Spring Surprises: garden plants of the month for February

Spring might be starting somewhat hesitantly, but with Spring Surprises like hazel, primula, rock cress and Aubrieta, you can actively bring on the season for spending time outdoors.

Early blooming and a second round
Spring Surprises like hazel (Corylus avellana Concorta’), rock cress (Arabis), primula and Aubrieta are perfect for those who can’t wait to bring their garden to life. Not only do they bloom early, but the latter two often provide a second round of flowering later in the year. And hazel offers an attractive green backdrop that changes colour in autumn in order to reveal the decorative twisting branches in winter. So these garden plants don’t just surprise in the spring, but all year round.

Introducing the Spring Surprises

Hazel may be familiar as an Easter decoration, but is not to be sniffed at as a complete plant either. The twisting bare branches are real eyecatchers when the rest of the garden is still bare. It flowers fairly spectacularly on bare wood with yellow festoons packed with flowers. And after flowering it treats you to soft, wavy leaves and – with a bit of luck – some tasty hazelnuts.

Primula is one of the earliest plants to flower in the garden, and quickly and easily offers a big helping of fun, from white and pastels through to hot pink, bright red and deep purple (and sometimes even two colours simultaneously). The sunny heart attracts the first insects of the year, who in turn get the rest of the garden going. This all-rounder can be used in containers, beds and rockeries.

Aubrieta is a strong ground-covering plant that also does well in containers. Alongside blue, it also comes in purple, lilac, violet, pink and white. They all like a fairly dry and warm spot, preferably in a rockery, around walls and between paving. Aubrieta stays low and grows sideways.

Rock cress likes to hang over a wall or nestle snugly in a rockery, and once it gets going it creates an attractive thick green carpet with a host of violet and pink flowers. These attract a lot of honeybees, bumblebees and insects: the best way to bring your garden to life in a natural way.

More spring surprises:
• The first blackbird singing its heart out in search of love.
• Waking up and finding that it really is a little bit light already.
• Seeing Nature awakening every day in green tips and new shoots.
• No, your eyes are not deceiving you, the first midges have started dancing.
• The first ducklings bravely paddling after their mother.

Early bloomers
All the Spring Surprises are early bloomers and have their roots in the continent of Europe. Rock cress comes from the Caucasus mountains, primula is an inhabitant of the Alps whilst Aubrieta particularly grows in southern Europe in mountainous regions between rocks and stones. And hazel has been around humans for centuries: not just for the nuts, but also because a host of spiritual properties are attributed to the plant.

Wise hazel
In the symbolism of plants rock cress represents nonchalance, because it survives so casually and effortlessly in difficult places. Primula’s very early flowering means that it symbolises a new beginning, growth and hope. And Aubrieta stands for austerity, since this plant has no need to be pampered. Out of the Spring Surprises, hazel offers the most folk tales. For a dowsing rod, magic wand or protective branches on the roof to ward off witches and other evildoers, hazel is what you need. In the Middle Ages it was one of the three holy trees that could not be cut down. The apple tree was spared for its beauty, the oak for its strength and the hazel for the wisdom that was attributed to it.

Blooming into spring
• All the Spring Surprises like a sunny spot, although they can tolerate some partial shade.
• For all three the soil must be well-draining and plants in containers or tubs need more water than those in beds.
• Give them some space when planting: Aubrieta, primula and rock cress need to be able to develop sideways, and hazel must be able to twist around.
• Hazel needs more food than the two ground-covering plants.
• Prune back rock cress and Aubrieta vigorously after flowering to encourage them to reflower. With primula and hazel only remove dead material. Overpruning will often take away hazel’s curls.

Spring tree!
There’s nothing to stop you from decorating your corkscrew hazel in the garden with ornamental eggs and other spring decorations. It looks great and it doesn’t bother the plant. If you prefer to keep it natural, hazel will style itself with yellow festoons. With their brightly coloured flowers, rock cress and primula are the perfect plants for brightening up dull corners and edges. Aubrieta should be styled ‘on the rocks’ and looks best in conjunction with grey and white stones. If you’re placing them in containers, classic earthenware – preferably slightly faded and weathered – is the best way to create a visual link to the place from which they originate: mountainous regions.

Garden Plant of the Month
Spring Surprises are the Garden Plants for February 2019. The ‘Garden Plant of the Month’ is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose one or more plants which are particularly popular with consumers, or which are not (yet) particularly well-known but which have the potential to do well in the garden, on the patio or on the balcony.

For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Facebook: mooiwatplantendoen
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Ferns: Houseplant of the Month for February

While everything is still bare outside you can create a green oasis indoors with ferns’ green feathers in all shapes and sizes.

Botanical beauties
If you’re looking for a mindful experience, nothing is as beautiful as a rolled fern leaf that unfurls over a couple of days into an elegant long leaf that looks like a green feather. Ferns are available with dense leaves, with round leaves, with curls and with spikes. Place different species together and you’ll soon have a botanical collection where there’s lots to see without greenery dominating your entire interior.

These are the stars for February!
Whether your homestyle is traditional, natural or designer, there are ferns to match. Ferns come in a variety of colours – from dark green to greyish – and virtually all have long, slender feathery leaves. A couple of ferns do look a bit different. Hence Aglaomorpha coronans is a majestic badass with a large, coarse leaves. The tree fern (Dicksonia) has disguised itself as a palm tree, thanks to a trunk with a pale green crown of fern leaves. And the bird’s nest fern (Asplenium) is very distinctive, with stylised green leaves without fringes.

Living history
Ferns were primaeval inhabitants of the Earth; fossil remains have been found from some 420 million years ago. They were once water plants which involved into spore plants on the land. There are 40,000 different species: virtually all of them herbaceous plants that do not stick to the standard structure (root – stem – leaf) but idiosyncratically feature aerial roots, pseudo-trunks, disc leaves and other highly original components. That evolution has helped ferns to survive, makes them a highly varied group where there is always something new to discover.

Care
• Ferns likes a light spot, but not in full sun.
• Do not pour water into the plant but onto the soil, and ensure that the soil is always damp.
• Ferns do well in a spot with high humidity like the kitchen or the bathroom.
• If you’re placing your fern in a room with dry air, place the planter in an attractive bowl with water that can evaporate around the plant.
• A bit of food once a week keeps a fern in peak condition.
• Spray, mist, steam: ferns adore them all.

Clean air, beautiful skin
Ferns in the home fit with the growing interest in a simpler and more sustainable life. Ferns help to purify the air in your home. When they get enough moisture themselves they also help keep the humidity in your home healthy, so that you’re less likely to bothered by dry skin. When correctly styled they can bring the clean, sleek feeling of a laboratory into your home. For example, place them in water in recycled glass jam jars for an attractive transparent effect, or choose identical earthenware pots in black or white to give an attractive minimalist effect.

The bushy Boston fern is a particularly popular hanging plant: up high it has plenty of room to grow with less risk of damaged leaf tips. If you prefer a more stylised look, the elkhorn fern is a good hanging plant for you.

Trivia
• Carrying some fern seeds with you is said to help you work twenty times as hard.
• Maoris use silver ferns to find their way in the dark: they reflect the light of the moon and stars.
• Ferns symbolise sincerity and purity.

Houseplant of the Month
Ferns are the Houseplants for February 2019. ‘Houseplant of the Month’ is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers or is not (yet) well-known but does have the potential to do well in the living room.

For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Facebook: mooiwatplantendoen
Twitter: @watplantendoen

Thejoyofplants.co.uk
Thejoyofplants.co.uk is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland to enable consumers to discover that you feel better with plants around you.

Garden Plant of the Month December: Helleborus

Helleborus flowers in the middle of winter

It’s always spectacular: a plant that blooms when most garden plants are hibernating. Helleborus (also known as the Christmas rose) treats you to large white flowers with a fantastic crown of stamens at their heart from November to March. The plant can cope with snow or frost: branches might droop a bit, but as soon as the temperatures climb again, Helleborus will straighten up.

Range

Helleborus niger is most widely offered in December. This clump-forming, usually evergreen perennial is loved for its nodding clusters of bowl-shaped white flowers in winter and early spring. The dark foliage consists of multiple smaller leaves. There are various cultivars, usually with white flowers such as the cultivars ‘Christmas Carol’, ‘Dafine’ , ‘Shining Star’ and Jushua.
Helleborus orientalis has yellow, pink and dark purple flowers, and there are also varieties with spotted flowers. Like Helleborus niger, this Christmas rose comes in various sizes, from small enough to be used in a hanging basket through to a tall bush which needs a substantial pot or a spot in the border.

Trivia

• The common name of Christmas rose derives from an old legend in which the plant emerged in the snow from the tears of a girl who had no gift for the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.
• In the Middle Ages Helleborus was cultivated by people to keep away evil winter spirits.
• The plant has been known for a long time. The physician Melampus referred to it in 1400 BC.
• Helleborus symbolises pioneering and survival.

Origin

Helleborus is a member of the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family. The plant is native to the forests of south and central Europe and west Asia. The plant can be spotted in the wild in the Alps, Carpatrhian and Appenine mountains.
What to look for when buying
• Check the balance between pot size and bush, the plant must have a number of viable buds and be free of pests.
• The soil must be sufficiently damp to prevent the plant from drooping.
• Yellow leaves can indicate leaf-miner flies; botrytis manifests itself as black spots on the white petals.

Sales and display tips

As the star of December, the Helleborus likes to be placed alongside red and white patio Cyclamen, Poinsettias and Christmas accessories for an attractive display. It’s also a very popular plant for large-scale outdoor arrangements, combined with checkerberry, ornamental wood, heather, moss and – for example – small outdoor lanterns.
Care tips for customers
• Place Helleborus in a sheltered sunny spot. The more the plant is shaded, the fewer flowers of it will produce.
• The plant shows when it needs extra water with its drooping leaves. After a couple of hours the Helleborus will have perked up completely.
• Don’t water when it’s freezing: the plant consumes hardly anything at those times.
• Some plant food once a fortnight encourages extra-long and profuse flowering.

Garden Plant of the Month

Helleborus is the Garden Plant for December 2018. The ‘Garden Plant of the Month’ is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant with an amazing look or unusual characteristics to put in the spotlight. Sometimes it will be a green star that’s highlighted, and sometimes an undiscovered treasure that deserves to be better known and merits a place in the garden, on the patio or on the balcony. Because everyone is happier with more plants.

Houseplant of the Month for December: Anthurium

Red, white or green, and shiny too if you want – for a beautiful modern Christmas. How ‘happy holidays’ can you get?

Classic or funky – Anthurium can do both

Alongside plenty of volume and enthusiasm, Anthurium also offers pure natural design that even a Christmas tree struggles to compete with. It’s available in classic December colours, but if you want something a bit different combine a pink Anthurium with some silver baubles or a salmon Anthurium with gold accents to create an instant festive effect in a very different style.

It’s not what you think

A handy tip to make you an instant Anthurium expert: although most people think the coloured part is the flower, it’s actually a coloured bract. Anthurium’s flowers are very small and are all located on the spike.

Anthurium guide

The tailflower (with the shiny bracts) is available in white, red, pink, lilac, lemon, green, brown and even bicoloured. The flamingo flower is very similar, but has matt coloured bracts. There is also an Anthurium which derives its decorative value primarily from its green foliage. Almost all of them are available in large and small sizes and in compact and loose shapes so that you can use them to create a December mood entirely in your own style.

How to help your Anthurium last till Christmas 2019 (and beyond)

  • Anthurium likes a light spot, but preferably not in full sun.
  • It tends to feel the cold, and prefers the thermostat to be between 18-22°C.
  • Don’t allow the soil to dry out, but also avoid leaving the roots standing in water.
  • A misting from time to time will make Anthurium think it’s back in the tropical rainforest.
  • Wilted flowers can be cut off or pulled out stem and all.
  • Plant food once every three weeks will keep Anthurium blooming.

Botanical Brazilian

Anthurium originates from tropical rainforests of Colombia, Guatemala and the Amazon region of Brazil. The plant grows there as an epiphyte: that means that it grows in and on trees with relatively few roots without drawing nutrients from the tree. The plant gets enough light there but no bright sunlight and is always nice and warm with a high level of humidity. It likes a similar position in your home. If it’s very dry because of central heating, choose an attractive bowl that matches the planter. Pour water into the bowl and place the Anthurium in it, complete with planter. That allows the water to evaporate around the plant and instantly increases the humidity: win-win!

Fancy a flowering bauble?

Red, white and green Anthuriums are perfect for fresh, contemporary festive arrangements. Display them with some Christmas decorations. Keep it sleek and modern: black shiny pots, silver and gold. Give the plant some space: the profusion of stems and flowers looks best if it’s not restricted. Anthurium has attractive thick roots that can be displayed in a glass pot or vase. Small specimens can be wrapped in moss (kokedama) to shine as an alternative bauble on a plate or bowl or under a glass dome.

Houseplant of the Month

Anthurium is the Houseplant for December 2018. ‘Houseplant of the Month’ is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers or is not (yet) well-known, but does have the potential to do well in the living room.

Houseplant of the Month for November : Rhipsalis

This turbo grower makes the dark days of winter greener, cosier and more mysterious, whether you let it hang wild or drape it over your table.

Strokable cactus

It’s very unusual: Rhipsalis is actually a cactus, but without spikes. This rapid grower hangs down in long, messy tendrils or grows upwards in a bushy shape, as the mood takes it. As a houseplant it’s dark green on top, thinner at the ends and fantastic for exciting peepholes and tabletop pastures. The plant is also known as Mistletoe Cactus, and is virtually maintenance-free. Rhipsalis can cope well with forgetful waterers, doesn’t give up and makes a stunning feature.

Air purifier

Rhipsalis grows in rainforests in Central and South America, Africa and on a couple of islands in the Indian Ocean. Rhipsalis’ jungle origins make it a houseplant with air-purifying properties according to research by NASA.

November is an intimate, restrained month. It is particularly Rhipsalis’ hanging forms that accentuate that sense of enclosure

Rhipsalis is not fussy

  • A light spot, full sun, partial shade: Rhipsalis is not fussy about where it’s placed.
  • Moderate water once a week. The soil can dry out a bit between waterings.
  • Spraying from time to time will make Rhipsalis very happy.
  • A bit of plant food once a month keeps the growth going.
  • If the tendrils get too long, they can just be cut back to shape.

Hanging or trailing?

Depending on how much space you have, it can look spectacular to place several Rhipsalis together or allow them to grow downwards standing in a line. You can emphasise the plant’s jungle roots with pots made of wood, bamboo or earthenware with a bark pattern, or by hanging them from a sturdy branch. If you want to use Rhipsalis for a table display, opt for a bowl that is not too shallow (the plant has fairly deep roots) and decorate it with attractive stones, conkers and other natural finds.

Houseplant of the Month

Rhipsalis is the Houseplant for November 2018. ‘Houseplant of the Month’ is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers or is not (yet) well-known, but does have the potential to do well in the living room.

Garden Plant of the Month November: Skimmia

Skimmia, the four season wonder

This shrub (officially called Skimmia japonica) constantly manifests itself in new ways throughout the year. In November the plant displays the buds of its sturdy, attractive flower spikes. The colour and the buds continue to look beautiful all winter long. In April/May the buds open and Skimmia flowers with white/pink flowers with a strong scent: bees love them. The first new buds appear at the end of August. And one constant is the leathery leaves that remain beautifully green throughout the year.

Range

The Skimmia range has expanded in recent years with many new cultivars. They vary in terms of the colour of the bud, the leaf colour (green or variegated) and the compactness of the plant. There are both compact dwarf Skimmias and specimens that have a much larger, looser shape. The most common cultivar of Skimmia japonica is ‘Rubella’, with its red buds. There are also other red varieties such as ‘Rubesta’, ‘Rubinetta’ and ‘Red Dwarf’. Plants with green/white buds are: ‘Finchy’, ‘White Globe’, ‘White Dwarf’, ‘Godries Dwarf Green’, ‘Fragrant Cloud’ (scented). Some red berry-bearing Skimmias are: ‘Pabella’, ‘Obesssion’, ‘Veitchii’ and ‘Temptation’.

Skimmia trivia

• The first Skimmia came to Europe in 1838 and ended up in the greenhouses of Kew Gardens.
• The Latin name was created in 1784 from ‘Miyama shikimi’, the Japanese name for Skimmia.
• Skimmia japonica ‘Pabella’ is a cousin of Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’, which is known for its beautiful sprays of flowers.
• For the plant to thrive in your garden, you need to place a male Skimmia alongside a couple of ladies to ensure pollination. The male plant can be identified by its shape, it flowers slightly more vigourously and the flowers have pistils.

Origin

Skimmia is a member of the rue family (Rutaceae), which also includes citrus trees. The family resemblance is clear from the leaves: if you crush them, it releases a citrus fragrance. In the wild Skimmia grows in the forest of China and other parts of Asia such as the Himalayas. However, the version in your garden was created in a Dutch greenhouse.
What to look for when buying
• Check the balance between pot size, the number of stems per pot, the shape of the plant and the number of birds on the plant.
• Skimmia is only offered with coloured buds in November. These buds have formed in August, and will retain their marvellous colour until they flower in April. There’s therefore no need to check the ripeness in November.

Sales and display tips

Skimmia is a perfect transition plant between all the red and orange of early autumn and the approaching December festivities. Highlighted alongside other autumn successes such as heather and ivy, and supplement the display with some home accessories that match the season, such as lanterns, a boot jack and a rake. Because Skimmia is a popular front door plant (one either side of the door) it’s a good idea to display the plants symmetrically, already placed in an attractive pot or zinc bucket.
Care tips for customers
• Skimmia prefers to be in the shade where the berries will develop best.
• The plant prefers a lightly acidic soil such as rhododendron soil.
• If the leaves turn yellow the soil is not acidic enough.
• Skimmia does not like having wet feet, and therefore likes to be planted near trees that draw a lot of moisture out of the soil. In pots the water must be able to drain away.
• It’s better not to cut branches off the plant since that will harm the next flowering.
• Skimmia is moderately hardy, and only needs to be wrapped in fleece or bubblewrap during hard frosts.

Garden Plant of the Month

Skimmia is the Garden Plant for November 2018. The ‘Garden Plant of the Month’ is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant with an amazing look or unusual characteristics to put in the spotlight. Sometimes it will be a green star that’s highlighted, and sometimes an undiscovered treasure that deserves to be better known and merits a place in the garden, on the patio or on the balcony. Because everyone is happier with more plants.

Garden Plant of the Month October: Pyracantha

The glow of autumn: Pyracantha

Pyracantha (also known as firethorn) is a shrub with flaming berries in the autumn and green leaves in the winter and early spring. In May and June the plant blooms with a host of cream flowers, so that the shrub provides beauty in the garden all year round. Pyracantha likes to grow against a wall or frame, and is also suitable as a hedge plant. It’s a spectacular feature plant that can make an entire wall glow with the colour of its berries.

Range

The Pyracantha range offers a rich palette of colour in the form of red, yellow and orange berries. The plant is offered in various forms: as a pyramid, as a plant tied to stakes, or growing against a frame. The most common cultivars are ‘Soleil d’Or’ (yellow), ‘Red Column’ (red), ‘Orange Charmer’ (vermilion), ‘Orange Glow’ (orange).

Pyracantha trivia

• Pyracantha’s berries are not very popular with birds, which means they remain on the plant for a long time, well into winter. Only when the supply of food for birds really starts to run short will blackbirds and thrushes in particular eat the berries.

• The study thorns mean that pyracantha is not strokable, although small songbirds in particular like to hide their nest in the bush because the thorns protect them from cats.

• The thorns also provide natural protection against burglars and vandals. It’s not pleasant to clamber across this plant to reach a window or get over a fence.

Origin

Pyracantha is a member of the rose family, which explains the presence of thorns, and is a close relative of the thornless Cotoneaster. This garden plant grows wild from south-east Europe to southeast Asia, and has been cultivated since the 16th century. It’s widely used in gardens and parks as a colourful berry-bearing shrub because it lasts a very long time with comparatively little maintenance.

What to look for when buying

• Pyracantha should primarily be chosen for the shape. Pyracantha is offered as a plant tied to stakes, with a frame or as a ready-to-use hedging plant.

• The plants are available as a climber all year round, including without berries, but it is particularly berries that increase Pyracantha’s visual value. There should be plenty of colour on display at the time of purchase.

• Pyracantha must be free of pests and diseases.

Sales and display tips

Enrich the display of the Pyracantha range of seasonal products such as a locally grown apples in crates, pumpkins, squashes and a selection of bird food and birdhouses. Because the plant in a pot does not always do justice to the effect it will have in a garden, inspirational image material as a backdrop will enhance its appeal.

Care tips for customers

• Pyracantha will do well in shade, partial shade and full sun. • Ensure rich well-draining soil.

• Younger Pyracanthas and Pyracanthas that are used as container plants should be watered regularly. Older Pyracanthas planted in the soil can cope better with drought due to their extensive root system.

• The plant can reach a height of 4 to 5 metres and can grow quite wild. The best time for cutting back is at the end of the winter. This encourages both flowering and the formation of berries.

Garden Plant of the Month

Pyracantha is the Garden Plant for October 2018. The ‘Garden Plant of the Month’ is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant with an amazing look or unusual characteristics to put in the spotlight. Sometimes it will be a green star that’s highlighted, and sometimes an undiscovered treasure that deserves to be better known and merits a place in the garden, on the patio or on the balcony. Because everyone is happier with more plants.

Houseplants of the Month for October: Pet-friendly plants

Lovely to look at, beautifully green and no cause for panic if your dog or cat has a nibble on them: these are ideal plants for people with pets.

Every cat and dog owner knows that plants have an irresistible appeal for pets. There isn’t a cat in the world that won’t vigorously shove something green in a pot off the windowsill in order to be able to keep an eye on what’s going on whilst lounging in the sun. And there isn’t a dog that doesn’t see a plant as a potential digging project. We can’t do anything about that, but with spider plant (Chlorophytum), umbrella plant (Cyperus), cat grass (Hordeum), elephant’s foot (Beaucarnea) or bamboo (Banbusa) you can at least be sure that they won’t suffer any ill effects. And they’re also attractive to look at, even if you don’t have a pet.

The worst that can happen with these plants is that your furry friend ? / ? / ? / ?  finds it a little too tasty

Introducing…

Spider plant Long wide pale green leaves with white stripes amongst which new ‘babies’ constantly emerge.

Umbrella plant Tall stems topped with a crown that is reminiscent of a parasol or umbrella.

Elephant’s foot Sturdy trunk crowned by a cheerful curly top of narrow green strips

Bamboo Green leaves grow sideways out of sturdy trunks with a broad crown at the top.

Cat grass Fresh green and soft, this is extremely decorative roughage for your cat #hairball

Bamboo’s study trunk can also serve as a scratching post for a ?

Multicultural and safe

The selection of Pet-friendly plants has an international background. The spider plant originates from southern Africa. Elephant’s foot grows wild in Texas, California and Mexico where can reach a height of 5 to 6 metres. The umbrella plant grows on the banks of the Nile in Egypt. Bamboo originates from China, and cat grass is actually barley from the Middle East.

Go Green!

  • All Pet-friendly plants likes a light spot, but not in full sun.
  • The plants like to drink, so do not allow the soil to dry out.
  • A bit of plant food once a month keeps them strong and healthy.
  • If your pet has developed an excessively close bond with the plant, damaged leaves can be cut away. Your green friend will produce new ones of its own accord.

 ? usually find cat grass so irresistible that they leave other plants alone.

How to display them

All Pet-friendly plants will benefit from a sturdy pot so that they’d don’t topple over too quickly when prodded by an inquisitive nose. Spider plants look best as a hanging plant: if you’re placing it on a shelf a heavier pot is also advisable. Because all the Pet-friendly plants are green, they can benefit from some livening up with their container, such as pots in cheerful colours, with eye-catching reliefs or attractive patterns.

Houseplant of the Month

Pet-friendly plants are the Houseplants for October 2018. ‘Houseplant of the Month’ is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers or is not (yet) well-known, but does have the potential to do well in the living room.

Houseplant of the Month for September: Phalaenopsis

The contrast between the slender stem and the heavy comb with flowers makes Phalaenopsis a fairytale creation in many beautiful colours.

Blooming Corps de Ballet

Radiant white, vivid yellow, but also lemon and pale orange. Pink from powder to hot. Purple from lilac to fuchsia. And also with spots, stripes, freckles and raffish edges if required. In multiple colours, because the possibilities are endless with Phalaenopsis’ flowers. This green ballerina produces an opulent comb of flowers on an elegant tall stem. They can continue to bloom for up to three months, and all that time you hardly need to think about it: this orchid is ‘easy care’.

Showpieces

Whether you have a single stem of flowers flirting with you or create your own mini Shangri-La in a bowl with several plants together, a Phalaenopsis always makes an impression. It’s the ultimate flowering houseplant for creating glamour and style. And by playing with different colours it can help to make the mood serene or energetic, whether your taste is modern minimalist or colourful exotic.

Endless flowers

  • Phalaenopsis likes a light spot. From mid-October the plant can even tolerate direct sunlight.
  • Immerse the pot in water for half an hour once every 10 days, leave to drain and the job’s done!
  • Bathtime can take place weekly in summer.
  • Adding plant or special orchid food to the water once every three weeks helps all the buds open.
  • Finished flowering? Count upwards from the bottom to the second node (thickening) on the stem and cut the stem just above it. Carry on immersing as before, and the plant may re-flower after six months.

What’s with the blue plants?

Blue Phalaenopsis do not occur in the wild. The blue flowers are created by a grower’s trick whereby a white orchid is injected with a harmless colouring agent (alongside blue there is also red, black and green) which colours the petals. In the next flowering the plant will be increasingly light until the added colour has disappeared completely.

Jungle Queen Trivia Top 5

  1. The name Phalaenopsis derives from the Greek word ‘phalaina’ which means ‘moth’ and refers to the shape of the flower – hence the common name ‘moth orchid’.
  2. The orchid was brought to Western Europe by explorers in around 1700 from the tropical rainforests of Asia, New Guinea and Australia.
  3. It was one of the first tropical flowers to appear in the flower collections in Victorian orangeries.
  4. There are more than 60 different species and thousands of hybrids.
  5. In the symbolism of flowers, Phalaenopsis indicates charm, refinement and beauty.

Upside down? Not a problem.

Phalaenopsis collect moisture and nutrients with its distinctive aerial roots. A pot is always an option, but it’s not a necessity. This orchid can also be displayed upside down, from a hook on the wall or laid on a bowl. Or in an attractive glass vase in which the roots are displayed nicely. Wrapped in moss, bare and naked – Phalaenopsis doesn’t mind, as long as the roots have a soak or a misting from time to time. If you do opt for a pot, soft and bright colours or a gold or silver lustre give this orchid’s glamour levels a big boost.

Houseplant of the Month

Phalaenopsis is the Houseplant for September 2018. ‘Houseplant of the Month’ is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers or is not (yet) well-known, but does have the potential to do well in the living room.