Michaleen's Florist and Garden Center

Plant Care

Just like us, plants are not all the same. Conditions and needs many vary. Please call us anytime if you have any questions about your specific plant care needs. You may also ask for a plant-care sheet when you make a plant purchase here at Michaleen's.

Abutilon-Flowering Maple

Although the flowering maple may be grown outdoors in warmer regions, it is most often grown as a house plant. The flowering maple is not really a maple at all, but rather part of the mallow family. The common name is derived from their maple-shaped leaves. Our grandmothers knew them as parlor maples because they adapted themselves so well to indoor blooming year round. Flowering maples should be pruned to shape lest they become leggy and spindly. They grow best with full sun or filtered bright light and a median temperature of 60-75 degrees. They require a well drained but evenly moist soil. The plant will benefit from being kept outdoors in filtered sun during the summer months, but must be returned indoors before frost. (Be sure to check carefully for insects when you bring them back in). Prune hard when you first bring it in and fertilizing when new growth appears. Pinch frequently to encourage bushy growth, and fertilize regularly. Long awkward shoots may be pruned back at any time. Flowering maples should be repotted in the spring if it becomes necessary, but only into a slightly larger pot unless you want to drastically increase the size of your plant.

Allamanda-Golden Trumpet Vine

The Golden Trumpet Vine, Allamanda Cathartica is a tropical tender perennial best grown as an annual or container plant. It is a TOXIC plant, but it also attracts hummingbirds. Allamanda grows best in full sun. It grows rapidly to a height of 6--8 ft. It climbs and sprawls but needs to be tied, and prefers rich humus soil. Because Allamanda is a prolific bloomer, feed your plant with a liquid fertilizer, mixed half strength. Fertilize with this mixture every two weeks throughout the spring and summer. Start cutting back on the feeding frequency in late August, with the last feeding at the end of September, giving it a rest during the winter months. Keep the plant on the dry side until spring. Around the first of April you can start fertilizing again.

Anthuriums

Anthuriums require little care, and bloom almost continuously in good conditions. This blooming plant likes bright indirect light. It needs to dry out to the touch between watering, making good drainage essential. Even when they are not in bloom, they are beautiful foliage plant. To get continual blossoms use a fertilizer with blossom booster. Anthuriums are basically pest free. Deadhead old flowers and cut back old leaves.

Bougainvillea

Bougainvilleas need full sunlight, no less, or they will not bloom. A common misconceptionis that bougainvilleas can bloom all year if properly grown in good light. Growth in the winter can be retarded if plants are kept too cool. A warmer environment encourages new growth which leads to repeat flowering. During the blooming period, never let the potted plant wilt or stand in too much water. Bougainvillea need a happy medium. Incorperating a well balanced slow-release fertilizer into the soil at planting time will encourage growth and blooming for a long time. Too much nitrogen, however, will cause excessive leaf growth leading to delayed or aborted blooming. Iron it also vital. Any soluble granular iron works well. This plant will bloom on new growth. With proper pruning, sunlight and water plants will repeat a blooming cycle every four weeks. A rule of thumb is, once the blooming is over, prune one half of the growth. Also, "pinching" encourages new growth and flowers maintains a compact, manageable plant.

Bromeliad

Do not put your new plant in the full sun. Low to bright-diffused light will be just fine. The biggest mistake is over watering your new plant. Remember, when your plant is in a containter where water cannot drain, it will rot. Put a half cup of water in the center of the plant, known as the "cup". Next, water the mix where the plant is in with another half-cup of water. When the mix dries out, add another half cup of water. In most cases, watering is only once a week, but you need to determine the situation. A "rolled" leaf indicates too little water. The "cup" should be flushed out periodically. If you are growing indoors, you may need to mist the plant in addition to watering in order to prevent drying of the leaves by the low humidity. When the bloom starts to fade take a sharp knife or a pair of pruning shears and cut off the bloom spike as far down as you can. You can keep growing your plant just as you have in the past. The plant over time will begin to put out new plants r what we call "pups" from the base. Now is also a good time to move the plant into some brighter light if possible. The plant will never bloom again from the original plant. The new "pups" will grow up and they can flower if given enough care and light.

Gardenias

Gardenias can be successfully grown in the home, but they won't tolerate neglect like many other houseplants. Gardenias thrive in bright light, cool temperatures and moderately humid air. Your challenge in growing the gardenia as a houseplant is to match the plants native environment as closely as possible. First, make sure you give the plant plenty of bright light, preferably direct sunshine for at least half a day. Cooler room temperatures are best, around 55F at night and about 10 degrees warmer a day. Maintaining proper relative humidity is a challenge, particularly during the winter heating season. A healthy, blooming gardenia will need to be nurtured with a steady supply of water and nutrients but don't overdo. Monitor the soil frequently for moisture content and water thoroughly as the top inch of the soil dries. Use a fertilizer that is formulated for acid-loving, blooming plants, such as an azalea-type product, according to rates listed on the label. Don't be afraid to prune; in fact blooming will be more prolific on younger growth. Though the responsibilities of gardenia care are daunting, if you persevere, you'll be rewarded with elegant white blossoms and sweet fragrance that simply cannot be matched by other plants.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus are tropical plants that need a lot of direct light and warmth to thrive. They like water but do not let it stand with 'wet feet'. The soil needs to dry out between waterings. It also needs regular feedings during the growth period, March-October for prolific flowering. Hibiscus wants loamy but not too heavy soil. Use a professional mix to get a less compacted soil. This plant has a good root system, and replanting is usually carried out in the spring. Loosen the roots and replant in a one size larger pot than before. The best time for pruning is August-October, but some practice spring pruning with good results. Pruning is carried out not only to get a more harmonious plant but also to stimulate budding as hibiscus flower on new shoots. All hibiscus get yellow leaves from time to time. A few yellow leaves usually only mean that the leaves are getting old. Other reasons for yellow leaves are stress, caused by drastic environmental changes, or pest invasions, especially spider mite. Buds drop often caused by drought or severe pest attacks.

Jasmine Illicifolium

This Jasmine is a fine easy care shrub blooming well in sunny conditions. It blooms on and off for most of the year. It prefers at least a half a day of direct sunlight, and a full day is even better. It is tolderant of most soils. They are easy to manage with reasonable water and decent drainage. Do not overwater. Fertilize normally, but lightly. A water soluble fertilizer used half strength on a monthly basis works well. General principle is to err on the side of neglect. It is warm temperatures, 60-90 degrees. Prune to keep it well shaped.

Mandevilla/Dipladenia

Mandevilla-In Florida these plants are grown in full sun. So make sure that you give them very high, bright, direct light. Basically they like hot dry conditions. They prefer nighttime temperatures that remain above 65 degrees, hotter during the day. The tend to drop leaves during the winter when its cooler but will sprout anew come spring. Ideally, Mandevillas should be given a generously large container with a fertile, well drained soil. They are sensitive to being too wet. Allow the plants to dry out between waterings. When you do water, make sure that you water thoroughly. The real beauty of this plant is the flowers. The flowering forces the plant to use up a lot of energy, so a good well balanced fertilizer will help in keeping the plant healthy and flowering. Most likely, the plants will require some pinching to keep them in bounds. They really are easy to care for, and add color whenever they are growing.

Diplandenia-There is another plant that is similar to the Mandevilla called Diplandenia. but there are a few differences between them. First, we usually find Mandevilla grown in a trellised plant. The Diplandenia is grown as a potted or basketed plant and the flowers are larger and the leaves are not as leathery. Mandevillas also have a tendancy to vine more.

Orchids

In the home, orchids want a spot near or in a bright window. Indirect bright light and morning sun are great. Limit direct light in the hot summer months. The ideal temperatues for the orchids range between 55 and 85 degrees F. Cool night time temperatures in the fall encourage flower spike initiation. However, once flower spike is developed, wide swings in temperature can cause unopened buds to drop off. Orchids also benefit from moderate humidity. In a heated home you will want to see that your plant is on a shallow tray filled with gravel and water. Make sure that the plant's roots are not sitting in water. Orchids do not like to be dry to the point of wilting, they should be watered thoroughly and then not again until the media is nearly dry. How often you water will depend on the type of media your orchid is growing in and it's growing environment. Once every week to ten days is a good starting point. Fertilize weekly. You can often urge a second flowering from each spike with a timely pruning, from the base of the spole count out three nodes. Cut the spike one inch above the third node, and in a few short weeks it may produce a new spray of fresh blooms. By trying this, you could enjoy flowers nearly six months of the year on the same plant.

Passion Flower

The Passion Flower is best suited to a sunny room or greenhouse. Ideally, it should have 4 hours of bright light and direct sunlight daily throughout the year. The plant may be summered outside. In spite of it's "passion" for bright light, it prefers temperatures on the cooler side especially in the winter. It will tolerate slightly warmer temperatures in the summer but is likely to become infested with spider mites. Cooler temperatures in winter will allow it a rest period. Keep your passion vines evenly moist (but with good drainage) while actively growing. Beginning in late August, let them dry out a bit between waterings but never completely. Fertilize every two weeks with 20-20-20- plus micro-nutrients from spring through fall while the plants are actively growing. Use a loam-based potting soil and keep it slightly pot-bound. Passion vines tend to flower more freely when confined. Repot every two years in late winter or early spring, allowing the plant to recuperate for a week in a cool shady area before putting it back in a sunny location. Prune passion vines to within 6 inches of the soil or to 6 to 8 buds in early spring and a few weeks prior to repotting. This should encourage flowering on the new growth.

Plumbago

Plumbago is easily cultivated in pots and gardens. It is a sun loving plant, requiring direct sunlight. The number of flowers reproduced depends directly on how much sun the plant gets, in other words; the more sunlight the more flowers. Blooming starts in early spring and lasts until late fall or until the temperature drops. Plumbago's blooming is profuse under good conditions. You will appreciate a pale blue flowery trellis on your balcony or garden. So will butterflies who are attracted by the flowers of this plant. Water often because Plumbago loves water. Plumbago will wilt immediately if it needs watering. During the winter, water once a week or less often depending on the weather. Prune back in early spring as hard as you wish and don't worry because it's rapid growth in spring will camouflage any mistakes. A light pruning during blooming will help remove dead flowers and leaves while at the same time by pinching top growth you will get a bushier plant. Repotting should be done in spring or early fall. Repot when the roots have occupied all the space because Plumbagos like to be a little pot bounded. Depending on the size of the plant you should repot every 2-3 years. Use a liquid fertilizer, for blooming plants, every 15 days from spring until fall. Also, during this blooming period, add iron every 2 months to enhance the green color of the leaves that tend to yellow easily.

Stephanotis

The Bridal Wreath thrives with bright but indirect lighting. Also, try to provide some humidity as this plant will do better. Although this is not critical for the plant's survival. The Madagascar Jasmine is a vine with twining growth habit so you need to provide a support for it One important point to remember is not to move the plant when in bloom. The temperature should be moderate, 60-85F preferable at the cooler end during the rest period. Temperatures below 40F should be avoided. Even watering throughout the growth season, March-September, especially if your plant is in bud or bloom. Keep somewhat on the dry side during the rest period. Feed with a fertilizer suitable for tropical plants during the growing season. Please note that if you want lots of flowers you need to give your Stephanotis a rest period during the winter months, October-February. Some of the longer, tender shoots might wither down during this time which is normal. Prune back soft wood in spring to encourage flowering. Also, remove all dead or damaged wood. While doing this you may carefully straighten up the tangle of branches this plant often creates. Fasten branches to the support and help the plant to twine the right way.





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