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Help! Why Won’t My Christmas Cactus Bloom?

Ask The Expert:

“I have had this Christmas cactus for 15 years, it’s bloomed once. What am I doing wrong?” – Elizabeth

Christmas CactusFlower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:


While you may think that temperature is a factor in blooming, daylight length is actually the key. Christmas cacti are triggered to bloom during short days. This can be achieved by placing the plant in a dark bedroom or by covering the plant for 15 or more hours a day. It may take up to a month to trigger the plant to produce bloom buds, but once the buds appear the plant can be returned to its usual viewing location. Remember to avoid extreme temperatures that would hinder bud release.

Click for more information on the Christmas Cactus.

Help! My Anthurium’s Red Blooms Are Now Small & White

AnthuriumAsk the Plant Expert:

Hi, I have an Anthurium for approx. two years. When i got it, it had one bright red flower. Since then the flower developed, suffering at times, due to my poor care. After learning how to properly care for it, it started to grow ( lots of healthy, big  leaves) and then it flowered. Right now it has three whitish flowers, smaller than the initial one. Is it possible to revert  the plant to the red  color flowers? – Corina

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

When you say white, do you mean the blooms are faded or are truly white in color.  High temperatures (90°) can cause the bloom color to fade or wash out.  Although it doesn’t occur often, if the pH of the soil is high, the bloom color can become lighter.  Anthuriums are best when the soil pH is 5.5 and a well-balanced fertilizer with Ca, Mg and other trace elements that are used during the non-flowering cycle.  During the flowering cycle, you should use a fertilizer with a slightly higher phosphate content like a 20:30:20 or 6:14:7 blend.

As for the smallness of the blooms, your plant may be getting too much light.  High light concentration can cause the blooms to be smaller in size. Hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if I can help with anything else.

What’s A Good Houseplant To Order Now In West Point, NY?

Ask The Plant Expert:

What houseplant is good to order this time of the year in West Point NY? I also need something not poisonous to babies and cats. -Cassandra

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

If you want a blooming plant, I would recommend the Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) or Bromeliad (Guzmania lingulata major), which are both very safe for pets and children.

Christmas Cactus - Safe for pets and children.
Christmas Cactus
Bromeliad House Plant - Safe for children and pets

If you want a nice green plant, I would recommend a Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans).

[Read more…]

Help! My Christmas Cactus Has Not Bloomed In 2 Years

Ask The Plant Expert:

My Christmas cactus has not bloomed the last 2 years. I love my cactus and have not had the problem before. I get new growth, but no blooms. -Loree

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

Get Your Own Pink Christmas CactusLike poinsettias, daylight length is a major blooming factor for Christmas Cactus. Blooming is triggered by short days. If the cactus doesn’t receive the right short-day light exposure, the plant will not bloom.

To force your Christmas cactus to bloom place the plant in a dark bedroom, or cover for 15 hours a day. Do this for up to 30 days. Once the bloom buds appear the plant can be returned to its usual viewing location.

Be careful not to exposure the plant to extreme temperatures since this will cause pre-mature bud drop/loss.

Hope this information was helpful. Please let me know if I can help with anything else.

Will My Azaleas Bloom Again This Season?

Send A Azalea Houseplant Ask the Expert: Do azaleas flower more than once in a season? I have an Azaelea that flowered profusely in April, now flowers have died, but new green leaves are growing, but will this plant flower again this season?

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Diane,

There is a variety of Azaleas that blooms more than once; it is called the Encore series. If you have this type of azalea it can bloom again in the summer and in the fall. If you do not have this type of azalea it will not bloom again, and you need to prune them before July. If you prune them after July you may not have good blooming next spring.

Hope this helps.

What Is This Unique Bloom?

Ask the Expert: what kind of flower is this?
Thank you for your help. John

Cucurbit Bloom - Squash or Gourd
Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: It looks like a bloom from a cucurbit which is any plant from the gourd family. Without seeing a leaf or what the flower is attached to, I would say it probably is a squash bloom most likely a yellow squash.

Anthurium Water & Fertilizer Requirements

Ask the Expert: How often should I water my pink Anthurium?
Should I water it every day or once a week ? should I add plant food or keep it in or out of the sun ? Donna Marie

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

Anthurium do best in a humid environment. Therefore, you need to water evenly and spray with luke warm water. This will vary depending on your specific conditions. In an area that has a hot dry climate, you may need to mist your anthurium every day and water every couple of days. In a humid environment you may go a week or two without watering.

The best rule of thumb is to do the soil squeeze test. Stick your finger down in the soil up to your first joint. Pull a small amount of soil out. If you can roll the soil into a ball and squeeze out water or if the ball stays together, you don’t need to give the plant anymore water. If you can’t roll the soil into a ball and it is powdery, give it some water.

As for fertilizer, during the growing season you can give it a light water soluble fertilizer every two to three weeks.  Don’t fertilize during the winter. The plant will tend to need more water during the spring and summer even if kept inside. During the fall and winter, you can reduce your watering depending on your specific environmental conditions.

What Is This Spikey Pink Pinecone Looking Flower

kalmia-latifoliaAsk the Expert: can you identify this plant please. As you can see by the photograph, before the flower opens it looks rather spikey like a pink pinecone but opens into a simple type of bell flower. Can it be grown in Zone 3? Kate

Flower Shop Network‘s Plant Expert Reply:

This flower identification was a hard one for me. So, I contacted Rick Pudwell at the Memphis Botanical Garden. Luckily for me, he was able to identify it. Here is his identification:

It appears to be Mountain Laurel, Kalmia latifolia. I t is a native shrub in the North Eastern U.S. through the Smoky Mountains. It is difficult to grow unless you live in an area with similar conditions.

Mountain Laurel’s cupped-shaped flowers bloom from late spring to mid-summer. It has pink to white flowers with crimson to dark pink buds. This dense bushy shrub is sometimes called Calico bush. They like to grow in moist, humus-rich soil. in partial shade or moist sunny areas.

How Can I Tell If Azalea Is Dead?

Hot Pink Azalea

Hot Pink Azalea

Ask the Expert: Is it dead an azalea that lose all its leaves?
I bought this azalea in february and did very good for one month and then started to lose the flowers and all the leaves. It was inside my house in a spot with good light, so I thougt that maybe needed to be outside, but is not looking good neither. Jennifer.

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

The first thing you need to do is check the viability of the Azalea. You can do this by testing the stems for signs of green. Take your fingernail and lightly scrape the stem. If the you see green where you scraped the stem the plant is still alive. If it isn’t green go further down the stem until you find  green. You will need to trim off any part of the stem that isn’t green.

Once you have determined that your azalea is still alive, you need to make sure it is planted in the ground or pot in a container with good drainage.  After the azalea is in its new home you need to keep it moist but not soggy and fertilize it once a month (April through August) with a slow release fertilizer.  The Azalea will do best in an area with at least half a day sun.

Side note: Anytime you receive an Azalea from a florist shop and it comes with pretty foil around it, remove the foil within a couple days. Foil is great for dressing up the  Azalea, but it doesn’t allow for proper drainage. So remove it as soon as possible.

This plant care question was brought to you by local Raleigh Florists.

How To Make Sure Your Hanging Basket Of Petunias Stays Pretty

Ask the Expert: hanging baskets of petunia’s
My son bought me two of the largest, most beautiful hanging baskets of petunia’s for Mother’s Day.  I was with him and the lady said to “water them every evening until water come’s out of the drain hole, and feed them 1/3 cup of the mixture on the Micerial Grow Box,” and I would have flowers until frost.  I mixed the Miricial Grow Plant food as directed, one scop to every two gallons of water.

My plants are still as beautiful as the day he bought them, and I do what the lady told me to do.  My question is: Do they do this just to keep them beautiful until they sell them or if I am doing the right thing by following her advice?  I clean out the dead leaves and such around the soil each morning when I feed them, and I pick off the dead flowers at that time as well, I have had a few that have the stem has [Read more…]