Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What to do with your Easter flowers after the holiday

Wondering what to do with those Easter Flowers after Easter?

Bulb Plants:
Spring bulbs
Whether you received a White Lily or an Asiatic Lily a Tulip or a Hyacinth (crocus, bluebells or daffodils too!)  you can enjoy the blooms for up to 4 weeks.  The lower the temperature, the longer they will bloom inside your home.  They will enjoy a nice cool spring day outdoors, out of direct sunlight once in a while.  After the blooms have spent and the leaves start to fade, simply plant it outside in a nice sunny spot in your garden.  Next summer you will see small sprouts forming, and by mid summer they will be blooming again.  Feed with bulb tone or high phosphate fertilizer during dormant months. 


Cineraria will only bloom this one time.  Afterwards, take the old soil (remove the spent leaves and blooms) and use the soil in your garden plot. 

Hydrangeas can be planted, and the leaves should not have died.  They like to be planted in a sunny (preferably morning sun or late afternoon) spot.  Dig the hole at least 3' x 3' and add nice new soil to the hole.  The leaves will keep growing, and it should produce a few new blooms for late summer.  Cut back the tall stems in February to promote new growth next year.

 Most varieties of hydrangea respond to fertilizers that provide nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium at a ratio of 10-10-10. This basic fertilizer is best applied once per month during the spring and early summer.   This type of fertilizer is best suited for hydrangeas that you want to produce pink flowers.
Adding aluminum in the soil will produce or enhance blue flowers. The acidity of your soil also affects the ability of your plants to absorb aluminum. In most cases, hydrangeas need an acidic soil with a pH below 5.5 to encourage the growth of blue flowers. At mildly acidic pH levels between 5.5 and 6.5, hydrangeas often produce purple flowers or a combination of pink and blue flowers on the same bush. Hydrangeas growing in neutral or alkaline soils with a pH between 6 and 6.5 tend to produce pink flowers or dilute shades of blue or mauve in blue cultivars. Applying lime to your soil is a common method for increasing soil pH, while sulfur or aluminum sulfate are used to lower it.
Although there are several soil testing kits on the market, here is a simple test from "Ask" http://gardening.about.com/od/soil/ss/Do-It-Yourself-Soil-pH-Test.htm?utm_term=how%20do%20i%20test%20my%20soil%20ph&utm_content=p1-main-4-title&utm_medium=sem&utm_source=msn&utm_campaign=adid-34682b52-c3a7-4216-9ae1-832db774e850-0-ab_msb_ocode-4605&ad=semD&an=msn_s&am=broad&q=how%20do%20i%20test%20my%20soil%20ph&dqi=how%2Bdo%2BI%2Btest%2Bacidity%2Bin%2Bmy%2Bsoil&o=4605&l=sem&qsrc=999&askid=34682b52-c3a7-4216-9ae1-832db774e850-0-ab_msb

 Gardenias for sale in early spring (photo) are tropical by nature.  They need plenty of sunlight, plenty of water.  It's a good idea to repot it into a larger pot once you have it home.  Acidic fertilizer is needed to keep the leaves green.  Good air circulation, lots of humidity.  Once the weather outside has favorable night time temperatures of over 50 degrees, you can place it outside in a slightly sunny spot.  Keep it planted in a pot for easier transporting in the fall to inside your home where it's warm.  Use a garden hose or spray it often with a houseplant insecticidal soap or pesticide to prevent spider mites, aphids or mealy bugs.  The moderate care you need to provide will pale in comparison to the showy fragrant blooms this dark green leafy bush presents. 


Kalanchoe  are a brightly blooming succulent that will bloom periodically throughout the year.  They prefer bright light indoors or filtered light outside.  Bring them inside when night temperatures fall below 50 degrees.  They will live comfortably sitting in a sunny window inside- probably forever.  Water them when the leaves look a little "grey" and soft.  Don't let the soil get completely dry if they are blooming.  Feed with a good houseplant food- Miracle Gro or Peter's (Jack's Classic 20-20-20) is great. 

Floral Azaleas come in fancy colors and are sold in 6 inch to 7 inch pots for the spring holidays.  Usually in creamy orange, deep red, strawberry and cream edged, they look more fragile than they are.  They require a few things:  Water, water and water.  Some light would be nice too.  They can bloom up to a solid year with just a filtered window of natural light- or under a table lamp.  The key is, that you water this thirsty plant without letting it sit in the saucer of water for any period of time.  They are not winter hardy, these fanciful plants were just grown to be indoors.  You can feed them with a very mild solution of outdoor/hardy azalea food if the leaves start turning a little yellow.