Monday, February 18, 2013

The Proper Care of Easter Plants

      Through the lack of knowledge of just what to do and how to care for your Easter plants, when you receive them, much of your anticipated pleasure is lost by the fact that they remain in flower such a short time.
      The general course pursued by florists to have all their plants in a state of perfection for Easter week is to force them along in quite a warm temperature until they are sure they will flower in for the Easter trade: then the plants are taken to cool houses to "harden up" and given a great deal of air.
Easter Jonquils
      Naturally, in this process of forcing they are kept very wet at the roots and syringed frequently over the tops, this syringing sometimes being done twice in a day.
      It is necessary to know this so you will understand the changed conditions into which a plant is placed when brought into our homes, where the atmosphere is generally dry and warm. It is usually placed in a window and possibly the first day we fail to give it any water, and the second day, perhaps not before 10 o'clock in the morning, and even then only a little is poured in the surface of the soil of each pot, which in an hour (owing to the dry atmosphere) has evaporated. Is it any wonder that before the evening of the second day we find the plants silting and the flowers lying over the pots?
      You all desire to have your flowers attractive and fresh looking as long as possible, and you will experience no difficulty if you will only give them the same treatment they receive before leaving the greenhouse. As soon as you receive the plant, before placing it in the window, give it a thorough soaking. To dampen its is of little use, but thoroughly soaking at the roots stiffens, freshens and revives the flowers. 
      In the case especially of azaleas and hydrangeas it is necessary to stand them in a bucket of water for at least ten minutes twice a day. This same method of watering applies to many other Easter plants.
      Easter lilies can be kept in the pot in any handy place until about the middle of May, when they may be planted in the garden flower bed or border. The tops will die away, but late in the summer they will almost invariably make a new bulb and the flower again. Hydrangeas can be planted out in the ground in the hot sun. In the fall lift and pot them, and they will flower beautifully the next spring. A second method is to plant them out in the garden where they can remain permanently. In this case, plant them on the north side of the house and they will flower in profusion every year. But if planted in southern exposure, as amateurs so frequently do, they will produce no flowers, or at most only one or two very indifferent blossoms and a mass of strong, vigorous foliage.   Under such a condition the indifferent blossom is really the exception, because they rarely set a bud.
      Never are cut flowers more beautiful than at this Easter time, and it hurts a real flower lover to have them fade within twenty-four hours after being delivered from the florist. This may be avoided with a little care. The first thing in opening the box is to sprinkle the blossoms over the top, then place them in a depth of water at least two-thirds the length of the stems. They will last much longer if the bowl in which they are kept is not in too strong a light. Each morning this water must be changed and at least one-half inch of the stems cut off. By following these directions they will in most cases keep fresh for at least a week.
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