Thursday, February 17, 2011

After Bloom Care for Amaryllis

At Logee's, we sell all our Amaryllis around the holidays and then we don't see them again until next year. However, last week I was in our greenhouses and found lots of new varieties that were in bloom, out of bloom, and other various stages of growth. Many of these Amaryllis are still in the testing phase (are the blooms big enough, do they hold on well, do they grow to the desired height,etc) but the plant care remains the same. Take a look at what to do with your Amaryllis after the bloom.

Here is Amaryllis Aphrodite a new variety that is being tested. Notice the flower stem that is almost finished blooming. It will need to be trimmed.

A close up of the flower.

Amaryllis in our office that need plant care attention.
And more neglected Amaryllis. We need to take each Amaryllis one by one and first trim off the dead blooms.
This can be done by simply removing the flower and leaving the stem to give the plant energy until a new growth begins.
This bloom will only be good for another few days but the blooms are so spectacular that I like to try to make them last as long as they can. Notice the tall green flower stem. This may turn yellow and die which is normal. Once it tips over or dies, then cut back to around one to two inches above the bulb.
Another bloom gone. This entire flower stem can be trimmed back to the two inches above the bulb now since, the new growth has already begun and is infusing life into the plant.
These Amaryllis can be grown and cared for like any other tropical plant. They can be moved outside in the summer and back inside in the winter. There are many different thoughts on how to re-bloom them. Some say, grow the plant until fall and then take the bulb out of the pot and store it in the refrigerator for 6 weeks. Finally, take the refrigerated bulb out about 6-8 weeks before you want it to flower and start the potting process and flowering process all over again.

At Logees, we like to grow Amaryllis like any other plant and keep it pot bound. The large green leaves are giving the bulb energy for next year's flowers. If you grow your Amaryllis outside for the summer and bring it in, the leaves will turn yellow and wither. Simply trim to bulb height again.

It's important to give your plant a dormancy period for about 6-8 week. Place the plant (bulb in the pot) in a cool ( 55 degree F), dimly lit area and don't water. A cool north room works well. In November (or after your designated time) move your plant into a warm sunny window and water accurately (don't over water) until your leaves appear. Flowers should bloom in time for the holidays. Here is a great article for more details about year-round care.

Amaryllis Mount Blanc is another test plant and so far looks like it is in the running with its giant white blooms.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Clean Your Indoor Air This Winter with Plants

A single leaf of Philodendron gloriosum, one of many plants that purify inside air.

Indoor plants make great air purifiers in the way of absorbing the carbon dioxide in the air and giving off oxygen in the photosynthesis process. Especially this time of year, when many of us are stuck inside with dry indoor heat and the snow outside has buried any semblance of green vegetation.

Philodendron erubescens 'Pink Princess', another large leafed plant that adds to indoor air quality.

Other chemicals that plants absorb are the benzenes, formaldehydes and trichloroethylenes given off typically from new carpet, plastic anything, synthetic building materials, etc. All plants are not created equal(ie: the more surface area the better air purification). Although after researching this topic, most plants are beneficial.

Philodendron 'Prince of Orange'

According to a study at the University of Minnesota Extension, plants that were the most effective were the tropical and subtropical plants. A recent article in Better Homes and Gardens also talks about the benefits of clean air in your home. At Logee's, we grow many plants that can help cleanse the air.

Of course, the bigger and more vigorous they grow the better the air quality but Nasa's study has said that a dozen small plants in 6-8 inch pots can effectively clean an 1800 sq foot home.

Here's our Logee's List of the Best Plants for Clean Air.

We have a ready made category for the air purifiers. We call them our Indestructibles, which simply means they are easy to care for and can withstand dry conditions and take partial sun. Plants such as sansevierias, philodendrons, aloes, agaves, polyscias, and aeschynanthus.

Sanseviera trifasciata 'Twist' is an attractive addition to any home's interior.

Byron says Begonias are the way to go for attractive air cleansers. Plus, they are good for the inattentive gardener or the gardener who has a dry household. Begonias like to be kept dry between watering and do not need full sun.

Begonia 'Palomar Prince' is a rhizomatous begonia that fills out into a large leafed specimen. This is a 4-inch pot that we are ready to ship out.

Begonia 'Tea Rose' also in a 4-inch pot, has large green leaves with fragrant pink flowers.

Other plants that are easy to grow and are excellent to clean indoor air are below.
Anthurium 'Misty Rose' is in a six inch pot, loves the shade and is an everbloomer.

Anthurium 'Red' is also called the "Hawaiin Volcano Plant" and grows on a volcanic rock.

Calathea lancilota "Rattle Snake Plant" is one of my favorites for its maroon markings on its long sword-like leaves.

In the main greenhouse is this Maidenhair Fern that not only adds greenery but is lovely in its shape and form. Ferns are more difficult to grow. They need lots of humidity and water.

In the foreground is a stray branch from our Ficus Pumila plant that covers the inside ceiling of our retail store. We have a built in air cleaner with this plant.

Finally, think lots of leaf surface. The Alocasia sp. Zebrina gets relatively large leaves and has an attractive striping on the stem.

But we are talking BIG with this next variety.

This large elephant ear known as colocasias esculenta 'Thailand Giant Strain' is extraordinary in its leaf size and structure. Let's just say one plant this large would take care of your entire household clean air needs. Notice our son, Elijah when he was 12 years old, amongst the leaves. This was grown outside for one season but can easily grow inside in a pot if you have the space and full sun exposure.