It’s February, Valentine’s Day is around the corner and love is in the air. And nothing says, “I love you!” like a healthy plant and beautiful flowers. In an effort to avoid the cliché of roses, here are some suggestions for plant gifts the object of your affection is sure to love.
Anthurium (Flamingo Flowers)
The first plant that might make a great gift for your loved one is anthurium. There are about 1,000 different species of anthurium and their flowers come in red, pink, salmon, pale green and orange. The most common variety available at most plant nurseries is red. The flowers are on a tubular protrusion above a broad, flat, heart-shaped petal. Nothing says love like a heart-shaped flower.
Anthuriums make great houseplants as they are easy to care for and hardy. They do best in low-level lighting, so keep them out of the direct sunlight. The potting mix should contain lots of organic material. When feeding your anthurium, water using quarter-strength nutrients every other watering. Anthuriums are tropical plants and you must keep them in the temperature range of 60 to 72°F.
Saintpaulia (African Violets)
African violets produce some of the most beautiful flowers in the plant kingdom. They are small plants with little, velvety leaves. African violets create clusters of small, vibrantly colored flowers in every shade and combination imaginable of blue, purple, violet, white and pink. These indoor gems can brighten any room or windowsill and there is a variety that is sure to please your sweetheart.
African violets are a great plant to grow indoors. They grow best in medium to bright indirect sunlight. This could be a sunny windowsill or under T5 fluorescent light bulbs. Soil should be kept moist but not soggy. Humidity should be kept at 50 to 60%, accomplished either by frequent misting with water (every two or three days), by keeping a humidifier in the room or sitting the plant’s pot in the top of a tray with expanded clay pellets that you can keep damp. When feeding your African violets, use half-strength fertilizer every other watering so the leaves and roots don’t burn. They must have at least 8 hours of darkness to flower. Pinch spent blossoms to encourage new growth.
If you are looking for a unique, breathtakingly beautiful flower for your spouse or loved one this Valentine’s Day, look no further than the orchid. There are hundreds of orchid varieties and hybrids, each with the ability to bloom some of the most strange and beautiful flowers on earth. Orchid flowers come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They look like some sort of alien bloom from another planet.
As there are so many different types of orchids, each with its own specific needs, I will focus on the more popular varieties, Phalaenopsis and Dodendrum. These orchids produce small to medium-sized flowers from one or more flower spikes. Orchids evolved in a way where their roots are airborne. They cling to trees and rocks, getting their moisture from rainfall, fog or morning/evening dew.
To grow orchids indoors they should be planted in an inert medium with lots of air such as sphagnum moss, wood chips, coco coir or expanded clay. Anything too compact will retain too much water and not enough air, drowning the roots. Orchids grow best in medium to bright indirect sunlight.
Placing them in a sunny windowsill or under fluorescent light bulbs will meet this requirement. Orchids like a warm, humid environment between 65 and 82°F and 50 to 80% humidity. Misting your orchid twice a week with room temperature water will help them thrive. Do not overwater your orchids and only use half-strength fertilizer every second or third watering.
Maybe your spouse or loved one will enjoy something different than your typical romantic flower. Maybe the Venus flytrap is right for them. Venus is the Roman goddess of love and beauty. She could eat any mortal man alive. The Venus flytrap is also strangely beautiful and is a carnivorous plant.
They evolved in an environment where there is little to no nutrients available in the soil, thus they evolved the ability to lure and catch insects and small amphibians into their leaves. The leaves are open with little hairs that when triggered close tight around their prey, which is then slowly digested, feeding the plant.
Venus flytraps are best grown in terrariums. They require moist roots, high humidity, full sunlight, poor, acidic soil and a food source such as small feeder crickets. Terrariums help maintain humidity, temperature levels and light levels and house the food source. Do not water with any nutrients and use only distilled water as the Venus flytrap has no tolerance for chlorine.
There are so many different plants and flowers that can make a great gift for your significant other. Whether you get them an African violet, a flamingo flower, a stunning orchid or the carnivorous Venus flytrap, the gift of gardening is always a great one.