Category Archives: Cut Flowers

corn plant

Tropical and Common Plants That Are Loving My Florida Room

plant in orange pot
Variegated Leaf Plant

In my new house there is a porch which is a little odd.  Someone visited and called it a “Florida Room” which reminded me that there are such things.  However my porch is not the traditional type that is on a corner or out back.  My Florida Room is situated between the dining area and the back bedroom.  Only one wall contains screens.  It is not enclosed and will get very hot (or cold) depending on the weather outside. More sun comes in during the winter months than will in summer, which is perfect.

It’s also not very big, considering we have a bar height table and chairs in the center, a chest freezer in the corner, and a long wooden table from my northern home along one wall. Amidst all this I have added some new tropical plants to the few I dragged with me from New Hampshire. (By the way, the New Hampshire born plants are loving all this sun and warmth!)

Some of these plants are new to me and some I am familiar with because I have grown them before. In Florida, only certain plants can take the full sunshine. It can be deadly to others by burning the leaves. Light (doesn’t mean direct sun) and warm conditions are what most of these need.

To be honest, growing plants in Florida is fairly easy. It’s almost greenhouse conditions year round. Keeping plants alive was nearly impossible in my New Hampshire home. They had hardly any sunshine and no warmth since I couldn’t afford to keep my house warm. I would set the plants near the wood stove to warm them up! And it was a very dry climate, which didn’t help either.

But I love to have plants inside. They clean the air and add a homey feel, in my opinion.

One of the plants I brought with me is this corn plant. It was not doing well, but has really begun growing like crazy in my Florida room. It’s happy now!  It’s hard to see, but there are two stalks growing here in this one pot.

The Corn Plant (as I call it) is easy to grow but it likes sun and warmth.  This one can take the full sun for part of the day.  Water when the pot feel light weight.

corn plant
Corn Plant

One of the new plants I have is a Ponytail palm. This was purchased in a small pot but I replanted it in a larger, cheap black pot. I had a nice ponytail palm a long time ago. I took it with me when I moved to New England and it died, of course. It was wishful thinking that a tropical plant would survive in a freezing cold climate, but I’d had it a long time and it was really big.
So I am growing one again for old times sake.  They are easy to grow.  Water when lifting the pot feels light.

ponytail palm in pot
Ponytail Palm

This next picture is my rubber plant. I love the unique look of this one. Those big, purple, rubbery leaves are so fun. I’ve grown them before and they can get quite large. They are shade tolerant and don’t like direct sunlight, as far as I know. But I’ve seen this type growing outside in a front yard here in Florida (in the sun) and it looks nice and healthy.  My landlady up north had a big one in her front window!  I was amazed when I saw it.  So I guess up north they will need more sun to stay warm.

For now, this one is small enough that I can take it outside when it needs water and spray the leaves too.

rubber plant
Rubber Plant

The Peace Lily is also called a “spath” which is short for spathiphyllum. This plant will grow well in a dark corner, but it can take some light too. The leaves will turn obviously toward any light, so it will have to be turned to grow upright and look nice. When the leaves begin to droop it’s time for water!

I take this one outside and spray it down when I fill the pot with water, but don’t leave it out in the sun!  This is a plant that will stay bright green without any sun.  Mine has a couple of white flowers, and hopefully it will get more.  It was recently re-potted.

peace lily spathiphyllum spath
Indoor Peace Lily

The pothos ivy, which is a common hanging plant, loves the warm and humid porch area. My hanging basket broke, so I had to put the pothos in the plant stand. It works out well because I can move the whole thing out the door and give it plenty of water outside when needed.  Most plants like to have their leaves sprayed, which gives them a good cleaning.

pothos hanging plant
Pothos

I also have some succulents scattered around the house and two orchids. I have managed to kill some beautiful succulents by overwatering. Certain types can’t be watered very often. If you are tempted to water them, set them someplace out of the way. It’s best if you can forget about them for a while! Believe me, you must be strong and NOT WATER THEM. Some succulents only need water every few MONTHS.
More on growing succulents in my next post.

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Hydrangeas and Other Green Wedding Flowers

Hydrangea
Hydrangea (Photo credit: winged photography)

Many brides will choose a green flower to either enhance their bouquet or be the central theme in the wedding decor. The unusual color of the green hydrangea makes it one of the most popular wedding flowers. The size of the bloom means it can be used alone in a vase and look beautiful decorating the reception tables.  Green hydrangeas can either be flowers that are cut in the early budding stage, when the buds are green, or flowers that bloom green – like the one pictured – or fade to green as they age.

But the green hydrangea is not the only flower Continue reading Hydrangeas and Other Green Wedding Flowers

hydrangea bouquet

How to Preserve Hydrangeas as Cut Flowers in Vases

Flowers outside in the yard will brighten the landscape, but sometimes it’s nice to bring that beauty inside.

Hydrangeas can be used as cut flowers, but keeping them alive in a vase can be tricky. In this post I will tell you how I do it, and include photos of my cut hydrangea flowers in pretty vases.

blue hydrangeas in a glass vase
Light Blue Flowers in a Little Antique Vase

First, I am something of a bud vase collector. I used to be addicted to buying every cute and unusual little vase I came across. Most of them came from yard sales and flea markets that I visited when I lived in central Florida.  I haven’t bought any in many years, but I have my favorites that I pull out each summer to hold the cuttings from my yard.

I like the shape of the little vase pictured above. The taller back is unique and it can hold any flower with a fairly short stem. The downside to this small vase is that the water dries up quickly in the small holder. I must keep an eye on it and refill often.

cuttings limelight
A Hydrangea Bouquet in Fall

This handmade vase (above) was purchased at a school fundraiser event and was made by a local artisan.  I love the unqiue look of pottery, and this vase is also nice and heavy.  These hydrangea blooms were cut late in the season, sometime in late September or October most likely.  It’s my photo, but I don’t remember.  (BlueHyd is one of my blogs).

Hydrangeas can last a long time once they are cut, if you know what to do to keep them looking nice.  In fact they can turn to dried flowers right in the vase!

So, here is the trick to cutting hydrangeas for vases and keeping them alive.  Take a bucket or big vase – filled with hot water (not boiling) – outside with you when cutting the stems.  Cut the stems as long as you can because they will be cut again inside.  As soon as the cut is made add the stem to the hot water.  

Once the bucket is full, come inside and get the vase ready by filling it with cold water.  Cut each stem again, one at a time to the length needed, and put it into the vase of cold water.  This should open up the stems so water can flow to the flower and keep it alive for a very long time.

Limelight hydrangea flowers fall
The Limelight Flower in Fall Contains Pink

If the one of the flower begins to droop, take it out and repeat the procedure by cutting the end, add to hot water for a few minutes, then cut and back to the cold in the vase.  Sometimes this won’t work.  Some flowers are bound to die, but for the most part I have great luck with this procedure.

Also remember to change out the water in the vase each day or so. The best way to do that is to dump part of the water out – never letting the stems come out of the water. Then add fresh cold water to fill it up again.

dsc05461
Pinky Winky Hydrangea Buds in a Copper Vase

Hydrangeas are beautiful as buds, full grown blooms or late summer / fall colors. Anytime is a good time to bring hydrangeas inside to brighten the home.  The Pinky Winky is one of my favorite varieties, and I have a page full of Pinky Winky hydrangea photography taken of the one growing in my yard.

Vases Filled With Light Blue Hydrangeas

hydrangea flowers in vases
From the Garden

Vases with blue hydrangeas- the Endless Summer variety.  It’s not too hard to fill a vase with hydrangea flowers.  Generally they are huge, and one will fill any kind of vase nicely.  Some of my new plants were flattened by a torrential rainstorm we had just after I planted them and they still bloomed, but the blooms are laying on the ground facing upwards.

Today I decided to cut them and bring some inside, but getting them to look okay in a vase is not easy since the heads are greatly bent sideways.

I brought a vase full of hot water outside with me and plopped the cut stems into it right away.  That keeps the white sap from clogging the stems so the flowers won’t wilt right away.  Than they are added to cold water once I go inside – snipping a bit off the bottom of the stem first.

I dug out my little vases – one is actually an empty Patron tequila bottle- and filled them with the light blue flowers.  I need these photos for my work as I get ready to add new wedding stationery to my BlueHyd store.