Archive for the ‘Cutting Flowers’ Category

Freesia refracta

Common name: Freesia, Grandma’s Freesia, Common Freesia

Family: Iridaceae

Synonymous: Freesia hurlingii
Gladiolus refractus
Gladiolus resupinatus
Montbretia odorata
Montbretia refracta
Nymanina refracta
Tritonia refracta
Waitzia odorata
Waitzia refracta

Freesia refracta

Freesia refracta

Distribution and habitat: Freesia refracta is native to the the winter rainfall region of South Africa where it is found growing in sandy or stony soils amongst dune scrub or at forest edges, usually in light shade. It is a relatively common species of the dry interior valleys of the Western Cape. Freesia refracta was widely naturalised in mild climates being introduced as a garden plant.

Description: Freesia refracta are herbaceous plants which grow from a corm 1–2.5cm (0.4-1 inch) diameter, which sends up a tuft of narrow, strap-like leaves 10–30cm (4-12 inch) long and a sparsely branched stem 10–40cm (4-16 inch) tall bearing a few leaves and a loose one-sided spike of flowers with six tepals. They have fragrant narrowly funnel-shaped flowers that bloom facing upwards because their stems have the unusual habit of turning at right angles just below the bottom flower. This causes the upper portion of the stem to grow almost parallel with the ground. The flowers start to bloom in succession from the base to top of the inflorescence.
Freesia refracta flower is cream with a gold throat. This is the most sweetly scented and has cultivars in pink, red, purple, beige, gold and pure white.

Houseplant care: Freesia refracta corms are easy to force into bloom. Start planting freesia in late summer or early fall for winter or early-spring blooms.
After the flowers have faded, it is important to cut off the flower head but not the green stalk. Allow the foliage to die back naturally as the plant produce new offsets.

Light: Place Freesia refracta in bright light spot, but out of hot afternoon direct sun. This plant will appreciate some cool, direct morning sunlight.

Temperature: Keep Freesia refracta plants in cool room with temperatures ranging between 16-18°C (60-65°F) and moderate humidity while they are growing and flowering. Blooms will last for weeks if kept at a maximum of 18°C (65°F).
Freesia refracta plants need a mild winter temperature of around 10°C (50°F).

Water: Water well through the growing season but cut back during flowering time. Stop watering altogether once the foliage dies down and dries up. Do not overwater because it will cause the corms to rot.

Feeding: Feed the Freesia refracta plants every two weeks, beginning with the first show of flower buds till the end of flowering. Use a high-potassium liquid fertilizer diluted by half.

Potting and repotting: Choose a shallow pot (at least 8cm (3 inch) deep – approximate three times the height of the corm) with drainage holes in the bottom. Fill the pot loosely with potting mix. In early autumn, set Freesia refracta corms 5cm (2 inch) apart, pointed end up. Do not press the corms into the mix, keep the potting mixture loose so the roots can grow through it easily. Top corms with 2.5 cm (1 inch) of additional potting mix. Place the pot in a bright, warm location on temperature around 27°C (80°F) and keep the potting mixture barely moist until new growth appear in about 8 weeks. When shoots reach about 5cm (2 inch) tall, move the pot to a cooler room with about 16-18°C (60-65°F) in a bright window for a couple weeks until flower buds form. Turn the pot every couple days for even growth. When in full bloom, keep freesias in a bright location out of direct sun to prolong the bloom.

Freesia refracta corms will not bloom a second time indoors. They do produce offsets that can be planted. After flowering, allow the foliage to die back naturally, cut off the stems, then remove and store the offsets in a dry place. Alternatively, the clumps can be left in their container undisturbed for up to 3 years or until they become crowded when they should be divided in late summer. Freesia refracta will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle in the spring.

Gardening: In zone 8 and colder, plant Freesia refracta in the spring rather than in autumn. These bulbs will not survive outside in regions colder than zone 9 as they are frost tender and need protection in very cold climates.

Location: Place Freesia refracta in a sunny location, preferably one that receives morning sun and afternoon shade for the strongest stems and best flower production.

Soil: Freesia refracta require planting sites that drain well. These plants do not thrive in soggy soil. Amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the soil level 5-8cm (2-3inch) for improved drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available.

Dig holes and plant the corms 5cm (2 inch) deep and 8cm (3 inch) apart. Position the corms with the pointy end facing up. After planting, water well to settle the soil around the bulbs. Roots and sprints will form in a few weeks depending on soil and air temperatures.
After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; do not cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. In warm climates leave the bulb clumps undisturbed for up to 3 years or until they become crowded and then divide them in late summer. In colder areas, lift corms after the foliage dies down, store them over the winter and replant in spring when danger of frost is past.

Irrigation: Water well through the growing season but cut back during flowering time. Stop watering altogether once the foliage dies down and dries up.

Fertilising: A liquid fertiliser can be applied as soon as the first growth appears above ground.

Winter storage: Later in the summer the leaves will yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy. Foliage many be removed at this point. Freesia refracta will rest (remain dormant) for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.
Cut off all remaining foliage and stalks after lifting. Discard all corms which appear diseased. Dust the corms with a fungicide and an insecticide. Pack them in wooden creates or cardboard boxes containing layers of dry wood shavings, sand or sawdust and store them in a sheltered place dried and with a minimum of 10°C (50°F). Plant the corms again as indicated above.

Propagation: Grow Freesia refracta from seed or corms planted in early autumn. It is preferable to purchase fat, thick corms in the autumn or early winter to plant them. Fresh seed germinates readily in 4 to 5 weeks. Some plants flower in their second season, most in their third. Freesia refracta is free-flowering, sets seed freely and seeds itself pretty freely too, and, with the production of cormels, a pot will be filled with plants in 2 to 3 years. Clumps are best lifted and divided every three years.

Problems: Protect Freesia refracta against aphids, mites and thrips as they can transmit viral diseases to which freesias are very susceptible.

Slugs and snails can also damage the leaves and a fungal dry rot attacks the corms.

Cutting flowers: Snip a few flowers for vase arrangements, as the plants will not be hurt. Freesia refracta flowers typically last 4 to 12 days, depending on their care, their maturity at the time of harvest and the environmental conditions in which they are displayed. If the buds on the lateral (branching) stems develop and open, the blooms generally will not be as large, be as colorful or last as long as the blooms on the main stem.
For best results, place Freesia refracta flowers immediately into a nutrient solution formulated especially for bulb flowers. Use a standard flower-food solution if a bulb-flower-specific solution is not available. Prepare the flower food solution with cold, non-fluoridated water. Fluoride can inhibit bloom development and opening and cause flower and leaf tip burn. Change the nutrient solution in vase every other day or so and check daily the water level. When changing the nutrient solution in vase, recut the stems at least 1cm (0.4 inch) to ensure effective water uptake. Also, protect these flowers from sources of ethylene gas emanated by ripening fruit, decaying flowers and foliage, automobile exhaust and tobacco smoke.
Display the Freesia refracta floral arrangement out of direct sunlight and away from air/heat vents. Remove florets as they fade. Mist blooms daily and place the flowers in the coolest room at night.

Purchasing list: Buy cut Freesia refracta when the first bud on each stem is just beginning to open and at least two additional buds are showing color. If the flowers are cut too tight, many buds may not open.

Check inflorescences, stems and leaves for bruising, browning, yellowing, mold and rot. Choose corms that are firm – not soft or mushy. Do not buy any corms that are sprouting.

Note: Freesia refracta is a species much used in hybridation.
The fragrance of Freesia refracta is incomparable in that it contains a cheerful bouquet of peppery zing and floral freshness projected at the right intensity, a delicious aroma that radiates for a long distance. High in linalool, a major component in all freesia varieties, it emits a refreshing, floral woody aroma with a subtle citrusy-terpenic note. But even within the species there are differences: the white flowers tend to smell more spicy, the colorful ones greener with the sweetness of crushed leaves and grass. The yellow flowered breeds “Gold Flame”, “Aladdin” and “Rijnveld Golden Yellow” emit volatile compounds to abundance, while some others such as “Rose Marie”, “Volcano” and “Bleu Heaven” are only noted for their flamboyant appearence rather than their scent.

Availability: Freesia refracta are sold as container plants, cut flowers and dormant bulbs for summer bedding.

Toxicity: All parts of the Freesia refracta are poisonous if ingested.

Uses and display: The flower stems habit of Freesia refracta make them lovely to look down into in a garden setting and ideal for arrangements. These plants are grown indoors in pots or in gardens in mild climates. In garden, Freesia refracta plants are attractive to bees, butterflies and birds. They look best in a massed display and are excellent cut flowers appreciated as long living vase flowers and for their fragrance. This plant is a great favourite for cottage gardens, borders or anywhere around the garden. It makes a wonderful pot plant that can be enjoyed on a sunny patio or sunk into the garden during its growing season or just for spring and removed and stored dry during summer or it can be grown permanently outdoors in pockets of the rock garden.

Height: 15-30cm (6-12 inch)
Hardiness zone 8a-11

Freesia refracta Freesia refracta - flowerFreesia refracta - cultivars

Bulbs, Corms & Tubers, Cutting Flowers, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hybrid Tea Roses

Hybrid tea is an informal horticultural classification for a group of roses. It is the oldest group classified as a modern garden rose. They appear in many shades and hues and are thoroughly reliable, enduring much cold with ordinary protection, developing luxuriantly great masses of flowers that possess wondrous fragrance.
Hybrid Teas are the result of crosses between the Hybrid Perpetual and Tea Roses. They partake the hardiness of perpetuals and the beauty and delicacy of the Tea Roses. The foliage is deeper green and more highly toned with bronze and brown that of the Hybrid Perpetuals. The flowers appear with the same freedom as those of the Teas, affording a season of almost perpetual bloom. Hybrid Tea flowers are well-formed with large, high-centred buds, supported by long, straight and upright stems. Each flower can grow to 8-12.5cm (3-5 inch) wide. Some of the most remarkable specimens of the whole Rose family belong to this group and for years enthusiastic growers have been introducing new varieties. The fact that their flowers are usually borne singly at the end of long stems, makes them popular as cut flowers. A signature of hybrid teas is the long, pointed buds that open by slowly unfurling.

Plants will grow anywhere from 1-2m (3-6 feet) tall, depending on the variety and the growing conditions.

Recommended Hybrid Tea cultivars:
Rosa ‘Chrysler Imperial’ is a strongly fragrant, dark red hybrid tea rose cultivar. It is stock parents ‘Charlotte Armstrong’ (cerise pink) and ‘Mirandy’ (dark oxblood red). The elegantly tapered buds open into high-centered blossoms with a diameter of about 11–13cm (4-5 inch) and can have up to 45-50 petals (which is a high number for a hybrid tea rose) with a rich, deep, velvety red color. The cultivar flushes in a chronological blooming pattern throughout its local season, starting in late spring until fall. The long-stemmed rose flowers are long lasting and showy and make excellent cut flowers.
The rose bush reaches 75 to 200cm (30 to 72 inch) height and a diameter of 60 to 120cm (24-48 inch). The shrub has an upright form with very thorny canes and semi-glossy dark green foliage. It is not a cold hardy rose (hardiness zone 6b through 9b) and needs good sun exposure. Without good air circulation it is susceptible to mildew and blackspot, particularly in cool climates.

Rosa Chrysler ImperialRosa Chrysler ImperialRosa Chrysler Imperial

Rosa ‘Double Delight’ is a hybrid tea rose cultivar bred. The plant grows about 90 to 150cm (35-59 inch) high, blooms repeatedly and has strongly fragrant white flowers with dark red edges. The flowers have up to 30 petals. Hardiness zone: 5b through 10b.

Rosa Double DelightRosa Double DelightRosa Double Delight

Rosa ‘Elina’ (synonyms ‘DICjana’ and ‘Peaudouce’) is a light yellow Hybrid Tea. The variety was developed from the cultivars ‘Nana Mouskouri’ × ‘Lolita’. Its mildly fragrant flowers are high centered, reach an average diameter of 15 cm (6 inch) and appear in flushes throughout the season. Their colour is weather dependent and can reach from lemon to ivory. The rose bush has dense, glossy foliage and usually grows to a height of 100 to 120 cm (3947 inch) and a width of 75 to 80 cm (30-31 inch). ‘Elina’ is only moderately winter hardy (USDA zone 7b), but excepting in humid conditions Mildew very disease resistant.

Rosa ElinaRosa ElinaRosa Elina

Rosa ‘Angel Face’ is a large flowered hybrid tea rose. It is a cross between (‘Circus’ × ‘Lavender Pinocchio’) × ‘Sterling Silver’. In certain sunlight it is possible to detect a faint silvery sheen as a hint of its parentage. The fragrance of this rose is a sweet fruity scent. It is as appealing as its lavender colour. It has 8cm (3 inch), lavender ruffled-edge blossoms, edged in an attractive deeper ruby. Often grow on single stems as well as in clusters.
‘Angel Face’ is an upright, bushy plant with lustrous foliage and a neat 1m (3 feet) tall and -wide form. It is a good rose to use as a cut flower, both for its beauty and its deep fragrance. It is a compact growing plant, and blooms abundantly. It does best in full sun and any well-drained soil. It is hardy in zones 5-9.

Rosa Angel FaceRosa Angel FaceRosa Angel Face

Rosa ‘Mister Lincoln’ is a large flowered (Hybrid Tea) bush Rose. This tall red rose is renowned for its strong fragrance (in still air it can be detected up to 3m (10 feet) away) and its deep, uniform red color. It grows to about 1.2m (4 feet) high and 1m (3 feet) across. The leaves are mat dark green. The buds are deep red and open up into large, velvety red, double blossoms. It has typically around 30 to 35 petals per flower. It is a vigorous plant that performs well in all climates. Mister Lincoln is hardy to zone 5-9.

Rosa Mister LincolnRosa Mister LincolnRosa Mister Lincoln

Rosa ‘Madame A. Meilland’ (called Rosa Peace) is a Hybrid Tea Rose with large flowers of a light yellow to cream color, slightly flushed at the petal edges with crimson-pink. It is hardy and vigorous and relatively resistant to disease, making it popular in gardens as well as in the floral trade.

Rosa PeaceRosa PeaceRosa Peace

Rose ‘Jeanne Moreau’ is a white or white blend Hibrid Tea Rose. It has a strong, lemon fragrance. The flower has 90 to 100 petals with an average diameter 12cm (5 inch). The bloom opens into a beautiful rounded rosette. It blooms in flushes throughout the season.
These roses are 80 to 90cm (32-35 inch) tall. The vase life of these Roses is between 3 to 7 days depending of environment conditions. They are great for wedding floral work.
Hardiness zone is 6b through 9b.

Rose Jeanne MoreauRose Jeanne MoreauRose Jeanne Moreau

Rose ‘Paradise’ (synonyms ‘Burning Sky’) has striking pink-mauve blooms with each petal flushed with deep rose pink. The colour changes with the temperature. The mauve crimson edging is the strongest in hot weather. However, the lavender lilac hue fades slightly in the sun. Its parentage ‘Angel Face’ Rose x ‘Swarthmore’ Rose. This lovely old Hybrid Tea is renowned as being one of the most free-flowering bush roses as from one bush, trim a whole bucket full of long-stemmed, perfect flowers and still leave some on the bush. ‘Paradise’ flowers have more than 25 petals and the graceful, long pointed buds open slowly with beautifully shaped petals that curl back at the edges, making this rose always very showy and eye-catching. There is a light fragrance, especially on a warm day. The canes are quite thorny. The growing habit is upright and sturdy. The bush produces lovely thick, strong shoots from the crown, the foliage is dark matt green and the new growth is dark, dark red. Grows up to 1.5m (5 feet) in height. Its hardiness zone is 5 through 11.

Rose ParadiseRose ParadiseRose Paradise

Rosa ‘Friendship’ is a deep pink hybrid tea rose with strong fragrance. Parentage: ‘Fragrant Cloud’ X Miss All-American Beauty. The bloom is 15cm (6 inch) in diameter and has 25 to 35 petals. This Rose has very large, double, borne mostly solitary or cluster-flowered, in small clusters, cupped-to-flat bloom form. Blooms in flushes throughout the season. The flower has large, long sepals forming ovoid buds.
Hardiness zone 7b and warmer. It can be used for beds and borders, cut flower or garden. It is a vigorous Rose, its flowers dropping off cleanly. This Rose require spring pruning: Remove old canes and dead or diseased wood and cut back canes that cross. In warmer climates, cut back the remaining canes by about one-third. In colder areas, probably have to be pruned a little more than that. Requires spring freeze protection .

Rosa FriendshipRosa Friendshiposa Friendship

Rosa ‘Moonstone’ has white or white blend, pink edges petals. Parentage: Crystalline X Lynn Anderson. The flowers are ivory white with a fine, delicate pink edging. It has mild, spice, tea fragrance. There are 34 to 42 petals with a flower diameter of 12cm (4.75 inch). Large, double, borne mostly solitary, exhibition, high-centred to flat bloom form. Blooms in flushes throughout the season.
It is hardy to zone 7b and warmer. It can be used for beds and borders, cut flower or garden. It prefers dry climates and is very disease resistant. It require spring pruning: Remove old canes and dead or diseased wood and cut back canes that cross. In warmer climates, cut back the remaining canes by about one-third. In colder areas, probably will have to be pruned a little more than that. Requires spring freeze protection. Can be grown in the ground or in a container (container requires winter protection).

Rosa MoonstoneRosa MoonstoneRosa Moonstone

Choosing the right Hybrid Tea Rose: The key, as always, is to choose a Hybrid Tea variety suited for the climate and zone where they will be planted. Although if summers are humid, look for mildew resistance. Where summers are dry, look for heat tolerance and vigorous root systems.

Gardening: Most Hybrid Tea cultivars are not fully hardy in continental areas with very cold winters (below -25 °C). This, combined with their tendency to be stiffly upright, sparsely foliaged and often not resistant to diseases, has led to a decline in Hybrid Tea popularity among gardeners and landscapers in favor of lower-maintenance “landscape” roses. The Hybrid Tea remains the standard rose of the floral industry, however, and is still favored in small gardens in formal situations.

Position: Plant the Hybrid Tea Rose preferably sunny position or partial shade, in the fall or spring.

Soil: Hybrid Tea Roses require a soil that is loose and rich in organic matter. These Roses like a slightly acid soil (6.0 – 6,5 pH).

The Rose plants that come bare root should be removed from their packing around the roots and soak them in a bucket of water for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. Dig a hole large enough to spread out the roots, usually 30-45cm(12-18 inch) in diameter. Make a cone-shaped mound with soil, in the center of the hole and spread the roots out over the mound. As with many cultivated flowers, hybrid teas are bud grafted onto hardy, disease resistant root stock. The bud union is the visible knob at the base of the plant. In warm climates the bud union should be 3-5cm (1-2 inch) above soil level. In colder climates, bury the bud union 3-5cm (1-2 inch) below ground level. This union should always be protected in cold winters. Fill the hole half way with soil and water well to remove any air pockets. Finish filling with soil and water again. Once the rose is planted can be pruned the top growth.
Space the plants 45 to 90cm (18-36 inch) apart, depending on the growth habit, and keep them weed free.

Irrigation: As with most garden plants, 3 or 5cm (1-2 inch) of water a week is usually sufficient. Of course, this depends on climate and growing conditions. Hot locations and sandy soil will need more frequent watering than cool, coastal regions. If the top 8cm (3 inch) of soil are dry, it is time to water. Water deeply to encourage roots growth. Strong, deep roots will help the roses survive periods of drought.
Water the soil, not the leaves, to prevent disease.
Mulching the Roses will help to cool their roots and conserve water. Add a 8-10cm (3-4 inch) layer of mulch in the spring, when removing winter protection. In warm climates, mulch when the leaf buds begin to swell.

Fertilise: Hybrid tea roses, being repeat bloomers, are heavy feeders and benefit from regular applications of food. Start feeding these roses once a week or every other week in early spring either a month before new growth or when the winter protection is removed. Use a balanced fertiliser or one labeled for roses. Stop fertilising about 6 weeks before first expected frost date as the plants should go dormant.

Pruning: Pruning Hybrid Teas is not unlike pruning other Rose types. If the blossoms are regularly harvested, it will actually be less pruning to be done. When selecting Hybrid Teas, there are some of the thorn-less varieties. Thorn-less varieties make pruning easier.
Prune the Hybrid Teas in early spring, before new growth. First cut out anything dead, diseased or damaged canes. Cut out scrawny, spindly canes of less than 1cm (0.4 inch) in diameter. Prune remaining stronger canes by about a third of their length, down to 30-60cm (12-24 inch). Select four to six of the healthiest looking canes to retain. Remove the rest of the canes with the lopper, cutting as close to the graft union (a knot like growth on top of the main stem, close to the ground) as possible. If there are no dead canes, choose the oldest canes to remove and newer canes to retain. Hard pruning like this encourages strong stems and large flowers. Prune to open and shape the plant and allow the plant to put its energy into fewer flowers.
When cutting roses for vase, leave a few leaves on the stem to feed the plant.
Make cuts about 0.5cm (0.2 inch) above an outward facing bud. Cuts at a 45 degree angle, so that water runs off. Always use clean, sharp pruners to prevent damaging the rose canes and spreading disease.

Wintering: Winter weather in hardiness zones 6 and below can really challenge Rose bushes, particularly the Hybrid Teas.
Stop feeding and pruning the Roses around the end of summer, to discourage tender, new growth that will suffer from winter damage. Leave the last of the flowers on, to turn into hips. The hips are the rose’s seed pods. By producing seed pods, the Rose bush feels it is done for the season and can start to go dormant.
After the first frost, thoroughly water the soil around the rose bush. Once the ground freezes the bush has to take care of itself, so give it a good soaking going into winter.
Remove all fallen leaves to prevent diseases and insects from overwintering.
After a couple of hard freezes, mound 15-30cm (6-12 inch) of compost around the crown of the plant, to protect the roots and the graft union where the rose species is attached to a hardy root stock. The graft should be at or just below the soil surface. Also, the Rose may be circled with wire and this cage stuffed with leaves or mulch.
Climbing Roses are at risk from strong, drying winds. To protect the canes of canes of climbers, either wrap the canes together bundling something like straw on the outside for insulation or remove the canes from their trellis or support and lay them on the ground. Then tie the canes together and secure them to the ground with landscape pins. Protect with a layer of mulch.

Hardiness zones 7 and 8 always stand the chance of a freeze and maybe even some snow. The graft union would benefit from protection. Mounding with leaves or a shredded mulch should suffice. However, the rule about discontinuing pruning at the end of summer holds for zones 7 and 8 too.

In zone 9 and above, where roses wold not be subject to freezing temperatures, watch for fungal diseases that can creep in with the cooler, wet weather. Since the roses are still growing and setting buds, early winter is a good time for a light feeding. Prune after the plants bloom in winter.

Remove protective mulch in the spring.

Propagation: This is usually done by budding, a technique that involves grafting buds from a parent plant onto strongly growing rootstocks. For this, a bud is removed from the parent plant and the base of the bud is inserted beneath the bark of the stem of the stalk plant from which the rest of the shoot has been cut. Any extra bud that starts growing out from the stem of the stalk plant is removed because that would bear the flower of the unwanted original kind.

Hybrid tea cultivars bred in continental areas (e.g. Canada) tend to be hardier than those hailing from more maritime regions (e.g. New Zealand).

Judging criteria of Hybrid Tea Roses: Here are the criteria Hybrid Teas are judged by. Each quality is graded on a specified number of points with the highest combined total of all points being 100.

  • Most important features: shape or form and color.
  • Then comes substance: freshness and sheen.
  • Other considerations rated: balance and proportions; size; stems and foliage.

Companion plants: Artemisia, Geranium species, Lavandula spica (Lavender) and Nepeta species work well as partners with hybrid teas.

Uses and display: Hybrid teas are grown for their blossoms, not their landscape appeal. They can work unexpectedly well in a border, especially with a low growing perennial covering their gangly stems.

Cutting flowers: Hybrid Tea Roses are used as cut flowers for their scent and beautiful and elegant shape. Harvest the Hybrid Tea Roses flower in late afternoon. Chooses rose buds that have already begun to open, but that are no more than 1/3 to 1/2 fully open. Remove all leaves that would be below the water line. Get the roses into water as soon as possible. Re-cut on an angle with clean and sharp blade at lest 2cm (0.8 inch) of stems either underwater or immediately plunge them into a vase with water. Use either a floral preservative or add a splash of a lemon soda or even a squeeze of lemon and a tablespoon of sugar to the water in the vase. Change the water whenever it starts to get dirty re-cutting again the stem. Let the cut Roses have a few hours in a cool spot out of direct sunshine before displaying them. This conditioning extends their vase life. Longevity in vase varies greatly among cultivars, usually from 4  to 12 days and is highly dependent on their growing environment; how they are handled and cared for; and their maturity.
Fragrance is often inversely proportionate to vase life: The stronger the scent, the shorter the vase life, and vice-versa. Today, most cut hybrid tea roses are bred for vase life.

If the Roses seem to be wilting, water is not able to flow through the stem. Re-cut the stem bottoms and submerge them in very warm, (not hot) water and let them sit for about an hour before replacing them in the vase.

Cutting Flowers, Garden Plants, Roses , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Zantedeschia elliottiana

Common name: Golden Arum Lily, Golden Calla Lily

Family: Araceae

Synonymous: Calla elliottiana
Richardia aurata
Richardia elliottiana
Richardia rossii

Zantedeschia elliottiana

Zantedeschia elliottiana

Distribution and habitat: Zantedeschia species are a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plants native to southern Africa growing naturally in swampy marshland, which tends to dry up during the summer months – a period of dormancy for the plants when they tend to dray off and lose their foliage. Zantedeschia elliottiana is known from horticultural sources only and is probably of hybrid origin.

Description: Zantedeschia elliottiana is a stemless plant with large, unusually arrow-shaped leaves and showy flowers. The leaves are heavily white spotted dark green, up to 28cm (11 inch) long and 23cm (9 inch) wide with 60cm (24 inch) long stalks. The inflorescence is a typical arum flower with the central erect spadix surrounded by a showy spathe. It is carried on a long stout stalk that rise among, sometimes above, the long leaf stalk. The 15cm (6 inch) long spathe is bright yellow inside and greenish yellow outside, forming an open trumpet around the yellow spadix. Flowering occurs in late spring and summer and they last over a month. The flower is occasionally followed by a spike of bright yellow berries that are attractive to birds.
It has fleshy rhizomes that run just below the surface of the potting mixture and from which fleshy feeding roots grow down into the soil.

Houseplant care: The resting period should be followed with Zantedeschia elliottiana used as indoor plants; they can provide only a temporarily display. Dormant rhizomes, however, once given suitable conditions, can be brought into new growth and can flower for many years.

Light: Provide bright light with some direct sunlight during the months when these plants have foliage. In the dormant period (usually from late spring to early autumn) keep the dried-out plants in a sunny spot in the garden or on an outdoor terrace or balcony – an ideal position as long as there is no risk of frost or very wet weather.

Temperature: When Zantedeschia elliottiana are starting into growth (usually from early autumn onward), they should be kept cool – if possible, at a temperature of 10-13°C (50-55°F) for about three months; thereafter, about 18°C (64°F) is best for Zantedeschia elliottiana hybrid until flowering is under way. While they are flowering , keep the plants at normal room temperature; temperatures above 21°C (70°F) are likely to curtail the blooming period of flowers and make the leaves wither prematurely. For rhizomes which are dormant, temperature is not an important consideration.

Watering: Water the newly potted plants or old rhizomes starting into growth after the dormant period sparingly – just enough to moisten the potting mixture throughout at each watering and allowing the top two-thirds of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. As growth develops, increase the quantity gradually until the Zantedeschia elliottiana are in full leaf. Thereafter, water the plants plentifully as often as is necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist; these are among the few plants that need constant moisture at their roots during the active growing period.
When they are in full leaf, in fact, potted Zantedeschia elliottiana can stand in saucers of water. When the plant stops flowering, reduce the amount of water gradually and stop watering altogether when the leaves become yellow and withered. Leave the dried-out Zantedeschia elliottiana in their pots for the entire rest period, whether indoors or out. An occasional brief moistening from rain will not harm the dormant plants, but they must on no account be subjected to prolonged rainfall.

Feeding : Once plants are in full leaf, apply a liquid fertiliser every two weeks and increase this to weekly dose when flowers appear, continuing until the end of flowering season.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. A single flowering-size plant can be accommodated in a 15cm (6 inch) pot, but larger slumps need either larger pots or small tubs. In the autumn, as plants start into growth, move them into pots one size larger, if necessary. When maximum convenient pot size has reached, divide up the plants for propagation.
Dry, newly purchased rhizomes can be also planted at this time, either singly in 15cm (6 inch) pots or three together in a 20-22cm (8-9 inch) pot. Place the rhizomes horizontally with the eyes facing up in pots about 5cm (2 inch) below the surface of the potting mixture.

Gardening: Zantedeschia elliottiana rhizomes can be planted in either the spring or fall in zones 9a-10. In other areas, they can be planted in the spring after daytime temperatures remain above 13°C (55°F). In areas where they are not hardy, dig the rhizomes in early fall, clean off excess soil, let dry out of the direct sun for a few days, and store them in vermiculite or dry peat moss in a cool 10-13°C (50-55°F), dry place.

Leave the leaves to withered and dry out by themselves as they provide the nutrients to allow the rhizome grow and reproduce. Forming seed takes a lot of energy from the plant, so if not intended to propagate Zantedeschia elliottiana by seed, cut the dying flowers off.

Location: Zantedeschia elliottiana should be planted in a location that gets full sun for most of the day, but some late afternoon shade, particularly in hot summer regions.

Soil: Zantedeschia elliottiana grow best in a moist, well drained soil that has been enriched with compost and other organic matter.
It can be grown as a marginal plant in water up to 30cm (12inch) deep. Use aquatic compost and a 30cm (12inch) deep planting basket.
Prepare the planting hole by mixing in compost, peat moss and bone meal. Plant the tubers horizontally, 30cm (12 inch) apart, with the eyes facing up. Zantedeschia elliottiana rhizomes should be planted 5cm (2 inch) deep. After planting, water Zantedeschia elliottiana generously, soaking the soil.

Irrigation: Zantedeschia elliottiana are bog plants, meaning they like a soggy soil or an almost constantly wet area to grow in. While it appreciates watering during the growing season it should be dried out once it has finished flowering in late summer to prepare it for its winter dormancy.

Fertilise: Fertilize monthly with a good all-purpose fertilizer when actively growing.
Keep well mulched to preserve soil moisture.

Propagation: Divide rhizomes or detach the offsets that develop around the main rhizomes for propagation. Either process is best done at the time of repotting in the autumn when they are just starting into growth. Separate the rhizome into several pieces making sure that each piece has healthy growing point. Pot single sections or a divided rhizome in a 15cm (6 inch) pots of slightly moistened potting mixture and treat them as mature plants. Plant small offsets in 8 or 10cm (3-4 inch) pots until they are bigger enough to move into bigger containers, but otherwise give them exactly the same conditions as the larger rhizomes.
It is also possible to increase Zantedeschia elliottiana number from seed. This is the easiest way to get a stock of the mixed hybrids, since they are less readily available as rhizomes than the other forms. Raising these plants from seed, however is a complicated, lengthy process which is best carried out in the carefully regulated conditions of a cool green house. It is definitely not an advisable procedure for most amateur growers. The seeds of Zantedeschia elliottiana should not be covered because they require light for germination. Sow seeds indoors in early spring and maintain a temperature in the moist growing medium of 21-24°C (70-75°F) during germination, which takes 30-35 days. The new plants will not flower for two or three years.

Problems: Zantedeschia elliottiana can suffer from cold damage, but are otherwise fairly trouble-free.
Take precautions to protect Zantedeschia elliottiana from slugs and snails.
Treatment: Use a snail & slugs bait.

The worst disease Zantedeschia elliottiana get is soft rot with Erwinia bacteria. Erwinia is a common organism in the soil, but it will rush in and attack if the plant starts to get rot. These plants may rot because: they have been overwatered or they are overstressed due to their roots getting too hot.
Treatment: Cut out rotted portions in rhizome. Dry thoroughly for a day or two then soak for an hour in a 2percent formaldehyde solution. Drain and plant immediately.

Zantedeschia elliottiana is prone to rust on leaves, stems and spent flower debris. Rust often appears as small, bright orange, yellow, or brown pustules on the underside of leaves. If touched, it will leave a colored spot of spores on the finger. Caused by fungi and spread by splashing water or rain, rust is worse when weather is moist.
Treatment: Provide maximum air circulation. Clean up all debris. Do not water from overhead and water only during the day so that plants will have enough time to dry before night. Apply a fungicide labeled for rust on affected plants.

If Zantedeschia elliottiana do not flower, move them where they can get more sunlight.

Availability: Zantedeschia elliottiana is available as potted plant in flowering period and as dried rhizomes in dormant period or even seed. Cut flowers are available in all seasons.

Toxicity: Zantedeschia species are poisonous due to the presence of calcium oxalate. All parts of the plant are poisonous, typically producing local irritation or a burning sensation in the mouth and occasionally vomiting and diarrhea.

Uses and display: These tender varieties can be displayed either as houseplants or seasonal outdoor bedding displays. Zantedeschia elliottiana can be used as marginal plant in water garden.
Zantedeschia elliottiana is used as extensive commercial production for cut flowers, being very popular and appreciated for bouquets as the beautiful flower last for over a month in vase.


Foliage – variegate
Features – flowers
Shape – upright
Height: 45-60cm (18-24 inch)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bight
Temperature in rest period – min 10oC max 13oC (50-55oF)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18oC max 21oC (64-70oF)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9a-10b

Zantedeschia elliottiana - flowerZantedeschia elliottiana - cut flowerZantedeschia elliottiana - opening flower

Bulbs, Corms & Tubers, Cutting Flowers, Deciduous foliage, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , ,

Washingtonia filifera

Common name: Desert Fan Palm, Petticoat Palm, California Fan Palm, American Cotton Palm, Cotton Palm, Washington Palm, Desert Palm

Family: Arecaceae

Synonymous: Brahea filamentosa
Brahea filifera
Neowashingtonia filamentosa
Neowashingtonia filifera
Pritchardia filamentosa
Pritchardia filifera
Washingtonia filamentosa
Washingtonia filifera var. robusta

Washingtonia filifera

Washingtonia filifera

Distribution and habitat: Washingtonia filifera is the only palm native to the Western United States. They are found in desert riparian habitats at spring-fed oases in the Colorado Desert (Low Desert) and throughout a major portion of the Mojave Desert. It is also found near watercourses along the Colorado River and several other isolated locations in Nevada. It is a naturalized species in the warm springs near Death Valley and in the extreme northwest of Sonora (Mexico) and also in Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Description: Washingtonia filifera have a short, tapered, mahogany red trunks and long, spiny leaf stalks which carry large fan-shaped leaves which are cut into about twenty segments for up to half of their spread. A distinctive feature of most of these popular palms is the fine fibres which hang from the edges of the leaf divisions.
Washingtonia filifera has an open, uncluttered look. Its grey-green leaves have a span of about 60cm (24 inch) or more. The spiny leaf-stalk are about 45cm (18 inch) long, flat and mostly green.
Washingtonia filifera produces (but not indoors) numerous branching flower clusters that project out and often downward from the leaf crown. The bisexual blossoms are white and yellow and give rise to oblong or round red-black fruit, each about a 1.3cm (0.5 inch) in diameter. The fruits of Washingtonia filifera contain a single seed, approximately 0.6cm (0.25 inch) in diameter.

Washingtonia filifera can live from 80 to 250 years or more.

Houseplant care: Washingtonia filifera is easy to grow as indoor plant. Washingtonia filifera species grow in the wild in widely different environments where they have adapted to a broad range of temperatures and another conditions.

Light: Washingtonia filifera needs bright light throughout the year, including, if possible, several hours of direct sunlight every day to ensure healthy, attractive growth. Most growth is generally made during the summer months and adequate light during this period helps to produce large leaves of good colour. If these palms get too little light, they may shed one or more lower leaves.

Temperature: Though they prefer warm or even hot rooms, these plants can tolerate occasional temperatures as low as 10°C (50°F). Washingtonia filifera can also tolerate rather dry air conditions, but they will produce larger leaves of a better colour if they are stood on trays or saucers of pebbles kept moist.
These palms will do best if they are moved to a sheltered position outdoors (a sheltered patio or courtyard is ideal) from early summer to autumn.

Watering: During the active growth period water Washingtonia filifera plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist, particularly if plants are kept close to a sunny window; but never allow the pot to stand in water.
During the winter rest period water more moderately, enough to moisten the potting mixture throughout, but permitting the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the active growth period.

Potting and repotting: Because a water-retentive potting mixture is essential for these plants, add one third rotten leaf mould or peat moss to a standard soil based mixture. For good drainage put plenty of clay-pot fragments in the bottom of the pot. Repot these palms only when their roots are active – during the active growth period. They do not like to be overpotted, so do not move them into pots one size larger until light coloured roots appear in quantity on the surface of the potting mixture. The surface of potting mixture will be densely covered with brittle roots, needing careful treatment. This should occur no more than once in two to three years. It is very important to plant Washingtonia filifera firmly, taking special care not to damage the main (thicker) roots, which are brittle; These plants are unusually sensitive to root damage.

Gardening: Washingtonia filifera is cold hardy, has a fast to moderate growth rate and it drought and salt resistant. If old leaves are not removed, they form a continuous “petticoat” from the crown all the way to the ground.
Plant Washingtonia filifera outdoors in a site that can accommodate the large head of leaves and is not directly under power lines or other structures.
Established Washingtonia filifera palms can withstand temperature down to about minus 9-6ºC (15-20ºF) frosts and freezes, recovering quickly from the damage. Palms in fast-draining soil are more cold hardy. Washingtonia filifera can also withstand extreme heat, including temperatures up to 53ºC (127ºF).

Position: Washingtonia filifera prefers exposure to full sun and even quite small specimens will thrive in full sun. It also grows well in part sun/shade.

Soil: The Washingtonia filifera requires well-draining soil. Compost rich soil is best, but it will tolerate most types of soil including loamy and sandy soil. It will also tolerate acidic or alkaline soils.
This palm is inexpensive, adapts to most soils, is easy to grow and transplant and is very hardy. Even large Washingtonia filifera palms can be successfully transplanted.

Irrigation: Once established, Washingtonia filifera is drought tolerant, but it benefits greatly with regular watering. For optimal growth, soil should be moist and have a good drainage.

Feritilising: Washingtonia filifera respond very well to fertilizer. A slow release fertilizer may be used during the growing season in the summer.

Propagation: Propagation of Washingtonia filifera is not practicable for amateur indoor gardener. Washingtonia filifera palms are normally raised from seed sown in considerable heat. Even old seeds are reported to germinate well. Germination is considered so easy that young plants may become weeds under mature palms.

Scales are a problem during the first few years of growth.
Treatment: Treat any infestation immediately with an adequate insecticide.

As the desert palm matures, the weevil becomes the main concern.
Treatment: Pick up and destroy adults. Plants with badly damaged roots cannot usually be saved. Immediately on sighting an adult weevil, drench the potting mixture with a suitable pesticide.

Root rot is a fungal disease which is a problem for palms grown in poorly draining soil.

Uses and display: Use Washingtonia filifera palm in natural and formal groupings and in large open areas.
Young Washingtonia filifera palms also can be grown in pots or tubs on decks or in indoor areas, such as conservatories or atriums that have bright light.


Foliage – green
Shape – bushy
Height: 12m (40 feet)

Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bight
Temperature in rest period – min 10oC max 24oC (50-75oF)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16oC max 27oC (61-81oF)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 8b-11

Washingtonia filiferaWashingtonia filifera - leaf stalkWashingtonia filifera - leaves

Cutting Flowers , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coelogyne cristata

Common name: Snow Queen, Angel Orchid, Coel Cristata, Coelogyne Cristata, Crested Coelogyne

Family: Orchidaceae

Synonymous: Cymbidium speciosissimum
Pleione speciosissima

Coelogyne cristata

Coelogyne cristata

Distribution and habitat: Coelogyne cristata is an evergreen epiphytic orchid that comes from cool, moist areas of the eastern Himalayas and Vietnam. It grows on trees and sometimes rocks in cold high altitude  about 1600-2600m (5250-8530 feet) moss-forests where they may experience wet summers and cold winters. Some areas may be quite bright in winter but many areas are covered in fog or cloud and sunlight is much lower. It blooms every spring, before the snow begin to melt.

Description: Coelogyne cristata has a tightly packed cluster of shiny, light green, round or egg-shaped pseudo-bulbs. Each pseudo-bulb is 2-8cm (0.8-3 inch) high and 2-4cm (0.8-1.5 inch) wide. Bulbs that have flowered gradually wrinkle and yellow. The pointed, strap-shaped, usually arching bright green leaves are 15-30cm (6-12 inch) long and 5cm (2 inch) wide. Coelogyne cristata is an unusual Coelogyne in that its 30cm (12 inch) long flower stems rise from the base of the pseudo-bulbs. Each stem carries up to eight roughly bowl-shaped blooms, up to 10cm (4 inch) across. The flower, straw-coloured in bud is entirely white, but five gold yellow lines run down the middle of the broad, three-lobed lip. The fragrant flowers generally appear in winter and early spring and each bloom last several weeks.

Houseplant care: Coelogyne cristata would definitely be the most popular and most widely grown of all the Coelogynes species. Although they are not the easiest orchids to grow indoors, the sheer number of white-and-gold blooms make the prospect of cultivating them quite tempting.

Sticky leaves are normal for this genus. New unfurling leaves are often covered with a sticky sap. It recommended to wash off the sap at some point because it can bind the flower stems that emerge. Take it to the sink to rinse them off, using tepid water.

It only flowers once per year. The bracts (which protect the new baby shoots in nature) stay on the base of shoots and flowers and as the flowers die can look untidy. The same applies to the old flower spikes. Some people prefer to prune them off but this is unnatural.

Light: Give the Coelogyne cristata bright filtered light throughout the year. Do not expose this orchid to direct sunlight.
If it is not available a spot near a window, grow lights work beautifully for these orchids. Use one warm white tube and one cool white tube under a reflector. Place orchids about 20cm (8 inch) beneath the light for 14-16 hours a day. It is also important to give them darkness at night.

Temperature: For Coelogyne cristata temperatures should not exceed 23°C (73°F). Winter ranges of 13-16°C (55-61°F) during the day and 7-10°C (45-50°F) during the night are best, but these orchids can tolerate up to 5°C (9°F) higher than the ideals.
In the summer, it is permissible to leave them outdoors in partial shade. But, if the temperature is too high, they will not bloom.

Humidity: Coelogyne cristata needs moderate to high around 70-85% during the active growth season and around 50-60% during the rest winter period. To maintain this high humidity use a humidity tray or cool room humidifier. Grouping plants also helps to maintain the moisture in the air around them.

Air circulation: Strong air movement is critically important at all times. Place Coelogyne cristata where it will enjoy plenty of air circulation. Fans are fine, but keep it away from heat or air conditioning vents.

Watering: Coelogyne cristata normally needs a winter rest period for 6 weeks to encourage flower buds. During their active growth period water these plants plentifully, keeping the potting mixture thoroughly moist at all times. During the rest period give them only enough to keep the potting mixture from drying out.
When watering Coelogyne cristata do not let water rest on pseudo-bulbs around the new growth from which flower stem arise. To avoid this risk, stand containers in tepid water below the level of the new growth for 10 minute at a time instead of watering from above.
Coelogynes have water-storing pseudo-bulbs, making them more tolerant of dry soil than wet.

Feeding: Apply foliar feed to actively growing Coelogyne cristata at every second or third watering. It should not receive any more liquid nourishment during the rest period.

Potting and repotting: Use any of recommended potting mixture for orchids. Grow these plants in pots or baskets or attach them to a slab of tree fern.
Allow plenty of space in the containers as Coelogyne cristata dislike being moved and they can usually be left undisturbed for at least four years. Repotting can be delayed by removing groups of the oldest pseudo-bulbs (the dying back-bulbs) from time to time. Use a sharp knife to cut through the rhizome and fill the empty space with potting mixture. In this way the removal of old growth makes room for the new. It should not be repotted until the pot is filled with roots. When repotting must be done, do it in spring shortly after flowering season is over.

Propagation: To propagate, cut off a piece of rhizome bearing at least one new pseudo-bulb and one growing point as well as two or three older pseudo-bulbs. Do this just before the beginning of the flowering season. The largest the section of rhizome removed the better, since small pieces take several years to flower. Pot the rhizome section in recommended orchid potting mixture with this growing point toward the centre of the small pot and water it sparingly till new growth appears.

Brown leaf tips can be caused by dry soil, dry air or tap water that contains fluoride, chlorine and salts that accumulate in the potting medium. This build up of soluble salts come from the chemicals in tap water and fertilizers.
Treatment: Use distilled or rainwater and increase humidity if the air is too dry. The excess of salt buildup in the medium which may be remedied by flushing the medium with distilled or rainwater.

These same symptoms may also be caused by root rot resulting from too much water, usually with old, broken-down medium. Root rot is indicated if roots are soft and brown and the root ball will probably fall apart as it is removed from the pot or basket.
Treatment: If this happens, it is obviously past time to repot. Since the plant is already out of the pot, take the opportunity to remove the old medium, clean up and treat the diseased portion of the plant and repot it using new medium and a clean pot.

Coelogyne cristata does not flower.
Treatment: Usually the reason that Coelogyne cristata does not flower is that it is kept too dark. Also this orchid will not flower if it kept in too hot temperatures. Provide adequate growing condition to obtain a proper flowering.

Availability: Coelogyne cristata orchids are available for sale in the winter and spring when most are in bloom.

Uses: This orchid demands to be grown into a specimen size to highlight its beauty.
Also, Coelogyne cristata has high ornamental value as a cut flower lasting for 15 to 60 days.


Foliage – green
Features – flowers, fragrance
Shape – bushy
Height: 15-30cm (6-12 inch)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 16°C (45-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10-11

Coelogyne cristata - flowersCoelogyne cristata Coelogyne cristata

Cutting Flowers, Flowering Plants, Indoor Plants, Orchids , , , , , ,

Strelitzia reginae

Common Name: Bird of Paradise, Bird of Paradise Flower, Strelitzia, Crane Flower, Crane Lily, Orange Strelitzia

Family: Strelitziaceae

Synonymous: Heliconia bihai
Heliconia strelizia
Strelitzia angustifolia
Strelitzia cucullata
Strelitzia farinosa
Strelitzia gigantea
Strelitzia glauca
Strelitzia humilis
Strelitzia ovata
Strelitzia parvifolia
Strelitzia prolifera
Strelitzia pumila
Strelitzia regalis
Strelitzia reginae subsp. latifolia
Strelitzia rutilans
Strelitzia spathulata

Strelitzia reginae

Strelitzia reginae

Distribution and habitat: Strelitzia reginae is a tufted, evergreen, acaulescent (stemless) perennial herb which occurs naturally only in South Africa: eastern coast, from Humansdorp to northern KwaZulu-Natal in coastal bush and thicket. It grows along river banks in full sun, however sometimes it occurs and flowers on margins of forest in shade. Strelitzia reginae flowers are pollinated by sunbirds, which use the spathe as a perch when visiting the flowers. The weight of the bird when standing on the spathe opens it to release the pollen onto the bird’s feet, which is then deposited on the next flower it visits.
Strelitzia reginae has been introduced into parts of central and tropical South America and is widely cultivated as an ornamental.

Description: Strelitzia reginae are clump-forming plants with big, dark green leaves on long leaf-stalk in a fan-like arrangement and strangely shaped strikingly colourful flowers. It is a large plant in the wild, but its growth is considerably restricted in a pot or small tub, where it will grow no taller than 1m (3 feet) or so. This restriction encourages early flowering.

The leathery leaves which are oblong to spear-shaped, 30-38cm (12-15 inch) long and 8-15cm (3-6 inch) wide, have sturdy, cylindrical leaf-stalk 30-75cm (12-30 inch) long. The stalk rise from sheaths in the base of the plant. These plants flowers when they are about six years old. Thereafter, they produce crested flower heads every year on stalks about 1m (3 feet) long that rise from the axils of the lower leaves in spring and early summer. The remarkable flower head consists of a 20cm (8 inch) long, boat-shaped bract held in a nearly horizontal position, from which a succession of three-petaled flowers emerge during the course of several weeks. These erect blooms, each up to 15cm (6 inch) long, give the flower head its crested appearance.
The boat-like bract is green, through it is something flushed with purple or red; the flowers are bright orange; the tongue-like projections are dark blue or purple. Individual flowers last for about a week, but a single boat-shaped bract will produce several flowers in succession. When not in flower, the plant still has a striking appearance due to the large glaucous leaves which resemble those of banana plants.

Houseplant care: Apart from its need for sunlight along with a cool winter rest period, this exotic plant is not particular difficult for the amateur indoor gardener to grow successfully. It is a slow growing plant that make it perfect for growing indoors.

Light: Give these plants bright light with at least three or four hours a day of direct sunlight. They will not flower if grown in inadequate light.

Temperature: During the active growth period Strelitzia reginae will do well in normal room temperatures. They need a long cool rest period during the autumn and winter months, however the temperature should be kept at around 13°C (55°F).

Water: During the active growth period water moderately, giving enough at each watering to make the potting mixture moist throughout but allowing the top couple of centimetres (0.8 inch) or the potting mixture to dry out well before watering again.
During the rest period give just enough to prevent the mixture from drying out completely.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the active growth period only.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move young plants into containers one or two size larger each spring until the maximum convenient pot or tub size (probably 20-30cm (8-12 inch)) has been reached. Thereafter top-dress the plants with fresh potting mixture in spring.
Apart from the annual top-dressing, do not disturb mature, flowering plants. They are likely to stop flowering for a year or two if subjected to any sort of displacement.

Garden Culture: Winter hardy to zones 9 to 11, Strelitzia reginae is an easy plant to grow in the garden. They are, however, very tolerant plants and will thrive in most soils and can survive with very little water once established. The plants are also wind resistant and grow well in coastal gardens.

In cold climates, it is better to grow them in containers that can be moved indoors when freezing temperatures are expected. When temperatures rise above 21°C (70°F) outside, place your plant in a semi-shaded location with good air circulation.

Remove dead leaves and flowers as they occur.

Position:  Strelitzia Reginae needs full sun to light shade with warm temperatures, however it will grow best when it receives a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight a day, but they should have bright light all day. They like a mild climate with evenly distributed rain during the year.

They will produce the most flowers when planted in bright sun, but the best-looking foliage when planted in shade, in which case, there will be fewer flowers.

Soil: They will grow in most types of soil as long as it is well-drained, but they do best in rich acid soil. In other soils, rotted manure or a time-release fertilizer should be added to the hole when planting as these plants will use much nourishment from the soil.

Dig a hole at least twice the size of the rootball. At a minimum, make the hole 0.6m (2 feet) in diameter and 0.3m (1 feet) deep. It also is a good idea to finish with the hole 2.5 or 5cm (1-2 inch) recessed so that a watering basin is formed.

Irrigation: Tropical Strelitzia reginae plants do well on a grass watering schedule. Basin or flood irrigation is recommended because it helps keep the salt from water from accumulating around the roots. Furthermore, deep watering will encourage the plant to develop deeper roots, making it tougher when the weather gets hot and dry.

Fertilising: The plants should be fertilized monthly. Slow release chemical fertilisers are recommended and varieties that also acidify the soil will help the plant look greener.

Propagation: Propagate Strelitzia reginae in spring by divining old, overcrowded clumps or by gently separating a section with two or three leaves with some roots attached from any mature plant. Pot the small section in a 13-15cm (5-6 inch) pot of soil-based potting mixture and place it in a warm spot in bright filtered light (but no direct sunlight) for six weeks. During this period do not feed the small plant and water it sparingly, allowing a full half of the potting mixture to dry out completely between waterings. By the and of the sixth week the roots will have become active in the new pot, so treat the plant as recommended for a mature specimen. It will normally flower in two to three years.

Strelitzia reginae can also be grown from seed. This is an extremely slow process, though. It involves a wait of possibly as long as 10 years before any flower are produced.

Scale and mealybug insects sometime attack Strelitzia reginae. Look for them from time to time near the midrib on the underside of leaves, which is where they are usually found.
Treatment: Use an adequate pesticide.

Flowering problems: Usually needs at least four years to begin flowering, but it is not uncommon for blooming to take 10 years or more. To encourage the plant to bloom, allow it to become root-bound. Instead of regularly repotting it, keep the plant snug and happy by adding just a layer of fresh potting soil each spring.
Also might be considered supplemental lighting. While the foliage looks healthy, to produce flowers that bloom in late winter or spring, bird of paradise needs as much bright light in fall and winter as it does in spring and summer.
Finally, evaluate your fertiliser schedule. Strelitzia reginae needs water-soluble fertilizer every other week in spring and summer. Too little fertilizer can inhibit flowering; too much can produce lush foliage at the expense of flowers.

Cutting flowers: Strelitzia reginae flowers and leaves are long-lasting in flower-arrangements. Flowers can be picked as soon as the first signs of colour show on the bill of the bud. They will then progressively come out and will last for up to a month if the water is changed regularly and they are kept in a well-lit situation. The leaves also last well.

Note: It is an relative of bananas trees.

Uses: Strelitzia reginae is highly-prized and widely cultivated as an ornamental.

Strelitzia reginae are the only plants from its genus that can be grown indoors. They can be potted as indoor plants and they make a showy and non-messy plant beside swimming pools.

Strelitzia reginae is widely used in landscaping as an architectural plant and focal point. Also, it is grown for its spectacular flowers and are used all over the world for cut flowers in exotic floral displays.


Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – upright

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 16°C (50-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Height indoors: 90-120cm (36-48 inch)
Height outdoors: 1.2-1.8m (4-6 feet)
Spread: 60-90cm (24-36 inch)

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Strelitzia reginae Strelitzia reginaeStrelitzia reginaeStrelitzia reginae Strelitzia reginae - seedsStrelitzia reginae

Cutting Flowers, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Polianthes tuberosa

Common name: Tuberose, Ivory Flower

Family: Asparagaceae

Polianthes tuberosa

Polianthes tuberosa

Distribution and habitat: Polianthes tuberosa is a night-blooming plant thought to be native to Mexico. It is not known to exist naturally in the wild today. In its natural habitat it prefers sites with friable, sandy soil with organic matter mixed in.

Description: Polianthes tuberosa is a plant related to the agaves. It is a herbaceous perennial tuber bulbous plant with erect leafy stems and broadly linear leaves. It grows in elongated spikes up to 45 cm (18 in) long that produce clusters of fragrant waxy white flowers that bloom from the bottom towards the top of the spike. The tubular flowers, 2.5 to 5cm (1-2 inch) long, occur in pairs, up to 30 flowers in a spike at the ends of the stems. It has long, bright green leaves clustered at the base of the plant and smaller, clasping leaves along the stem.

Bulbs that have bloomed once will not bloom again. Discard such old bulbs and replant the younger lateral crowns. Only mature bulbs will produce flowers. These younger offsets should flower in two years time prodded they are lifted and strip off the tiny bulbs attached to them after the first growing season.

The heady and heavily scented blooms are produced in late summer or early autumn and are as versatile and long lasting in the garden and container as they are when cut for the vase. The flowers are perhaps the most powerfully scented of all flowers and will continue to produce and exhale perfume long after it has been picked. Several blooms can appear on each stem. The flowers have a mild fragrance during the day and a strong fragrance during the night and last about a month.

Houseplant care: Polianthes tuberosa is suitable for containers growing as indoor plant.

Consider adding a plant support if the floral spike gets too heavy after bloom stalks form. Cut off the foliage once it yellows and dies back naturally in later summer or early fall as the plant is going dormant during the winter. A new cycle should be started in spring.

Light: Provide bright light for Polianthes tuberosa to successfully flower. It grows best with at least five to six hours of sunlight each day.

To force the plant to flower in winter, proper lighting in essential and should be used artificial lighting to ensure the plant receives the light it needs. It will need the equivalent of 16 hours per day of natural light. Turn lights on only during the daytime when the plant would receive natural light if it were planted outdoors.

Temperature: These plants require a temperature ranging between 21 and 24°C (70-75°F). Do not allow the temperature to drop under 15°C (59°F).

Water: Water the pot from the top until the excess moisture drains from the bottom and into the drip tray. Empty the drip tray. Water Polianthes tuberosa when the top 1 to 3cm (0.5-1 inch) of potting mixture just begins to feel dry to the touch.

Gradually reduce the watering in autumn when the foliage starts to yellow.

Feeding: These plants will respond well to regular applications of liquid fertiliser every three weeks throughout the growing season.

Potting and repotting: Pot the flowering bulb in a 15cm (6 inch) pot size filled with well draining potting mixture in mid-winter to early spring. Sow the Polianthes tuberosa bulb so the top of the bulb is 10cm (4 inch) beneath the soil surface. Water generously right after planting to soak the bulbs. Be sure that your pot has drainage holes in the bottom to prevent waterlogged roots. The planted bulbs will full bloom in roughly 4-6 months.

The bulb has to be repotted every several years in clean pots and fresh potting mixture. Repot these plants in spring when new bulbs can be separated for propagation proposes.

Garden Culture: Polianthes tuberosa are slow-growing, summer-flowering bulbs that need four to five months of warm weather and abundant moisture to bloom. In tropical climate, flowers can appear anytime from spring through fall.

Polianthes tuberosa are warm climate plants, but will tolerate light frosts in the garden. The bulbs should be bought in late winter and early spring to get them on time for planting. After flowering, do not remove the foliage as it continues to feed the bulb for next year’s growth. This plant will become dormant over the winter. The leaves can be removed only once they have yellowed completely late in fall. These bulbs can remain outside in places with light freezes if well mulched. Prepare the bulbs for dormancy period by gradually reducing water (in cold regions, about three weeks before the first frost is expected). At this point, if digging up the bulbs for the next season is intended or needed, do so now. Allow the bulbs to dry in the open air and shade for several days, then place them in a paper bag or cardbox box filled with peat moss for winter storage indoors. Provide a cool and dry storage area for winter.

If grown in pots or containers, bulbs may be started indoors in early spring, bringing them outdoors to a sunny location after the threat of frost has passed.

Position: These plants should be grown in full sun to part shade. They need full sun for about 6-8 hours during the day.

For areas that reach summer highs temperatures of 35°C (95°F) or higher, plant these bulbs where they will receive partial shade during the hottest part of the day. Extreme heat can shrivel Polianthes tuberosa flowers or prevent buds from opening.

Soil: Polianthes tuberosa grows in fertile and well drained moist soil. Amend the soil at the planting site with a 10cm (4 inch) thick layer of compost to increase the nutrient content and drainage of the soil.
Plant the bulbs 8 to 10cm (3-4 inch) deep and 15 to 20cm (6-8 inch) apart and water in well. The flowers will appear about 90-120 days after planting, usually late summer or early autumn.

Irrigation: Water generously and regular as the Polianthes tuberosa is establishing itself. It requires frequent deep watering from the appearance of the first growth throughout the growing season. Do not overwater, as Polianthes tuberosa rots easily. Polianthes tuberosa bulbs should receive water on a weekly basis.

Cease watering as the plant turns yellow in autumn when the bulbs go dormant.

Fertilising: Polianthes tuberosa flourish with generous feeding during the active growth phase. Add complete plant food once growth first appears and repeat fertilizing every 4-6 weeks.

Adding a thin layer of organic mulch over the surface of the soil helps prevent weeds and provides nutrients for the Polianthes tuberosa bulb.

Dormancy period: Bulbs can be left in their pots or dug up and stored, in a dry place and over-wintered. Also, within its hardiness zone, Polianthes tuberosa bulbs can be left in ground over winter.  The parent bulb will form daughter bulbs and once these are thumb size, they can be grown next season. After the flowers are harvested, the leaves are allowed to die down, and the pots are put in a dark place until the Spring Equinox.
To care for Polianthes tuberosa bulbs in the winter, dig them up after foliage dries out.  Allow to air-dry in the sun for about a week or two and store in a paper bag or box with peat moss in a cool location. They like storage temperatures ranging between 21 and 24°C (70-75°F) – but at least keep them in a place that is completely dry and the temperature is above freezing.

Propagation: Clumps can be lifted in late winter or early spring for propagation proposes.

Polianthes tuberosa reproduce fast and with time clumps will have several mature bulbs capable of blooming. Divide the tubers in early spring. Pull the bulb-like new tubers from the main tuber, separating each plant into several new ones. Plant the tubers immediately after dividing. Same operation is applied for both plants left in place over the winter and for bulbs dried and stored indoors during the winter.

Cutting flowers: Removal of the flowers for house display will not harm the plant. Cut flowers for vases when two or three of the lower blooms are opened fully. Remove spent flowers from the spike to prolong the life of remaining cut blooms. With care, this flower will last up to fourteen days. Use flower food solution. Trim off the very top buds to maintain the flower’s straight length and to avoid the stem bending towards the light. Flowers with large stems last longer than those with smaller stems. Usually marketed as entire stems but individual flowers are sometimes utilized.

Problems: No particular pests or diseases.

Protect Polianthes tuberosa from snails and slugs.
Treatment: Use a snail & slugs bait.

Polianthes tuberosa bulbs are prone to rotting, so do not let them become waterlogged. Also, dry the roots thoroughly before storing.

Uses: Polianthes tuberosa is used as cutflower, feature plant or mixed border.
Place the plants near patios, walks, decks or other living space so that the fragrant flowers may be enjoyed to the fullest. In gardens these flowers will attract butterflies.

Known for their pungent fragrance, these flowers are popular at weddings and in cut flower arrangements.

Height: 90cm (35 inch)
Spread: 15cm (6 inch)

Hardiness zone: 8a-10b

Polianthes tuberosaPolianthes tuberosaPolianthes tuberosa - cut flowers

Bulbs, Corms & Tubers, Cutting Flowers, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , ,

Asparagus setaceus

Common name: Common Asparagus Fern, Lace Fern, Climbing Asparagus, Ferny Asparagus, Brides Bouquet Fern, Asparagus Fern

Family: Asparagaceae

Synonymous: Asparagopsis setacea
Asparagus plumosus
Protasparagus plumosus
Protasparagus setaceus

Asparagus setaceus

Asparagus setaceus

Distribution and habitat: Asparagus setaceus is a vine plant in the genus Asparagus. It is native to Southern Africa and is grown elsewhere as an ornamental plant. It has become an invasive species in several locations where it has been introduced.
This species is found in native forests and scrub areas and is also found to occur in open coastal areas.
Despite its common names, this plant is not a true fern, but has leaves that resemble one.

Description: Asparagus setaceus is a scrambling perennial evergreen herb with tough green stems, which may reach 1m (3 feet) in length. It has wiry stems with an upright habit and and a flattened spray of bright green branchelets displayed horizontal. The leaves are actually tiny leaf-like cladodes, which arise in clumps of up to 15 from the stem, making a fine, soft green fern-like foliage. Occurring from spring to autumn, the small greenish-white bell-shaped flowers are followed by small green berries, which blacken with maturity. The flowers have no ornamental importance.

Houseplant care: Asparagus setaceus is a fast grower and are easy to grow indoors.

Light: Bright light is essential for Asparagus setaceus. But never subject them to direct sunlight, which can badly scorch the small leaves.

Temperature: Asparagus setaceus do well in normal warm room temperatures and they also tolerate temperatures which may be as low as 13°C (55°F).

Watering: During the active growth period water plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture moist, but never allow the pot to stand in water. During the rest period give the plants only enough water to keep the potting mixture from drying out. If the mixture dries out entirely at any time loss of foliage is the result.

Feeding: Apply liquid fertiliser every two weeks throughout the active growing period.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move the plant every spring into pots one size larger until they are in the largest convenient pot size. After this size has been reached, top-dress annually with fresh potting mixture. Keep the level of the potting mixture well bellow the rim of the pot because the thick asparagus roots tend to force the mixture upward.

Propagation: Propagation in home is usually done by dividing overcrowded clumps just as growth starts in spring. Remove any excess mixture from the tuberous roots and separate them with a sharp knife. Plants separated clumps in 8cm  (3 inch) pots of soil-based potting mixture and treat them as mature specimens.

Although, Asparagus setaceus can be raised from seed. Seed germinates in well warm room, but the growth is slow.

Problems: Problems appear usually as result of incorrect treatment.

Yellowing and falling leaves usually indicates conditions that are too hot and too dry.

Overwatering the plant or allowing it to stand with the roots in water may cause root rot.

Recommended varieties:
Asparagus setaceus ‘Nanus’ is a dwarf form.

Asparagus setaceus ‘Robustus’ is an expecially viguros form of Asparagus setaceus. These plants do not climb when young, but as they mature they begin to send out climbing stems which can be as much as 1.5m (5 feet) long. These stems are often bare at first and purple in colour, but they will eventually produce the characteristic tiny, bright green branchlets.

Companion plants: Three species of Asparagus arranged together into an attractive hanging basket: trailing – Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myers’ and upright – Asparagus setaceus.

Toxicity: The fruit (berries) of Asparagus setaceus are toxic.

Uses: Asparagus setaceus looks lovely in porch pots and hanging baskets during the spring and summer months and makes a stunning indoor plant.

The attractive foliage is also used in floral arrangements.


Foliage – green
Shape – climbing and trailing

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in active growth period – min 13°C max 24°C (55-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Asparagus setaceusAsparagus setaceusAsparagus setaceus - flowers

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Cyrtomium falcatum

Common name: Japanese Holly Fern, Holly Fern, House Holly Fern, Japanese Netvein Hollyfern

Family: Dryopteridaceae

Synonymous: Polypodium falcatum
Aspidium falcatum
Dryopteris falcata
Polystichum falcatum
Phanerophlebia falcata
Cyrtomium yiangshanense

Cyrtomium falcatum

Cyrtomium falcatum

Distribution and habitat: Cyrtomium falcatum is a species of fern native to eastern Asia. It grows from crevices, coastal cliffs, stream banks, rocky slopes, and other moist, stable areas.
This species was naturalised in Australia, Lord Howe Island, North America and Hawaii.

Description: Cyrtomium falcatum became a popular indoor plant, being very decorative, long lasting fern with leaflets that look more like holly leaves than like the division of fronds. It is an evergreen fern. The base of the plant is a rhizome thickly covered with very furry scurf which also covers most of the 10-15cm long leafstalks that rise from the rhizomes. Borne on these short stalks are leathery fronds up to 60cm (24 inch) long, which are held stiffly erect and each frond is divided into several pairs of 10cm (4 inch) long, oval, glossy, coarsely toothed, dark green leaflets. The spores cases that appear in small patches on the undersides of leaflets are green at first but gradually turn light brown.

Houseplant care: Cyrtomium falcatum is a tough plant for growing indoors because it tolerates dry air, low light and gas fumes better than most other ferns.

Light: Provide Cyrtomium falcatum with bright filtered light. These ferns can tolerate quite poor light, but only for short periods of time. If not in permanent bright position, they should be moved into a better light for a few hours periodically – every second day, if possible.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable and these ferns can also tolerate temperatures down to 10°C (50°F). In warm position – above 21°C (70°F) they should be given extra humidity by being standing the pots on trays of damp pebbles.

Watering: In a normally warm position these ferns do not have a winter rest period. Water them moderately enough to make the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. If the indoor temperature ever fall below 12°C (54°F) for more than a few days, water sparingly allowing half of the mixture to dry out between waterings.

Feeding: Apply a liquid fertiliser at half strength every two weeks to actively growing plants.

Potting and repotting: Use a potting mixture composed of half leaf mould or coarse peat moss. In early spring plants may be moved into pots one size larger, but only if roots have filled the current pots. These ferns should never need larger pots than 15-18cm (6-7 inch). After this size has been reached, top-dress annually with fresh potting mixture.

Garden Culture: Cyrtomium falcatum is a popular ornamental plant in warm climate gardens. This evergreen fern become deciduous in colder climates.

Groom when foliage becomes frayed or unsightly. Ferns will soon regrow after being cut back, but avoid cutting into or damaging the crown.

Position: Cyrtomium falcatum should be placed in the garden in partial to full shade. It tolerates more sun than many ferns.

Soil: Grow in moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil. Where marginally hardy, plant in the shelter of a rock and mulch the crown with straw in winter.

Irrigation: This ferns grow in a moist but well drained soil. Cyrtomium falcatum needs to be watered quite frequently, every 1-2 weeks ; if there are abundant rains, diminish watering, which should be done only when the soil is dry.

Fertilising: It thrives with occasional fish emulsion or liquid fertilizer.

Companion plants: Cyrtomium falcatum fern can be grown outside in part shade as filler in shady beds with Hosta, Impatiens and Caladium species or with other ferns as a contrast in color and texture.

Propagation: In early spring old plants can be pulled apart for propagation. The rhizome of Cyrtomium falcatum is hidden in the root ball, but it can easily be broken into sections. A section of rhizome with three or four fronds attached will normally establish feeding roots quickly if it is planted just below the surface level of an 8cm (3 inch) pot of standard potting mixture well moistened. The rhizome section should have 5-8cm (2-3 inch) of root already attached to it; if it does not, the potted section will need to be enclosed in a plastic bag or propagation case for two or three weeks. Otherwise, all that is necessary is to put the pot in bright filtered light, watering just often enough to make the potting mixture barely moist, until the new growth begins to appear. Cultivation needs of the new plants thereafter are the same as those of mature plants.

Cyrtomium falcatum is relatively easy to grow from spores. The ripe spores can be collected on a piece of paper placed under spore bearing leaves. Sow spores on damp peat moss in late winter. They germinate best at a temperature of 20-21°C (68-70°F). The growing medium should be kept constantly moist and covered with glass or plastic. Once new plants are large enough to handle they can be transplanted into individual containers.

Cyrtomium falcatum if overwater can develop root rot.
Prevention: Empty the plant saucers after watering, to avoid stagnant water to damage the roots.

Fungal spots can be a problem in damp conditions.
Treatment: Treat the plants with a suitable fungicide and provide aeration for the plant by removing any dead fronds.

Scale insects attack sometime this plant.
Treatment: Use an adequate pesticide.

Recommended varieties:
Cyrtomium falcatum ‘Rochfordianum’ is one of the most compact varieties. Its fronds are only about 30cm (12 inch), but has large leaflets.

Uses: This unique fern is an excellent potted specimen as indoor plant but it is a popular porch plant as well. It best suitable in woodland or shade gardens. It makes an attractive border around large trees or shrub beds.

In arrangements, long lasting Cyrtomium falcatum fern fronds can be used as background for more colourful flowers.


Foliage – green
Shape – upright
Height: 45-60cm (18-24 inch)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in active growth period – min 10°C max 24°C (50-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 7a-11

Cyrtomium falcatum RochfordianumCyrtomium falcatum Rochfordianum - sporesCyrtomium falcatum Rochfordianum - new frond

Cutting Flowers, Ferns, Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , ,

Convallaria majalis

Common name: Lily of the Valley, Conval Lily, Liriconfancy, May Lily, Mugget, Word Lily, Lady’s Tears, May Bells, Mayflower, Our Lady’s Tears, European Lily of the Valley

Family: Asparagaceae

Synonymous: Convallaria latifolia
Convallaria linnaei
Convallaria mappii
Convallaria transcaucasica
Polygonatum majale

Convallaria majalis

Convallaria majalis

Distribution and habitat: Convallaria majalis is a sweetly scented woodland flowering plant that is native throughout the cool temperate of Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe and in the southern Appalachian Mountains in the United States. It can be found growing wild in dried and young forest heaths, ridges, forest margins, rocky ridges, banks, broad-leaved forests or coppices.

Description: Convallaria majalis is a herbaceous perennial plant that forms extensive colonies by spreading underground stems called rhizomes. New upright shoots are formed at the ends of stolons in summer, these upright dormant stems are often called pips. These grow in the spring into new leafy shoots that still remain connected to the other shoots under ground, often forming extensive colonies. The stems grow to 15–30cm (6-12 inch) tall, with one or two leaves 10–25cm (4-10 inch) long, flowering stems have two leaves and a raceme of 5–15 flowers on the stem apex.
The flowers are white tepals (rarely pink), bell-shaped, 5–10mm (0.2-0.4 inch) diameter and sweetly scented; it flowers in spring. The fruit is a small orange-red berry 5–8mm (0.2-0.4 inch) diameter that contains a few large whitish to brownish colored seeds that dry to a clear translucent round bead 1–3mm (0.03-0.1 inch) wide. Plants are self-sterile, and colonies consisting of a single clone do not set seed.

Convallaria majalis flowers will bloom for about 4 weeks, then can be brought back into bloom the next year. They definitely are more suited to cold climates and will bloom best after a hard cold winter.

Garden Culture: After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; it makes a nice green ground-cover. Only the leaves that yellow later in season may need to be removed for esthetic maintenance.
Convallaria majalis will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle in spring. Lifting and storage is not necessary. However if desired lift and divide during the late autumn months while dormant. Store temporarily in moist peat moss or replant immediately. They will take a few years to become established and are best not disturbed.

Position: Plant the pips or rhizomes in a place where they will receive partial to moderate shade.

Soil: Find a location where the soil drains well. If the soil is not well drained can be amended with the addition of organic material to raise the level 5-8cm (2-3 inch) to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available.

Soak the pips in tepid water for a couple of hours before planting. The pips will absorb water, swelling and becoming hard.
Before tucking the pips into the planting medium, snip the last 3cm (1 inch) off the roots. This process will encourage the roots to uptake moisture and start the growing process. Plant Convallaria majalis so the tops barely poke above the soil surface – 5 to 8cm (2-3 inch) deep. Pips can dry up if left out of the ground (and out of a humidity controlled cooler) for more than a week. Space the plant about 20cm (8 inch) apart.
After planting, water generously, soaking the soil to settle it around the roots. Top growth will begin to form quickly, usually in just a week or so, depending on the temperature.

Irrigation: Provide supplemental water, as needed in the spring, summer and fall. Occasional deep waterings are better than frequent lighter drinks.

These plants like soils that provide average amounts of moisture, but will not be happy in water logged settings. They are not drought resistant.

Fertilising: Apply a generous mulch of composted leaf mould around the base of the plant in autumn.

Pots, barrels, tubes & urns: Convallaria majalis flower early in the season. For ongoing colour use large colored containers where to place along with these plants some small pots with Incarvillea delavayi (Hardy Gloxinia) and dwarf hardy Canna species (Canna Lilies).
Wait till the foliage turns yellow and withered, then cut it back. Do not pull the leaves off with hands. Use sharp scissors or pruners to avoid damaging the rhizome. Put the dormant plant in a cool, dark spot giving it just enough water to prevent the rhizomes from drying out completely.

Position: Place the potted plants in light to medium shade.
Indoors, a north or east facing window is a good choice. When in bloom, move the potted Convallaria majalis to a spot where can be displayed its tiny bells and sweet fragrance.

Potting mixture: Fill the containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting mixture will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes so the soil does not become waterlogged.

Before planting, soak the pips in tepid water for a couple of hours. Snip the last 3cm (1 inch) off the roots. Pot 5-6 rhizomes together for an attractive planting. Place the rhizomes horizontally, root-side down and top with just enough soil to cover the rhizome.

Watering: Water the plants moderately at regular intervals.

Feeding: Feed monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half while plant is growing. Do not feed while dormant.

Houseplant care: These types of lilies are easy to force into bloom indoors in the middle of winter. Potted flowering pips can be grown indoors for an enjoyable scented pot. Keep the pot in a warm, bright spot and keep the soil lightly moist. Blooms should appear in 6-8 weeks. To encourage these plants blooming for as long as possible indoors, keep them in a cool room as the heat speeds up biological processes. After the plants finished their bloom, replant them outdoors to enjoy them for years to come.

Propagation: Convallaria majalis grow from creeping rhizomes that spread quickly under the soil. Divide these plants when they become crowded in autumn or spring. Cut the rhizomes apart, leaving some roots attached to each piece.
They can grow from seed as well.

Seed, pops (rhizomes) and potted plants are available at nurseries and garden centres.

Cutting flowers: When in bloom, feel free to cut the small bell-shaped flowers for bouquets. This will not hurt the plants and the bouquets will last for three to six days. Cut the flowers when have three or four bells open at the base. The flowers are most fragrant when they are fresh.
Check the water level daily and add warm flower-food solution as needed. Recut stems every two or three days to ensure effective water uptake. Remove any damaged or drying florets. Display the flowers in cool location, out of direct sunlight and away from heat vents.

Aphids are the biggest problems.
Treatment: Use an insecticide if aphids are noticed.

Snails and slugs can be a problem.
Treatment: Spread snail pellets.

Toxicity: All parts of the plant are highly poisonous, including the red berries. Keep away from children and pets.

Note: The rhizome rooting system of the lily of the valley forms a fibrous network underground. Each year, new shoots appear above ground. Because the plant’s root system grows deep in the ground, it cannot be cleared out by simply pulling on the leaves even if some rhizomes are attached. That deep running network of roots and rhizomes can spread to the point of being classified as invasive.

Uses: Convallaria majalis is an excellent ground cover and can be grown under trees in shade. The flowers make good cut flowers. These flowers are some of the best for small, scented bedside bouquets. Also is suitable for pots, barrels, tubes & urns placed to windows or doors to bring some their scent inside.

Height: 15-30cm (6-12 inch)
Spacing: 22-30cm (9-12 inch)
Hardiness zone: 4a-8b

Convallaria majalis Convallaria majalis - open flowerConvallaria majalis - bouquet

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