Nothing makes you smile quite like fresh flowers. They can instantly lift your mood, your day, your home, everything! Whether it’s a gorgeous bouquet of roses, a pretty posy from a friend, magenta peonies fresh from the garden, or that impulsive bunch of loveliness you grabbed – just because, you want to make sure your flowers last as long as possible.
Caring for your flowers
To ensure you get the most enjoyment out of your flowers, follow these easy care guidelines:
- For cut flowers in a bouquet it is suggested to cut 1-2cm from the end of the stem and place stems in an upright container (preferably glass) with fresh room temperature water and flower food. Be sure to cut the stem at an angle to allow the flowers the best chance to take up water
- Ensure no leaves or greenery is sitting below the water line in the container or vase as they can cause bacteria to form in the water which will shorten the life of the flowers
- For flowers arranged in floral foam, you should maintain the saturation level high of the floral foam brick to ensure longevity. The floral foam has a fresh flower food added to it to assist in nurturing the flowers
- Flowers are best kept at room temperature between 18 – 22 degrees (Celsius). Flowers are also best displayed away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling and kept away from direct drafts, direct overhead ceiling fans or vents
- Do not keep flowers on top of televisions or microwaves as they radiate heat and can cause flowers to dehydrate. Some fruits can also release tiny amounts of ethylene gas which can prematurely age flowers, so it is best to keep flowers a distance away
- A cool, shaded place is best for tulips to maximize their life span in the vase
- When changing the water, ensure the container is thoroughly cleaned out and new flower food is included
- Every few days, remove the flowers from the container or vase and re-cut the stems. Remove 1-2cm from the bottom of the stem (again on a slight angle) and be sure to clean the vessel before refilling it with room temperature water and adding flower food
- As some flowers will last longer than others, carefully remove spent blooms, especially if other flowers in your display are still alive
- Keep your plants or planted arrangements out of drafts and any direct sunlight. When it comes to water it’s about finding the right balance – do regularly water but don’t over water
- If your roses start to droop after a few days, try re-cutting the stems and standing them in tepid water
How Flowers are Delivered
Lilies are commonly delivered in bud form to protect the flowers in transit as their petals are very easily bruised. By being delivered in this fresh bud form, it will also allow the bouquet or arrangement a much longer life span with the recipient being able to watch as the flowers bloom over the days after the delivery.
If it is a requirement for the buds to be in bloom, the process of opening the blooms can be sped up by placing the lilies in a warmer room environment.
Lily pollen can stain clothing and furniture, so carefully remove the anthers (the orange pollen-coated tips at the end of the stamens) as each of the heads bloom, ensuring to handle the flower heads delicately so as not to bruise the petals.
Lilies can be toxic to cats.
Roses may be delivered with the outer petals, known as ‘guard’ or ‘protective’ petals still attached. These outer petals can appear to be dark tipped or bruised, have charred edges or a wilted appearance. The petals are kept on by the farmers and florists to protect the inner rose in transportation. On arrival, remove the outer petals carefully as this will allow the inner rose to bloom.
Temperature: Phalaenopsis enjoy much the same temperature range as we do. The minimum temperature at night is 18 to 20 degrees , while the average daytime temperature should be around 24 to 26 degrees. Occasional deviations will not harm your plant, except when it is in bud – chilly temperatures may cause the plant to stop budding.
Light: Phalaenopsis will flourish with normal lighting conditions, indirect sunlight being the most advantageous. Caution should be used when placing a Phalaenopsis in direct sunlight due to the fact that its leaves burn easily from too much exposure to the sun.
Water: Water often enough to keep continuous moisture just below the surface of the medium, but be cautious of over-watering. Watering once a week is normally sufficient to keep your plant healthy and happy.
Humidity: Phalaenopsis enjoy moist air, with a humidity level of 55-75% being ideal. Placing your plant over a tray or dish of water can increase moisture. Separate the pot and tray with pebbles or small stones to raise the height of your plant and ensure that it does not sit directly in the water.
Feeding: Good results may be obtained by using a high-nitrogen fertilizer year-round at 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. Feed your plant once a month. In this instance, less is more. So be sure not to overdo it.
Re-potting: Plants should be repotted every other year and, because they grow upwards without spreading, can go back into the same sized pot. A medium-grade wood bark works well with the base of the bottom leaf at the surface of the medium. Water sparingly until new roots are well established.
Note: When the last flower drops, cut your flower spike halfway down the stem. Continue caring for it and wait for a possible re bloom
- Over watering is the most common problem with terrariums, but on the flip side they are living and therefore require enough water. We offer a general indication of the water requirements for each terrarium but this must be used as a guide only to take into account seasonal changes and depending on where the terrarium sits in your space, it may need more or less water.
For open terrariums, as long as no water is pooling at the bottom of the container then your terrarium is either doing fine or needs some water. Very quickly the leaves of your plants will droop if they are not receiving enough water. If the soil is dry, add some water. Use the ‘spray’ function of the water spray bottle to dampen the soil, this may take quite a few sprays.
The ‘stream’ function may seem more efficient, but water tends to run straight through the soil profile without sufficiently dampening the soil where the plant’s roots are. For larger terrariums however, pouring water into the container may be necessary. Water the soil around the base of each plant (avoid wetting the leaves to reduce the chance of rot) and keep moss damp at all times.
For enclosed terrariums, you don’t need to add water very often (approximately fortnightly to monthly). As a general rule, if you can see condensation in your enclosed terrarium on a warm day, there is no need to add more water. The terrariums with a cloche (e.g. Flamingo and Little Fig) require more water than the fully enclosed terrariums. It is important that the moss and top layer of soil remains damp at all time.
- Don’t allow lots of water to sit at the bottom of the terrarium for extended periods of time as this may cause plant roots to rot. You can use paper towel to soak up excess water. Otherwise remove the lid and place in a brighter area (but not is direct sunlight) for a few hours.
- After watering, allow the leaves of the plants to dry before replacing the lid.
- For enclosed terrariums, remove the lid for a day once a month to allow the terrarium to air out. A handy tip for open terrariums is to cover their opening with glad wrap if you are going on holiday or don’t have time to water it for a period of time.
- Keep your terrarium in a spot that gets plenty of indirect light, but will not be subject to direct sunlight.
- Terrariums, especially enclosed terrariums, are like mini greenhouses. Placing them in direct sunlight can cook plants quickly.
- If your terrarium is destined for a spot that receives little natural light, artificial light can be used. A 100W globe or fluorescent light can be placed near the terrarium. This should be on for 12 hours a day.
- Plants tend to grow toward the light source. To keep plants growing upright, quarter turn the terrarium monthly.
- Generally, succulents require more light than leafy plants.
- Plants may require pruning if they begin to outgrow their container or become unshapely.
- Remove the plant’s growth tips to encourage it to increase in density.
- Remove any dead or diseased parts of a plant from the terrarium.
- Fertilizer is not necessary in terrariums, which are a self-contained ecosystem. Fertilizer will cause a build up of soluble salts in the soil, which will damage your plants.
- If you notice little flying bugs in your terrarium, these are gnats. You would have seen these little buggers before hovering around your fruit bowl or kitchen bin, particularly in the summer months. Due to their tiny size, they can find their way into your terrarium and make themselves at home. They do not cause damage to your terrarium in any way, they are just unsightly. To get rid of them, we recommend spraying Mortein fly and mosquito killer NaturGard (natural citrus extract) onto the lid of your terrarium. Wipe it the next day and spray again. Repeat for a few days, up to a week, and those little buggers will disappear.
- If you use de mineralised water or rainwater to water your terrarium (which you should be!), you shouldn’t need to clean the inside of your terrarium as unlike tap water, no water stains form as de mineralised water and rainwater lacks the salt that causes these marks. For the outside, use a lint free cloth and fresh water to clean your terrarium. Remember, it is a living ecosystem and harsh chemicals may harm it – although a bit of window cleaner on the outside glass is fine.