How to Care for Gorgeous Geraniums

GeraniumGeraniums are an elegant, classic flower. Follow these simple steps and you will have glorious plants all season long.

Water and Fertilizer:

Geraniums are hardy plants and can tolerate medium drought. So you should allow the soil to dry out a bit between waterings (allow the top 1″ to dry out before watering again). You should always try to avoid watering directly over the blooms of your geraniums, because the flowers do not like to get wet. Your fertilizer schedule will be according to which type you choose (granular is usually good for 2-3 months, liquid can be applied every water or every 7-14 days). The key to fertilizing a geranium is to ensure it is not over fertilized, so when you apply use only 50-75% of what the recommended application rate is. Geraniums grow best with a 10-10-10 fertilizer, but a blooming fertilizer (15-30-15) is often used and yield similar results.

Dead Heading:

Zonal geraniums are the most common patio geranium. These geraniums are not dead-headed naturally and will require a little attention to ensure they bloom prolifically all season.

You will want to dead head your geraniums once a week, and more frequently if there has been heavy rain, as this disintegrates the blooms and leaves your plant looking shabby.  When you dead head your geranium follow the flower stalk down to where the stalk meets the stem of the plant, 1″ above where the stalk and the stem meet you will cut the flower stalk off. You will remove all the blooms that have no more buds, or that have wilted petals. And this will promote the young buds to bloom faster.

With these simple, easy tips you can keep your geraniums glorious all season long!

Happy Gardening!

 

How to Care for Orchids

DSC_0914Orchids are amazing houseplants. They care is very simple, which is the exact opposite of their reputation as tricky houseplant.

When you buy your orchid from the store its in gorgeous, full bloom. You will want to place your orchid in a bright location in the home that does not receive any direct sunlight.  Now it is time to care for your gorgeous plant.

Water:

Water your orchid only once a week when it is indoors. To water your plant, take the plastic insert out of the ceramic pot and fully soak the pot and allow it to drain fully before replacing it.

Fertilizer:

Use a water soluable orchid fertilizer every time you water. Read and follow the label when mixing your fertilizer. Every 4th watering it is good to water with just normal water to flush out any extra solutes that may have accumulated.

Repotting:

Orchids can tolerate being very root bound. The general rule of thumb is to repot your orchid after two and a half years. But that leads to the question `How long has my orchid been in this pot when I bought it?`Most orchids are grown for a year in the pot that you purchase, so after a year and a half it is time to consider a transplant. When deciding to transplant, make sure your plant is not in bud because the shock of the transplant may damage the buds.

What to do when your orchid is done blooming:

You can cut the orchid spike back to about an inch and half from the base of the spike. This will promote a large bloom spike in a few months from when you cut it.

Some people are worried they will not get another bloom out of their plants and prefer to leave the bloomed out spike on the plant,  allowing it to die back naturally and cut just above the brown, dead stalk. This will usually result in a second bloom cycle on the same stalk, but fewer blooms in this cycle.

How to get your orchid to rebloom:

One of the easiest ways to get an orchid to bloom is to place it outside in the hot, humid, Southern Ontario summer. Orchids need a 10 degree difference between night and day to stimulate a bloom spike, so although it is very hot outside, the cooler night temperatures are enough to stimulate a gorgeous bloom spike!

Place your orchid in a location outside that never receives direct sunlight. You should check your orchid 2 or 3 times a week when it is outside because it can dry out a lot faster with wind. If necessary water 2 times a week when outdoors.

Happy Gardening!

Getting to Know, so that you can Grow Gorgeous Begonias

Here is a list of the most common begonias in our landscapes. There are many more varieties found throughout the world, but this list will get you started on understanding the vast range of begonias.

fibrous begonia

  • Fibrous-Rooted Begonias: These include the  wax begonias, cane-like begonias, dragon-wing, and other varieties. These plants have just a regular root ball, with thin, stringy roots. Most of these plants will continue growing and blooming all year long if you bring them inside before the first frost, put in a bright window, keep moist, and continue feeding. These plants perform great in planters, but also in beds. Of all the varieties of begonias these tolerate the most sun.
  • Rex BegoniaRex Begonias: These varieties are the showiest of all begonias. They are usually rhizomatous and will continue growing indoors in the winter; but they need more humidity, moisture, and fertilizer than other varieties. They can be planted in a shade garden bed, but it is advised to loosen the soil mixture with some peat moss and vermiculite to mimick the light, moisture retaining, mixture of potting mix.Nonstop Begonia
  • Tuberous Begonias:Tuberous begonias have a fleshy, round tuberous root – think potato – and bloom in late summer and fall, but can bloom early if forced inside. Tuberous begonias go dormant in the winter, so they won’t stay green as houseplants. Instead, in early fall (before the first frost), dig up the tubers and store them in a cool dry place for the winter. Next spring, after all danger of frost has passed, replant them in pots or outdoors. Again, with this variety of begonia if you choose to plant in the ground you should add some vermiculite and peat moss to the bedding area to lighten the soil mixture and aid with moisture rentention.