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Care Instructions

ORCHIDS:

Orchids have become very popular because of their beauty, variety and the little care to maintain them.  With a a little love and some basic care, orchids can be very rewarding .

Here are some basic care techniques for orchids:

  • The lighting. Normally, orchids do well in direct FILTERED sunlight or shaded bright light. 
  • The temperature. Most orchids prefer a midrange temperature with a difference in daytime and nighttime temperatures. However, some do well in hot temperatures and some do well in cold temperatures; it all depends on the orchid.
  • The standard rule of thumb is to drench the orchid in water and let the water run out of the bottom. Often, this is done by placing the orchid in a sink or bathtub. Water about every 5-7 days, but that could vary depending on the orchid, medium (bark or moss)  and room temperature.
  • This is normally done at the time of every other watering. The type of fertilizer depends on the orchid and what you want to accomplish (bloom, growth, etc) Check any fertilizer for nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium ratio.
  • Most orchids love humidity. Keeping them in a humid environment could prove positive. You may also want to spray them once a day to increase humidity if your room is dry and warm.
  • Air Circulation. Orchids, like most plants, love the wind. Keep them in a room with some air movement.
  • Orchids like plenty of room to breath so use a large enough container to allow your orchid to grow.  That's usually about a half inch between the orchid plastic nursery pot and the decorative pot. 
  • Use a combination of bark, peat moss, perlite, charcoal or volcanic rocks. See package for proper use. Repotting is usually done once every 1 to 2 years. If the orchid has outgrown the plastic pot or the orchid is root bound,  it is time to repot the orchid.
  • Most common diseases are caused by infestation from mealy bugs, aphids, scales, and spider mites. Other diseases could be caused by water rot in between leaves, root decay and soft mushy pseudobulbs. Leaves could have black spots, yellowing or browning due to fungus, overwater or underwater. Consult your local florist or nursery for advice.


CUT FLOWERS

There are a few simple steps to help your cut flowers last longer: 

  • Keep the vase filled with enough water. The amount will vary but generally fill the vase about half way. There are exceptions; some cut flowers, most notably hydrangea , need their stems completely submerged in water. Water is essential for any cut flower so keep a constant eye on the water level.
  • Make sure the water is clean, not cloudy. Changing the water every 2-3 days will help the flowers last longer.
  • When changing the water, it is a good idea to give your flowers a fresh cut. Usually, cut about an inch. Some suggest cutting the flower under water; this may be good especially for roses.
  • Avoid any leaves or other debris in your vase below the water level as this may cause bacteria. Remove these when you change your water. Between watering, check periodically for any leaves or other debris that you can easily remove.
  • Place you flowers in a spot with the appropriate room temperature. Generally, this is a cool temperature. Avoiding direct sunlight will also help your flowers last longer.  Air circulation is essential at all times.
  • Adding a cut flower food will also add to the life of your flowers. Normally, this is done when you change the water.
  • Do not use porous containers. Always clean with disinfectant or bleach .
  • Botrytis, a group of fungi, will cause flowers to wilt faster due to bacterial stem rot.


These are basic steps to help take care of your flowers. Flowers vary in their care. If in doubt, it is always a good idea to consult your local florist for advice.


GREEN PLANTS

Green Plants make us happy in many ways. Plants help to reduce stress, clean the air, and regenerate carbon dioxide into oxygen. Indoor plants give us a chance to interact with nature when it might otherwise be difficult such as in bad weather or in a highly congested metropolitan area.  There are a few things to keep in mind.

  •  One of the underappreciated  aspects of healthy plant  growth is finding the right location for  your plant. Take into consideration the type of plant. For example, if you have a very sunny location, you may want to choose a cactus or euphorbia. For an area with little light, you might want to choose a peace lily or philodendron.  You also want  to consider  how the plant conforms to its location.  Consider the size of the area vs. the size of the plant, the color of plant vs the color the area and any maintenance of the plant. 
  • This is one of the most critical elements in the survival of a plant since plants need light for photosynthesis. Plants are affected by the amount of the light, the color of the light and the duration of the light. Consider if the plant will get morning or afternoon sun. Consider if the area has shaded light or direct sunlight. Not getting the right amount of sun can cause problems down the road.
  • Give water to the plants when they need it. Look over your plant to see if it is healthy. The tissue should be firm and the leaves should be glossy. Check the moisture of the soil. It should not be completely dry or soaking in water but should be moist. The best way to water is to pour water on the soil or to quickly immerse the plant in a bucket of water and drain.
  • Most home temperatures range from 60 to 75 degrees which is good for most plants.  There may be some plants that require much hotter or cooler  locations. You might consider a sun room or a breezy porch.for these plants.  
  • Because of their origins, some plants require a certain amount  of humidity. You can get a humidifier. You can also do something more localized like adding pebbles to a tray underneath the plant.
  • Make sure to use the fertilizer with the proper ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Follow the directions closely as plants differ in their requirements.
  • This is what "anchors" the plant. Most commercial soil uses moss or bark or compost as these are best to maintain moisture. These also are usually free of disease and pests. Adding soil to your indoor plant from your garden could possibly add disease to your plant.
  • When choosing the proper pot for your plant, consider the drainage, the size and the shape of the container.  Any container you choose should allow enough room for air circulation.
  • This may be necessary if the plant is outgrowing the pot, there is disease in the soil or if the soil just needs to be refreshed.  It is usually done right before active growth.  You may want to take your plant to a florist or nursery to check and, if necessary ,repot.
Plant Information Courtesy of Ortho's All About Houseplants