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. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Frequently asked Easter Plant questions
Our plants are grown at our wholesale greenhouse farm in Zionsville Pa- within minutes of our store.  Some items are grown specifically for our retail store customers- as it has been for the past 65 years.

 After many years of selling Easter flowers to the public, we often get questions concerning the care and placement of their plants. 
Here are some common questions, with answers provided.

Q: How do I care for my blooming bulb plant once I get it home?
A: Keep it watered, in a bright but cool spot.  On warmer spring days you can set it outside.  They don't mind cool nights- but freezing will damage some of the new tender growth.  Bulb crops do better in cool weather.  After blooming you can plant it outside.  Don't remove the leaves until they are withered completely.
Q:What plant is appropriate for a grave site? 
 A: Any plant is appropriate, because it reflects on you and how you feel. 
Q: How long will this plant last at the gravesite?
A:It depends on the plant.  Ask us what plant will withstand night temperatures below 35 degrees.
Some plants will do just fine for a week or so, but nature will make the sun shine and the wind blow, thus drying out the plant.  To keep the pot intact with the ground, ask for a green plant stake to place through the pot and into the ground.  This will keep it from blowing over.
Q: Will your log planters last through Easter?
A: We have artificial (silk) log planters that are made by our designers.  They are weather tested, and will last a very long time.  (and they are really nice).  We also have log planters that are a compilation of bulbs, pansies and mum plants, designed to last about a month at a graveside.  You may want to make sure the soil is very wet and heavy before placing it.
Q:How long do Floral Azaleas last? 
A: They can bloom and line in your house, with proper moist soil up to a year with natural diffused light or artificial lighting. They are not suitable for planting outdoors.  For azaleas that can be planted as shrubs, visit our shrub department.
Q: What do I do with my bulb plants (including lilies) after they bloom?
A:Plant them outside, as they are perennial bulbs.  Feed them in the summer with Bulb Tone or other bulb fertilizer.  They are still growing underneath the ground surface. 
Q:When will my Easter lily bulbs open?
A: Check out our White Lily page, or maybe this will help:  If you have a bud that is small and green, it will open only if you keep it in sunlight. 
If the bud is showing color, and is quite large, it will usually open within 2 or 3 days.
Q:If I buy Tulips (daffodils, hyacinths, crocus etc.) that aren't showing color, how long will it take for them to bloom?
A: In your home where it's warm it will usually take about 3 days for a tulip, about 2 days for a crocus. 
You want to purchase a tightly budded flower if you want it to be a gift in 2 or 3 days.  The warmer the location, the faster it will bloom.  (hint: want to make it bloom later than a couple of days?  Simply put it outdoors on cool days or nights above 40 degrees.  It will take much longer to bloom if it's kept in a cooler location.
Q: Can I plant the Hydrangeas I buy for Easter (in bloom) outside in my garden? 
A: Absolutely.  There are some of the "fancier" varieties you may find a little more difficult to grow in your yard, but follow directions for planting and it should be fine. 
Q: Can I plant my floral mums outside? 
A: You can if you wish, but they won't grow back.  They are specifically grown to be an indoor annual.
If you have any other questions not listed on this page, feel free to email your inquiry to cthomas@danschantz.com 
Pocketbook Plant (Calceolaria herbeohybrida)

These unusual flowers are found in spring at Dan Schantz Greenhouse.  They get their name from the puffy flowers that are hollow inside, resembling a pocketbook.  Another common name is Slipperwort or Slipper Flower. 

They bloom brilliantly bright colors- from red, yellow, maroon, orange, pink and cream, with little polka dots all around the flower. 

Keep the plant moist at all times, but never sitting in water.  Just feel the soil, and if the top is a little dry, then give it a drink.  They like a bright, cool window with no direct sun. 
 Don't fertilize while in bloom.

Pocketbook plants are indoor annuals and will only bloom this one time, but will last for about 4 weeks in your home.   They are beautiful, unusual and a joy to have. Makes a perfect gift plant, lasts longer than cut flowers, and they're less expensive than a box of chocolates. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Dan's Easter Ad 2016

Easter Lilies- how to care for them once you get them home
Easter lily buds will continue to open for the next few weeks once it's in your home.  The Anthers (the puffy yellow part on top of the Stamen) should be pulled off to prevent staining of the lily bloom.  This process will also make the bloom last longer.  They prefer to be in a cool window in bright indirect natural light.  Water the soil when it feels dry, but let the water drain from the pot freely. 
As the white blooms wither, cut them off at the stem.  In about 2 to 4 weeks, the plant will be just a stem with a few leaves on it.  It's time to plant it outside at that point.

Since lilies are natural outdoor plants, their normal blooming period is in the summer.  They are perennial bulbs that will enjoy being planted outside in a sunny spot in your garden.  The bulbs will divide and multiply as any lily would.  The blooms may grow a little smaller than when you received it for Easter.  They'll look nice with some Asiatic lilies and Stargazers combined.  Since your Easter lily has been forced to bloom, it's first summer may produce very little, if any signs of major growth. 

This is a Lily "BUD CARD".  It's a lot like a ruler, with a bunch of numbers on it.  Growers use these to measure the rate in which the bud will open.  For example, see the small yellow dot at the tip of the bud.  You'll see a number 2.   Then follow the graph to the other small yellow dot, it says 21C or 70F- this means that this bud will open in 2 days if the greenhouse temperature is 70 degrees.  The lower the temperature, the longer it will take to open.  If the crop is opening up too quickly (really sunny warm days) we move all the plants to a cooler greenhouse.  This process is repeated every single day for the few weeks before Easter/ shipping.
Easter Lilies (Lilium longiflorum) have been the favorite flower of Easter for centuries.  The solid white flowers represent purity, life and renewal.  The flower’s trumpet shape is a reminder of the heralding of Jesus, returning triumphant to Jerusalem.
According to Biblical scholars, the Easter Lily was found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane where Judas is said to have betrayed Jesus. Legend tells that white lilies miraculously sprung up from the ground where drops of Jesus’ sweat and tears fell during his last hours.
In early paintings, the Archangel Gabriel is pictured extending a branch of white lilies to Mary, symbolizing that she had become the virgin mother to the savior.
Native to the islands of Japan, White Lilies were imported to the United States until 1941, when Americans were prompted to start growing their own bulbs due to the war.  Today, nearly all of the 15 million Easter Lily bulbs grown in America are produced by just 4 farms along the California-Oregon border. The bulbs are harvested in the fall, and then shipped to commercial greenhouses in Michigan, California, Pennsylvania and Ohio, where they are planted in time to bloom for Easter.

Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouses, LLC is responsible for growing 300,000 Easter lilies produced in the United States. 

I had help from these links