February is for lovers and sending a garden valentine is a great way of showing someone how much you care. So a bouquet or floral arrangement this Valentine’s Day, or any other day this month will be the perfect gift.
If you are planning to send the traditional red roses, the sooner you order them, the better. But be aware; the laws of supply and demand mean they’ll be rather pricey at holiday time.
Consider some of the alternatives; other cut flowers, flowering potted plants, or tropical houseplants. A foliage plant which can be dressed up for the occasion with foil, ribbons, and a Valentine ornament, will last for years in a home or office, so long as your choice doesn’t demand terribly bright light.
If you’re less concerned with the plant’s longevity, you may opt for one with showy flowers instead. You’ll find azaleas, begonias, chrysanthemums, kalanchoes, Persian violets, and exotic kangaroo pays among those expected to bloom for several weeks. Hibiscus plants blossom indoors under bright light, then stop until they’re put outside for the summer. Newer African violet hybrids bloom off and on all year round.
Red roses remain a favorite gift but there are so many other rose colors. There are also dozens of different cut flowers available, from cheery spring tulips, daffodils, and iris to exotic anthuriums, heliconias, and birds-of paradise. You’ll find graceful spider mums, stems of sweet-scented lilies, sprays of delicate orchids, and spicy carnations. Old-fashioned mixed bouquets have become very poplar in recent years.
If buying cut flowers, buy them just beginning to open and they’ll generally last longest. Buy flowers or bouquets with good leaves, and flowers without breakage or disease. Protect from cold on the way home, and use a flower preservative in the water.
If you receive cut flowers, put in water immediately with flower preservative. Warm (not hot) water is taken up quicker by the stems. Replace water every three or four days, and re-cut about a half-inch off of stems each time you change the water.
Although a sunny windowsill is an ideal spot for sun-loving houseplants, be sure that the plants aren’t touching the glass or they could be damaged by the cold. Also, since heating vents areoften located underneath windows, plants are prone to drying out quickly if you have such forced air heat.
So whatever plants or flowers you choose to share with your loved one this Valentine’s Day, know that with proper care and attention they will be there for you to enjoy long after February 14.
When all is said and done, remember there’s something very romantic about one perfect rose. You needn’t spend a fortune to say, “I love you” with flowers.
February Houseplant Tips
• Check all five growing factors if your house plants are not growing well. Light, temperature, nutrients, moisture, and humidity must be favorable to provide good growth.
• Resume a fertilizer schedule for indoor plants, but never fertilize a plant in dry soil. The fertilizer could burn roots that need water. It’s better to water plants a couple of hours before fertilizing.
• When placing plants around the home, remember as a general rule, plants with thick leaves can take lower light levels than those with thin leaves.
• House plants with large leaves and smooth foliage (philodendron, dracaena, rubber plant, etc.) benefit if the leaves are washed at intervals to remove dust and grime, and thus keeping the leaf pores open.
• Good air circulation is absolutely necessary for cacti and succulents. Avoid placing them in hot, stuffy areas. Be sure the indoor garden is well ventilated, yet not drafty.