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Revive your roses with these easy steps

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Even when handled with great care, the heads of your beautiful roses could drop over within a few days of receiving a bouquet.

It’s not that the flowers are old. Rather, it’s likely that an air bubble got stuck in the stem, preventing water from getting in.

With these easy steps, you can bring the roses back to a robust state:

1. Fill a sink with 2 inches of water;

2. Remove the roses from their vase and submerge the stems in water;

3. While they are submerged, cut the stems (scissors are fine) approximately 2 inches from the bottom. A diagonal cut is best as it provides the most surface area for water to get in;

4. Allow the stems to soak in the water for an hour.

When you place the roses back in the vase, they should be in good shape once again. Be sure to add the plant food that your florist should have provided.

How to care for fresh-cut roses

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We’re on a mission to turn Valentine’s Day into Valentine’s Week.

No, we’re not talking about a loved one having to send you flowers for seven days in a row. Rather, we want to make sure that you get a week’s worth of enjoyment out of those beautiful fresh-cut roses you just received.

With just a little bit of effort on your part, high-quality roses from your local florist should open and last at least five days, and many times for seven days or more.

If you receive roses in a vase

  • They will use more water than you think, so add water pretty much daily.
  • If after five days or so the water is getting pretty dirty, pull the roses out, re-cut the stems and put them back in the vase with fresh water. Add a packet of floral preservative, available from your florist.
  • If the water is relatively clean, it is best to leave it alone as it will have some preservative left in it.

If you receive roses loose or in a box

  • If the roses came with tubes on the stems, remove the tubes and re-cut the stems about 1 inch from the bottom. It is best to cut at an angle, which creates more surface area for water intake.
  • Place the roses in a vase with water that is room temperature to a little warm.
  • Add floral preservative to the water; you should have received a packet with the delivery.
  • Only change the water if it becomes noticeably dirty.

If your roses don’t begin to open

  • Within a day or two, your roses should begin to open. If they don’t, remove them from the vase, re-cut the stems (at an angle), and return them to the vase.
  • If they still do not begin to open, re-cut the stems but this time also float the flowers in a bath of water for an hour or two to rehydrate them. Then return them to the vase. Most times, this will bring the roses around.

Keep them cool

  • Keep roses away from a heat source, such as a vent or direct sunlight.
  • When they aren’t on display, or while you’re sleeping, you can even place the roses in an unheated room or garage.

Here’s to a Happy Valentine’s Day or, better yet, Valentine’s Week.

5 things you should know about caring for annual plants

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So you bought annual plants in a container at your local florist, garden center or home-improvement store.

Annual plants – such as petunias, geraniums and begonias that complete their life cycles in one year – pose perennial challenges once you bring them home.

Here are five things you should know about caring for your annuals:

1. You have to add nutrients: Your plant didn’t come in nutrient-rich soil. Rather, it’s a potting mix that includes peat moss. This mixture is inert, meaning that it doesn’t contain the nutrients found in soil. So you have to add the nutrients by applying fertilizer on a regular basis.

2. Fertilizer is soluble, so you have to keep adding it: Regular watering of your annual plants will wash out the added nutrients if the container has drainage holes on the bottom.

3. Don’t add too much fertilizer: One of the ingredients in fertilizer is salt. Too much fertilizer – and with it, too much salt – can damage plant roots. The salt in the fertilizer will remove whatever moisture is left in the roots and burn them.

4. Cut the amount in half: Whatever dosage the fertilizer manufacturer recommends, consider cutting the amount in half and fertilizing every time you water. This way you have less of a chance of burning the roots, and your plant gets a continual supply of nutrients rather than peaks and valleys.

5. Give them a pinch: Remove the old blooms and pinch a plant’s tips, which will force out new growth. An occasional light trim will keep a plant bushy and blooming.

With proper care, your annual plants will bloom beautifully for you this summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How the lily became a symbol of Easter and other floral facts about the holiday

Photo: Matt H. Wade
Photo: Matt H. Wade

Numerous accounts identify her as Mrs. Thomas Sargent, a resident of Philadelphia who visited Bermuda in the 1880s. Smitten by the lilies she saw there, she brought lily bulbs home with her.

She gave some of them to a local nurseryman named William Harris, “who began growing them, forcing them into spring bloom, and selling to other florists,” writes Leonard Perry, an extension professor at the University of Vermont. “Many began buying this flower for Easter, as they do today, with it symbolizing the Resurrection.”

“Forcing” bulbs – as we described in this post about hyacinths – is the means by which light and temperature can be manipulated in order to control the rate at which a plant grows. In most parts of the United States, lilies naturally would bloom in the summer – weeks after Easter.

Some other facts about Easter lilies:

  • Flowering and green houseplants (46 percent) account for the biggest chunk of Easter/Passover floral sales. Lilies (52 percent) account for most flowering houseplant sales. (aboutflowers.com)
  • Lilies are considered highly toxic to cats. The Society of American Florists recommends keeping lilies out of the reach of cats as ingesting even small amounts of the plant can cause kidney failure. Lilies do not pose a problem for other pets or humans. (aboutflowers.com)
  • In the home, Easter lilies prefer moderately cool temperatures (recommended 60 to 65 degrees during the day, slightly cooler at night). They thrive near a window in bright, indirect natural daylight. (Texas A&M Agrilife Extension)
  • Pennsylvania is among the states that produce the most potted Easter lilies. (Texas A&M Agrilife Extension)

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 easy ways to get a jump on spring

The days are getting longer, the sun is getting brighter, and everyone is looking to shake off cabin fever. Spring is almost here, but you can get a jump on the season by bringing bright color and natural beauty into your home.

Here are some easy and cost-effective ideas to get you started:

1. Blooms: Nothing says spring quite like flowering plants. Violets, begonia, kalanchoe, cyclamen and Phaleonopsis orchids are all easy care and just need a home near a bright window for cheerful blooms over an extended period.

Bulb plants such as hyacinths, daffodils and tulips offer an added bonus. In the fall, you can plant the bulbs outside so that they deliver a splash of color next spring.

2. Think green: Green foliage plants add oxygen and humidity back into the air that we breathe and remove some impurities. Rejuvenate and dust off your houseplants. Better yet, pick up a new plant to replace one or two that are tired or to fill a bare corner or tabletop. Add a new basket or ceramic pot cover to add color and enhance your décor.

3. Common scents: Candles aren’t just for the fall and winter holiday seasons any more. Vanilla and lavender are two of the most popular scents, but you’ll find plenty of fresh, clean fragrances and styles of candles that have increased in popularity and are perfect for year-round use. Try a fresh linen or spring floral scent.

4. Bring the outdoors in: Trees and shrubs are just starting to bud. Trim a few branches and bring the outdoors inside to force open the blooms in a vase. Some good choices are forsythia, pussy willow and flowering cherry or crabapple stems, each of which produces colorful blooms.

Becoming more popular are curly willow and red twig dogwood branches. Although these branches do not have visible flowers, they look great in a vase and give texture when you add a few fresh-cut flowers. When you’re at the florist, be sure to pick up floral preservative to add to the water.

5. Front and center: Don’t forget about the front door and porch. Hang branches or a nice door piece for instant spring. Bulb plants, pansies and primrose all do well on a porch or patio. You may have to cover them or bring them inside overnight in case of frost or low temperatures. A cheerful front door will put a smile on your face and on those of your neighbors.

6. Treat yourself: Studies show that flowers are a great weapon against the morning blahs, boost energy and workplace productivity, and improve emotional health. So pick up a mixed handful, a weekly special or even just a few loose stems of your favorites.

Use hairspray to preserve your holiday wreath

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A natural Christmas tree eventually loses its needles, but giving it daily drinks of water will dramatically slow the process.

Unfortunately, you can’t do the same with a natural Christmas wreath.

But here’s the next-best thing: seal in the wreath’s moisture using hairspray, which acts like glue and holds the needles on.

To avoid any messes, do the spraying before you hang the wreath on a door, window or wall.

The result will be a wreath that looks shiny, green and full throughout the holiday season.

 

 

National Poinsettia Day is Dec. 12 and other facts about the most popular holiday plant

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We typically think of the North Pole when it comes to Christmas, but the most popular holiday plant originates with our neighbor to the south.

Poinsettias are native to Mexico and were introduced to the United States in 1825 by Joel Roberts Poinsett, who was the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

In fact, Poinsett’s death in 1851 is commemorated every Dec. 12 as National Poinsettia Day.

Some other facts:

  • The colored parts of poinsettias aren’t flowers but bracts (leaves).
  • Poinsettias have been called the lobster flower and flame leaf flower.
  • Poinsettias are not poisonous, to humans or pets.
    • An Ohio State study found that a 50-pound child who ate 500 bracts (leaves) might have a slight tummy ache.
  • Ninety percent of all poinsettias are exported from the United States.

Sources: www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/poinsettia

 

We talk turkey and other Thanksgiving ideas on Fox 43

If you’re Fox 43 Morning News and you want to talk about Thanksgiving flower and gift trends, you know that Barry Spengler is happy to oblige.

Barry, Royer’s vice president of operations and a regular guest on Fox 43, shared ideas for centerpieces, giftware and hostess gifts with Heather Warner. You can view the segment by clicking here.

Photos from Barry’s appearance:

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Feed me, Seymour

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A little while back, a customer purchased cut hydrangeas from one of our stores. A brunch was being held in honor of her mother-in-law, and the customer was making hydrangea centerpieces for the occasion.

We placed a special order for the South America-grown flowers, so we knew they were as fresh as could be. Yet the customer was back in our store within 24 hours, her hydrangeas having wilted.

We replaced them so that her needs were met, but in the meantime we recut the original flowers and put them in water with cut-flower food. Within hours, they looked gorgeous again.

The moral to this story? If you’re going to work with cut hydrangeas – lots and lots of consumers are these days, and with good reasons – then don’t skimp on flower food.

Garden feel
Hydrangea flowers have big heads – a single one can be 4 to 8 inches wide – and make a bold statement with great ease. Just plop them in any kind of water-holding container (canning jars are popular) and they look terrific, bringing a garden feel indoors.

Clearly, hydrangeas are popular these days: You’ll find lots of evidence on Pinterest, the online bulletin board. In fact, we incorporated them into a number of our arrangements and deliver loose hydrangeas to our stores a couple of times each week.

Once you get the flowers home, make certain that they have plenty of water that has been mixed with flower food. You can purchase packets of food from your local florist; mix one packet per quart of water.

Hydrangeas represent a great value because you don’t need many of them to make a big impression and, with proper care, they last a long time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mums the word year-round

Many of us decorate porches and patios with hardy mums in the fall. But a little bit of loving and some attention to the calendar can help you get the most out of your mums and even keep them blooming in a garden for years to come.

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If you planted mums in the ground back in the fall, then the summer months are important in their growth cycle.

Pinching: By July 15, you should pinch the top growth back 1 to 2 inches. This will ensure that your mums bloom in the fall rather than during the summer.

Feeding: From spring through July, nourish your mums twice a month with an all-purpose garden fertilizer mixed in water. Stop feeding in August.

Controlling pests: Aphids are the most common pests that afflict garden mums. These are small soft-bodied insects about the size of a pinhead. They range in color from green to yellow to black. They make their livings by sucking the sap out of tender new growth. To control them, spray an all-purpose insecticide or insecticidal soap on the plants once a week for a couple of weeks. Take care not to spray plants in direct sun or when the temperature is above 90 degrees.

Now, if you are thinking about planting your potted mum for the first time, here are some steps to take:

• Be sure to water your potted mums daily as warm days will make them thirsty. At the same time, too much water can damage the roots; provide drainage in decorative pots or baskets.

• It’s best to plant the mums in October so their roots have time to grow before cold weather sets in.

• Once the mums are planted, water them thoroughly a couple of times each week through mid-November. This will encourage the roots to grow deeply. The deeper the roots, the stronger the plants will be.

• In late spring, cut the plants down 6 to 8 inches above the ground. This will give you bushy, compact plants with lots of flowers. As spring gives way to summer, follow the instructions above relative to feeding and pinching.