Plants and flowers are the most important parts of many gardens. Purchasing plants and flowers can be very expensive, and therefore making sure your flowers are healthy and living for the longest time possible is also important. Another advantage is that your house or garden will look at its best when entertaining guests.
But how do you make flowers last longer?
Pruning dried flowers or dead parts of the plant will ensure that the flower regains its strength and does not waste useless resources on the spent (dead) flowers. Apart from improving the visual beauty of the flowers, it also invigorates the flowering plant to produce fresh growth.
This is a continuous activity that helps lengthen the plant’s lifetime and improves the flowering process.
Some people think that it is enough to purchase a flower or plant, put it in a nice planter or vase and just leave it there. However, continuous care is needed to avoid expensive waste in plants and flowers dying prematurely.
In certain cases, you need to make the difficult decision to prune most of the flowering plant to its very core, especially if the plant looks weak. After doing this, provide water and nutrients (powder or liquid form) to strengthen the plant and give it new life to produce fresh flowers.
Be on the lookout for unwanted plants or seedlings growing around your flower, as these will be taking away important nutrients from the main flowering plant.
Each flower and plant requires different levels of watering. Mexican Petunias (Ruellia Simplex) and Vinca flowers (Madagascar periwinkle) love lots of water. The more the better, especially in a warm climate. Others, such as the Sophora prostrata (Little Baby) do not like to sit in water during dormant, cool months, and can die in wet conditions.
Most flowers and plants have no pre-determined level of watering, and you need to consider the climate, temperatures, zones, and current conditions. Roses for example need watering around 3 times a week. If it is very hot, or dry, give the plant a little more water to help the plant and its flowers. Prune spent flowers to keep beautiful and healthy.
The general rule of thumb is to water plants and flowers when the soil feels dry to touch using the finger test. Put your finger into the soil for 2 or 3 centimetres, and if it feels dry, then water the plant. Keep in mind that certain flowers grown from seeds need regular watering in the first phases of growth.
Nonetheless, make sure that flowers growing in pots, for example, Hoyas, have good drainage holes at the bottom of the pot or container for excess water to flow freely. Certain flowers and bulbs, for example, Narcissus, are not harmed by letting the soil dry occasionally between watering sessions. Succulents, which generally need little watering, can also produce some incredible flowers.
One way to improve and strengthen your plants is through fertilizers. I use Miracle-Gro plant food which works perfectly well. Alternatively, you may provide some sequestered iron or plant tonic to improve flowering. Make sure to follow the exact instructions and dosage as listed in the product’s packaging.
Most flowers and plants need light to flower. However, direct sun which is too strong can damage and burn flowers. From experience, I find that the best setup is to put flowers in a location where they can get lots of light and warmth from the sun, but at the same time be protected from direct sunlight for most (or all) of the day.
I find that the combination of strong light, warmth and shade provide the best results for beautiful looking flowers throughout most of the year.
Planting flowers is dependent on the climate and zone where you live, so there is no fixed timetable for all flowers. In the southern Mediterranean, for example, Malta, October is a good time to plant Alliums, sometimes called Ornamental Flowering Onions, Anemone (Windflower), Crocus (Crocus sativus), Daffodils, Galtonia, Ixia, Iris, Montbretia, Hyacinth, Ranunculus, Sparaxis, Muscari and Lilies.
When growing flowers in a pot or container, make sure that the size is large enough to accommodate the future growth of the plant. Ensure that the root ball is not damaged when planting or when transferring from one pot to another.
Another critical element is for the port to have good drainage holes at the bottom of the pot so excess water can flow out easily. Ensure the drainage holes are not blocked from time to time. One way of doing this is to put a few rocks at the bottom of the soil just above the holes.
However, make sure the rocks themselves are not blocking the holes. If you are keeping your plant or flower inside, a good idea would be to get a plate or saucer to collect water that flows out of the pot or container.
Keep flowers happy and healthy, and in return, they will live long and make your home and garden look beautiful and incredible for you to enjoy. Happy gardening!
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