Caring for Your Floral Gift
Cut Flower Arrangements
We know they can’t last forever, but a few simple techniques can really extend the life of your fresh flowers:
-Change the water daily, adding a cut-flower food powder or a little Sprite or 7UP to provide sucrose and citric acid.
-Every other day, cut about an inch off the end of each stem using a sharp knife and cutting diagonally.
-Since different varieties have different life spans, as some blooms fade, just toss those away, and scale down what’s left, using a smaller container. In a pinch, a drinking glass, jelly jar, or mug can house your new version!
Cut Flower Baskets
Your basket creation comes with the flowers arranged in a special water-retaining floral foam (Oasis) in a water-proof basket liner.
-Re-cutting the stems may prove inconvenient, but it is very important to keep the foam saturated with water. Just fill the liner to the top, and the foam will absorb all it can.
-The other suggestions in the above section apply here, too.
-Note: Due to spills, the basket itself may be damp…please be careful to set it on a surface which won’t sustain water damage!
Green plants generally prefer bright light, but avoid direct sun except in the early morning. An east-facing window is the best, but a southern or western exposure is fine provided there is some filtering by a sheer curtain or a tree outside.
-Keep soil moist (like a squeezed-out sponge), but NEVER soggy.
-Fertilize using a water-soluable fertilizer. Follow package instructions, but don’t over-do. Small potted plants need less nutrition than their cousins growing outdoors with bigger root systems and brighter light.
-These plants are tropicals, and may do best in a sheltered location outdoors, provided you bring them in during the occasional South Florida “cold snap.”
Despite their delicate appearance, orchids are actually pretty tough. Most bloom once a year, and those blooms may, depending on the species, last as much as 6-8 weeks!
-Your blooming plant may be placed anywhere providing you avoid direct midday sun and chilly drafts from air conditioners.
-Water VERY SPARINGLY. The #1 killer of domestic orchids is over-watering. Once a week is usually plenty, and even then, just lightly dampen roots and potting medium.
-After blooms fade, snip the blossom stems off near the crown, and water even less for about a month.
While perfect growing conditions vary from one species or hybrid to another, most will thrive given a few basic requirements: bright filtered light, light watering, and monthly feeding using a commercial water-soluable plant food diluted to half the normal concentration. In South Florida, many orchids do best outdoors; many even thrive if simply attatched to the bark of a shady tree and left alone!
Generally, just follow the same guidelines as for mixed plantings, above, but cooler locations are better to prolong bloom life of bulb plants.
In our climate, most bulbs will not thrive without intensive climate control, and therefore will not be worth keeping after the current blooming cycle.
One notable exception is amaryllis, which may be planted in your garden or kept in its pot and placed outdoors.
Your bromeliad will enjoy a fairly warm location and bright filtered light, but will also tolerate low-light situations for several weeks.
Let the potting medium dry out somewhat before watering , but always keep fresh water in the “cup” of the plant.
These plants do well outdoors in filtered light, and their offshoots (pups) may be cut off and repotted to start new plants.
Use a water-soluable fertilizer with a light touch.