“The findings show that people who lived with flowers in their homes for just a few days reported a significant decrease in their levels of stress and improvements in their moods.”
One-third of people are stressed every day; women are particularly affected, with one in four of them experiencing stress multiple times daily.
“Our findings are important from a public health perspective,” said lead researcher Erin Largo-Wight, associate professor in the university’s department of public health, “because adding flowers to reduce stress does not require tremendous effort to generate a meaningful effect.”
The Society of American Florists offered these tips for using flowers “to help relax and rewind”:
Experience flowers: Walk into your local florist and take a look around. Just the sight and smell of the natural beauty of flowers will put you at ease. Ask your florist to show you what’s in the cooler so you can learn about new varieties, colors and design styles.
Find peace: If you are having a bad day when it seems like nothing is going right, try flowers in soothing, tranquil colors, such as blues, lavenders and pale greens. Place a small arrangement on your nightstand or in your bathroom, so you can experience the stress-relieving benefits of flowers right before you go to bed, and right when you get up to start your day.
Help others: Sometimes the best way to relieve stress and the pressures of the day, is to do something nice for someone else. Here’s an idea: Go to your florist and buy two bouquets. Keep one for yourself, then take the other bouquet and “petal it forward” to a stranger on the street. You’ll be amazed at the reaction to your random act of kindness.
Give yourself some joy: One great way to reconnect with joy and feel less stressed is to surround yourself with simple things that make you feel happy and loved, like a colorful bunch of flowers or a blooming plant. Flowers have the power to open hearts, and when your heart is open you are more likely to focus on the positive points in your day.
Be a friend: Do you have a friend or loved one who could use a boost? Have flowers delivered unexpectedly to their door, and watch their ordinary day become extraordinary. It will make you smile, too.
Color your world: Color therapists say colors really do affect our moods. The happiest color? Orange. It promotes optimism, enthusiasm, and a sense of uplift. Choose orange flowers — roses, gerberas, lilies, ranunculus, alstroemeria, tulips — to put on your kitchen counter or your work desk, and see your mood soar.
Pepper your house with small doses of calm: When bringing home flowers from your florist, have a couple of small vases and containers available so you can place a few flowers in different parts of your living space. You’ll be amazed how many small arrangements you can get out of a single bunch of flowers, and you’ll have constant reminders to “stop and smell the flowers.”
The 2018 research from the University of North Florida builds on other university studies suggesting that flowers can help make people happy, strengthen feelings of compassion, foster creativity and boost energy.
Valentine’s Day often is described as the flower industry’s version of the Super Bowl.
It’s the No. 1 holiday for florists, similar in size to the Christmas season but playing out in a much shorter schedule.
In 2022, 22 percent of Americans bought fresh flowers or plants as gifts for Valentine’s Day, according to the Society of American Florists. Roses comprised 83 percent of those purchases, with red roses the top seller by far.
Just as the victorious football team’s most devoted fans will celebrate for days after the big game, the recipient of Valentine’s Day roses reasonably can expect to get a week or longer out of them by taking some simple steps.
KEEP ROSES COOL
Keep them away from a heat source, such as a vent or direct sunlight. While you are sleeping, you can place them in an unheated room or garage before putting them back on display in the morning.
KEEP ROSES WATERED
If roses arrive 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 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, leave it alone as it will have some preservative left in it.
If roses arrive 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 ROSES DON’T OPEN
Within a day or two, your roses should begin to open. If not, 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.
In one significant way, the Valentine’s Day/Super Bowl analogy falls short of the goal line.
Because unlike the football game, the best outcome for Valentine’s Day is when everyone – florist, giver and recipient alike – emerges a winner because those beautiful flowers lasted so long.
For all of its exploration of the galaxy, the space program has accrued many benefits right here on earth. Thanks to NASA, we know that houseplants can purify the air in our homes and workplaces.
NASA originally focused on finding ways to purify the air in orbiting space stations. A 1973 space mission identified 107 volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that were emitted by the synthetic materials inside the spacecraft. It was clear that tightly sealed buildings, whether orbiting in space or on the ground, could cause health problems.
Sick building syndrome
Back on earth, spurred by the energy crisis of the 1970s, the building industry focused on making old and new structures more energy efficient. Without intending to, they also paved the way for trapping pollutants – or what is often called “sick building syndrome.”
Three of the pollutants found in spacecraft – benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene – also are present in homes and offices, emitted by everything from building materials to furnishings to office equipment. Air-tight buildings conserve energy and reduce heating and cooling costs, but they also trap these pollutants.
NASA found that certain houseplants, because they are good at absorbing gases, could remove indoor pollutants. Researchers suggested using one potted plant per 100 square feet of home or office space to improve indoor air quality. One study found that philodendron, spider plant and golden pothos removed 80 percent of the formaldehyde that was introduced into a sealed chamber.
If you want to improve the air quality of your space, you might consider bringing home some of these commonly recommended plants:
1. Heartleaf philodendron
2. Elephant ear philodendron
3. Cornstalk dracaena
4. English ivy
5. Spider plant
6. Janet Craig dracaena
9. Golden pothos
10. Peace lily
11. Selloum philodendron
12. Chinese evergreen
13. Bamboo or reed palm
14. Snake plant
15. Red-edged dracaena
Sources: sunsethillsfoliage.com, coopext.colostate.edu
For the holidays, the song says, you can’t beat home sweet home.
But while the sunshine of a friendly gaze can warm your heart, home also is where you can find practical solutions to Christmas complications.
Take hairspray, for instance.
You can spray it on nail polish to make it dry faster as you get ready for the office party, or on wrapped presents to make them glossy and stand out.
Our favorite holiday hack, however, is the power and punch hairspray can give to your Christmas wreath.
A wreath’s round shape and evergreen composition are why it is a symbol of eternal life. Evergreen trees have long been revered for their ability to survive winter.
Of course, even a fresh wreath will become dry over time. A cut Christmas tree will lose needles, but you can slow the process by giving it daily drinks of water.
That’s not possible with a wreath. Instead, you can seal in the wreath’s moisture with hairspray. It acts like glue and holds the needles on.
For best results and to avoid messes, spray the wreath outdoors before you hang it on a door, window or wall. Hang it on the outside of a door (it can get cooked if placed behind glass) and out of direct sunlight.
If you want to be happy in a million ways, the song says, for the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home.
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.
Did You Know?
The colored parts of poinsettias aren’t flowers but bracts (leaves).
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.
Poinsettias are commercially grown in all 50 states. For instance, the 20,000 poinsettias that Royer’s receives each year are from Lancaster County.
Ninety percent of all poinsettias are exported from the United States.
Keeping your poinsettia looking great this Christmas takes two easy steps, but did you know with a few more steps you can have a wonderful poinsettia next Christmas as well?
When the surface of the soil is dry to the touch, water the plant.
Keep the poinsettia in a room with temperatures between 60 and 72 degrees. Keep the plant out of hot and cold drafts, such as those from a heating vent or open door.
When leaves begin to drop, let dry slightly between watering.
In late spring (early May) cut back plant to 6 inches, shake free of soil and repot in new potting soil, then resume regular watering. Fertilize with a 30-10-10 fertilizer twice monthly. Stop fertilizing November 1st until December 30th.
Place outdoors in a warm sunny location when the temperatures are consistently over 60 degrees.
Pinch the tips of new shoots when they reach 6 to 8 inches long until late July. Continue to fertilize every two weeks.
Bring indoors before cold nights (early September) and place indoors in full sun. Three to six hours of sunlight is needed.
In order for poinsettias to bloom, they must have 14 hours of uninterrupted darkness each day for 40 days (late September through October). Place in a dark place such as a closet or cover with a bag from early evening and remove the next morning so that the plant is in total darkness.
When #6 is followed, your poinsettia will bloom at Christmas, but remember, it only takes 10 minutes of light per day during the time it was dark and your plant won’t bloom until January or February.
Royer’s Flowers & Gifts has donated $11,400 to six organizations in support of women’s causes.
Family-owned Royer’s earmarks $10 from every sale of its Admiration arrangement for these donations.
This year’s recipients and the amount of their awards: Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, $2,500; YWCA York, $2,500; Water Street Mission, Lancaster, $2,500;
Women in Need Inc., Chambersburg, $1,500; Girls Who Code Central PA, $1,350; Girls Who Code Berks County, $1,050.
“This year, Royer’s is celebrating the 85th anniversary of our founding by my grandmother Hannah Royer,” said Tom Royer, president and CEO of Royer’s Flowers. “Mom Royer, as she was known, is our daily inspiration and a symbol of the importance and value of empowering girls and women.
“Our loyal customers make these contributions possible, for which we are grateful. Congratulations to this year’s recipients for the meaningful work they do.”
Royer’s Flowers & Gifts will show its appreciation to military veterans by giving them free patriotic bouquets on Nov. 11.
The bouquets – featuring a red carnation, a white carnation and a blue bow – will be available in-store only at each of Royer’s 16 locations in Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties.
“We’re grateful for the dedication and sacrifice of the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces,” said Tom Royer, president and CEO of family-owned Royer’s. “It’s our honor to recognize veterans in this way.”
Non-veterans may purchase the bouquets for $2.20 each.
Royer’s Flowers & Gifts will collect holiday cards and coloring pages for service members and veterans throughout November as the company continues its decade-long affiliation with the American Red Cross “Holidays for Heroes” program.
Items may be dropped off at any Royer’s store during normal business hours. Free coloring pages can be downloaded at royers.com.
The Red Cross offers these guidelines for preparing cards:
Use generic salutations: “Dear Service Member” or “Dear Veteran”
Be thoughtful with messages, expressing reasons why you are thankful for the service members/veterans; if you have a personal connection, such as a family member who served, consider adding that
Try not to be overtly religious, but messages such as “Merry Christmas” or “God Bless You” are acceptable
Do not include inserts such as glitter, photos, business cards
Do not include personal information such as telephone number, address or email