2013-03-29 / Columnists

Diary of a Green Thumb

Reviving and replacing our plants ...indoors and out
By Danielle of Danielle’s Rockaway Florist

Super storm Sandy has taken such a toll on our houseplants; so many of us have even lost plants that we have had in our homes for years. After your efforts of rebuilding, you may notice that you are missing that finishing touch, but green or blooming plants will help add life to your home again! Decorative pots and spring home decor can be the perfect complement to your new colors and furniture.

Welcoming home a neighbor with a colorful wreath for their front door or a colorful potted bulb plant for their garden would be such a nice gesture. As you get into the spring groove and want to add a pop of color to the front of your home you may consider replacing your evergreen shrubs or placing clusters of potted blooming plants along the walkway. We are continuing landscape design and would be happy to help you plan a new layout for a garden that is better than ever.

Now is your chance to have that backyard escape you have always dreamed of. With all of the hard work you have been doing inside, rest assured that you can count on us to take on the work outdoors for you.

In hopes that you were able to save some of your indoor plants, it is very important that we give them special care to make sure they grow full and strong. After a long winter, our houseplants will be coming out of dormancy. It is time to give them a boost of energy through fertilization. In their natural habitat their soil is steadily replenished by decomposing vegetables and animals leaving a fertile, healthy environment. Maintaining a healthy level of nutrients in the soil will prevent your houseplants from losing its lower leaves and getting scorched edges or brown spots. Malnutrition can also lead blooming plants to have fewer flowers, muted color tones, or no flower growth at all. Fertilizing is recommended from March through October when your houseplants are actively growing. You must follow the label directions for frequency and dilution. We should begin preparing our plants for successful fertilizing by dusting and cleaning both sides of the leaves with a damp cloth. Hairy leaves should only be cleaned with a soft cosmetic brush to loosen dirt and dust that has settled over time. There are many ways to apply fertilizer. Water-soluble fertilizers work well because they are evenly distributed throughout the soil rather than concentrated in one area. In some cases, they need to be applied with every watering. If your plant is kept in a very sunny area slow re- lease fertilizers are the best way to provide your plants with the nutrients needed to be strong and fruitful. Spike fertilizers work well, though you must be careful not to insert the spikes too close to the roots of the plant. A concentrated dose of fertilizer can be too strong and burn the root hairs. This may prevent uptake of water and nutrients and stop them from growing at all.

The best and most common fertilizers for indoor plants contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. The nitrogen encourages lush leaf growth. Phosphorous is important for blooming plants; it promotes strong root growth and flower development.

Potassium gives plants the energy they need to resist disease and grow strong, healthy stems.

Be sure to give your plants the right nutrients and they will thank you by producing healthy leaves, strong stems, and colorful blooms!

Visit us online at www.DaniellesRockawayFlorist.com or stop in to see our seasonal plants and home decor at 436 Beach 129th Street. Looking forward to seeing everyone back home again soon!

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