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Is This Plant A Billbergia?

Ask the Expert: What is this plant?

I have been searching several websites trying to find out what this plant is. It blooms only once a year around Jan.-Feb. the leaves are a little prickly. I take it outdoors in the summer. I live in Ohio. Gloria

Plant Expert Reply:

It looks like the plant is blooming. Can you send me a better picture of the bloom? I think this is some type of Bromeliaceae, but I need to see a picture of the bloom.

Gloria’s Reply:

This is a picture of the flowers. Thanks for your help.

Plant Expert Reply:

Thank you for the picture of the bloom. I believe the plant belongs to the family Bromeliaceae and the genus Billbergia. However I am not sure which species. I will place you question and pictures on the blog to see if any of the readers can identify the plant.

I love plant identification questions like this one — where I need a little help from our readers.

So if anyone has a better identification of the plant or knows the species of the plant, PLEASE place your identification or other information in the comments section below.

How And When To Cut Blooms On A Gardenia

Ask The Plant Expert: I just bought a small gardenia plant, and it came with two buds on it already. One of them bloomed beautifully, but now, after about 6 days, looks like it is ready to go. My question is, do you cut it off? If so, how, and will it bloom again? I really hope that it does because it smells so beautiful. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Sheri, Yes, you can cut the old bloom off. If the conditions are right, gardenias bloom from late spring until fall. Gardenias bloom on new growth, so pruning is a essential.

Blooming depends on a lot of factors. In fact, gardenias are a little temperamental.

  • First, they like a humid environment. However, you should only mist the air surrounding the gardenia, and not the leaves of the plant. Misting the leaves can cause a fungal problem. You can use a humidifier to create the environment they like.
  • Soil moisture is the second contributing factor to blooming. Under-watering or over-watering can cause gardenia bud drop. Keep the soil of the plant uniformly moist, but not soggy.
  • The plant will need a full sun exposure in the house, and a slightly shady exposure outside. Really hot temperatures can inhibit blooming. Gardenias like temperatures around 65° to 70°.  They do not like sudden temperature changes. Keep them away from door or air vent drafts.
  • Fertilize your gardenia April through November. You can use a water soluble or granular balanced fertilizer.

I hope this information is helpful.

Help! My Gardenia’s Buds Keep Falling Off

Ask The Expert: Indoor gardenia care to prevent buds from falling off? – Rose

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Rose,

There a few things that cause bud drop in gardenias: an insect problem, low humidity, root damage and rapid temperature change.

Insect problems – Your gardenia may have a insect called, thrips. This insect can be found in the bud itself. Take a fallen bud and open it up, do you see tiny, little crawling things? If so, you have thrips and will need a systemic insectide to get rid of them. Your local garden center will have this product.

Low humidity – Gardenias prefer a climate with moist air. If you live in a dry climate, or the air in your house is dry, you will nee to moisten the air by misting it with luke warm water every day or every other day. This doesn’t take the place of watering, this will be in addition to watering.

Root damage – This problem can occur if your have nematodes, or if you have recently transplanted the gardenia.

Rapid Temperature Change – Gardenias do not like rapid temperature changes. Make sure the plant is not in the direct path of a doorway or an air vent. These cause an air path that allows for rapid temperature changes. Also if you are delivering the gardenia, make sure the delivery van is as close to your shop temperature as possible.

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

Got An Orchid As A Gift, Now How Do I Take Care Of It?

Ask The Expert: Sent an orchid to a friend who would like information about how to care for it.

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Joy,

It depends do you know what kind of orchid was sent? Phalaenopsis or oncidium?  Phelaenopsis have large blooms. If this is the type your friend received, our Phalaenopsis Orchid Care post will be very helpful. As for Oncidium orchids, they need very filtered or subdued light and must be kept moist but not soggy. It is okay to let them become slightly dry between watering.

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

What To Do After My Indoor Bromeliad Has Bloomed?

Indoor Bromeliad CareAsk The Expert: What to do after my indoor Bromeliad has bloomed? Do I snip off the dead bloom, and if so where? Will it the Bromeliad bloom again?

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Yes, you will need to snip off the bloom. Cut the stem off inside the cup. Bromeliads flower only once in a lifetime.

After the blooming cycle, the mother plant will have offspring sprouting from the base which, at the proper time, will bloom. The feeding in this period is stronger. Use the same fertilizer at the same strength but with every watering.

When the pups become big enough to separate from the mother, gently remove them, pot in their own container, and care for them just like you did the mother plant. If you lose roots, start misting daily for two weeks. The pup will eventually bloom and become a mother plant.

Hopefully this information helps. Please let me know if you need anything else.

Houseplants For Earth Day: Reminders To Use The 3 R’s!

Earth Day is a special holiday which we celebrate our wonderful Mother Earth. Everything we are, we owe to the earth and it’s resources. The wood that’s in our houses, the metal in our cars, the glass in our windows, even the plastic in our water bottles are made from resources we’ve mastered here on earth. This is why Earth Day is such an important celebration; to remind us to be thankful of what we have and to practice the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle!) to ensure our resources for future generations.


English Ivy HouseplantA great way to celebrate Earth Day is to bring the wonderful creations of earth indoors. A houseplant is a great way to remind yourself to practice the 3 R’s daily around the house! Getting into a habit of earth friendliness is always a good thing. In addition to their eco-goodness, houseplants are a beautiful addition to any indoor space. By the use of color and texture you can instantly change the look and mood of a room!

How To Select The Perfect Houseplant

When selecting your houseplant, consider the conditions of the room or area they will be growing. What type of lighting does it have? How is the humidity? All are factors needed for your plant to be comfortable and thrive. You should also consider how much care and time you have available to give to your houseplant. Some plants are happy as they are and require very little supervision, but some require much more care. When buying a houseplant from a quality source, such as your local florist, explain to them what you can offer your houseplant and they will suggest the perfect new plant just for you!

FSN also offers a great resource when it comes to houseplants. Our Houseplant Care & Information page has many of the common houseplants listed with their care and information explained by our experts.

Houseplant Toxicity – Be sure to consider your pets when buying a houseplant. Many common houseplants are toxic and harmful to pets. Check out our houseplant toxicity list before buying your new plant.

Here Are 3 Main Types Of Houseplants
Green Houseplants
| Tropical Houseplants |
Flowering Houseplants

Green Houseplants Tropical Houseplant Flowering Houseplant

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What Is This Plant With Purple Flowers And Interesting Foliage?

Ask the Expert: What is this purple flowering plant
I recently acquired this plant. A friend called it a “Purple Jasmine” and said that it takes full sun. In my internet searches I have not found a picture of a purple jasmine that looks like this plant. Melanie

Flower Shop Network‘s Plant Expert Reply:
What you have is a Pletranthus ciliatus – a plant with textured green leaves that are red/purple underneath. In late summer this very heat tolerant plant produces purple blooms.

This plant has interesting foliage with a mounding habit growing 10-12″ in height and width. It is an annual plant unless you live in zone 10-11. This low maintenance plant will take full to partial sun. It can be used in landscapes as well as containers.

It is also adaptable as a houseplant and does not need deadheading.

This plant identification question was brought to you by the local florists in St Petersburg FL.

Pink Pipe Cleaner Looking Bloom Is A Chenille Plant

Ask the Expert: What kind of plant is this?
acalypha-hisponiolaeHi I want to buy some of these plants but I can’t find anywhere what they are called. Can you please take a look and tell me the name? I have always called them pipe cleaner plants and am having a horrible time finding them cause I don’t know their proper name. Thank you Raquel

Plant Expert Reply:

The plant is a Chenille plant (Acalypha hispida). Some people call it a red-hot cat’s tail plant. It is often used as a houseplant.

Pink Blooms & Glossy Green Leaves On Vine Must Be A Hoya

Hoya Flower & Leaf

Hoya Flower & Leaf

Ask the Expert: What is this plant?
A friend of mine had a plant that he inherited with his office.  It had nice shiny leaves that grew on long vines.  They’re about 4′ long.  Green with small white spots.  I took a clipping.

It took some years (3), but it finally stared to grow.  It just grows and grows.  It never bloomed until a few weeks ago (3 more years), and then I got these little sprays of 5-petal pink flowers that are about 1/2′ across.  There are 17 on one spray.

What is this and what do I do with the flowers?

Kevin Ansley

Plant Expert Reply:

Your plant goes by the name Hoya , wax flower, wax plant, wax vine.  The genus for this plant is Hoya and it has many species within this genus.  I believe from the bloom and the leaf that you have Hoya carnosa.

You probably have noticed that the blooms are very fragrant.  You don’t have to do anything with the blooms until they are spent. When the bloom has deteriorated beyond attractiveness simply cut it away from the vine.

What Is This Flowering Houseplant?

Denny & Jo asks:

Could you help me identify a flowering houseplant given to me? I received this plant a couple of years ago and have cut off stems as they grow long and just pushed them back into the soil for additional growth. About a month ago I noticed that one of the plant was starting to bud. It had never done this before. About a week ago the buds opened into small yellow/orange flowers. I have had the plant (Now 2 plants, since I transplanted some of the stems into a different planter) for at least 2 years with never any indication of buds or flowers. I have attached several photos of the plants.


Reply: The plant you have is a Kalanchoe. Blooming is day length sensitive. It is a short-day plant meaning blooming occurs when light exposure has been restricted. Please let me know if you have any other questions.