plant them in spring to get the best results. Hang on for the last frost in your area to pass before you take those gladiolus corms to the plant in the flower bed. If everything goes according to the instructions, it would take around two and a half to three months until the plant begins to flower.

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Watering

Once the corms have been sowed with their pointed sides in upward directions, water the entire area uniformly. Also, you should water the bed 1 inch every week, especially if the rainfall isn’t sufficient to fulfill the needs of the gladiolus. The amount of water must be increased during the drought periods.

Mulch the soil

Weed competes with gladiolus for the water and thus has to be controlled. Gladiolus grows well when the soil remains a little moist. To avoid this from happening, you should mulch the soil once the plants start to emerge from under the ground. A 2 to a 3-inch thick layer of either straw or bark would serve the purpose very well.

Fertilizing the Area

To protect gladiolus from the insects, spray the pesticides which contain Malathion or carbaryl. This has to be done when the gladiolas have achieved a length of about 6 inches. If you delay it, the damage that it causes will be irreversible. Keep it in your mind and take good care of the plant and take every necessary action at the prescribed time as well.

Stake them if Necessary

Summer storms can cause the tall gladiolus’ spikes to flop over or bend. But this can be prevented by staking the flowers. Make sure you do this early on in the process so that the roots and the flowers don’t get affected by the supports. Remove the stakes once the flower is ready to be harvested.

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Trimming the Flowers

Avoid the heat of the day and cut the stalks of the flowers early in the morning, or at night time. You need to cut them diagonally before you store them. Don’t store them as it is. Bring with you a container which has lukewarm water in it. Then place the container in a cool and dark place before finally putting the gladiolus flowers in a vase or a bouquet.

How to grow Honeysuckle

Honeysuckles grow as crawling vines, shrubs, and even bushes. People love them because of their sweet fragrance. Not just humans, but birds are attracted towards them because honeysuckle flowers happen to produce nectar for them. Honeysuckle flowers are often used for decorative purposes, especially in the form of hedge along the compound walls and fences.

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Besides beauty enhancement, they have also been used for medicinal purposes as well, especially in Chinese medicines. Being versatile, they don’t prefer any particular type of soil to grow.

Although it is quite easy to grow honeysuckle, you need to know a couple of things before you get to work.

Find the Right Spot

Honeysuckle plants want the full sun to flourish, but they can also tolerate some amount of shade. Make sure that the location you choose receives considerable sunlight. Without enough exposure to the sun, the leaves of honeysuckle flowers will start to shed. Although it does not require any particular type of soil, it must be able to drain off any excess water content in it. Since the honeysuckle plants attract butterflies and hummingbirds, choose the spot where people don’t walk.

Take Care of Watering

When it comes to watering, you must understand that honeysuckle plants are sensitive to the moisture and water it receives over the time. During the initial stages, they need you to consistently water them so that the soil remains evenly moist. Once they establish and start to bloom, you only have to water it when the temperature gets too warm, and conditions of drought arise. Watering at the same rate throughout the process can harm the health of honeysuckle flowers. To maintain the moisture retention of the soil, you can add a layer of mulch to it. A 2-inch layer of either leaf or shredded barks would be sufficient for the purpose.

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Weather Conditions

Plant them in your garden once the threat of frost has made its way out of your area. The ideal weather to grow them in is spring of the colder climates. This keeps their roots shaded and cool. You need to plant them at a soil depth of about 18 inches. It must be noted that an adequate amount of air is given to the plants so that molds and powdery mildews don’t develop on their surface.

Fertilization

These flowers don’t require a lot of fertilizer to grow. Do it with a controlled release variety in the beginning. A balanced fertilizer around the base of the plant is what is crucial for honeysuckle flowers to grow. To encourage the blooms of honeysuckle flowers, use a balanced liquid fertilizer for the purpose. Be careful that you do not fertilize it more than it requires. The signs of excessive fertilization don’t show up at first, but it renders the growth of flowers in a long run. All this while, keep measuring the pH of soil and maintain it between 6 and 8.

Provide them with Support

If you grow them as ground cover, they don’t require any support. However, if you desire the honeysuckle flowers to climb up, they certainly need some sort of support to get going. If there’s a wall near the plantation area, then there’s nothing to worry. But if there’s nothing around, you must insert a support structure prior to planting the plants. Don’t do it after planting because this can damage the roots of the flowers.

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Time for Pruning

Let the honeysuckle plants establish properly before you take out the tools to prune. Doing it too early can have adverse effects on the number of blooms. It can sometimes kill the entire plant as well. The growing period for honeysuckle plants before pruning the old and bloomed out flowers is generally two years. It is necessary to prune the honeysuckle flowers so that the later flowering can be encouraged.