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December Birth Flower: Narcissus

Even though it’s the holiday season, we can’t let you forget about the people in your life with December birthdays! The birth flower for December is the Narcissus. Keep reading to learn more about this gorgeous wintry flower. [Read more…]

Need A Cool Birthday Gift This March?

Potted Daffodils Are Great Birthday Gifts

Potted Daffodils Are Great Birthday Gifts

It says a lot about you when the flower that you’re holding seems to reach out to hug you. Perhaps I just love flowers and want the favor returned, but this is exactly the image that I’m presented with when gazing upon daffodils.

“Daffodils” is the term associated with flowers of the Narcissus genus, while jonquils are the commonplace term for the specific species, Narcissus jonquilla. Jonquils (Narcissus jonquilla) actually refers to the seventh division of daffodils. Divisions for this flower are based mostly on their different flower forms. Whatever the reason for this extra specificity, jonquils share the title for the birth month flower of March.

With both daffodils and jonquils taking center stage this month, I figured that this would be a great chance to talk up the pretty blooms.

Send Daffodil Flower Arrangements

Send Daffodil Flower Arrangements

Whatever term is used, daffodils are (mostly) bright yellow flowers that seem to exude sunshine. Thick and sturdy stems support the colorful portion of the daffodil as there is just too much greatness for a wimpy stem to hold. An uprising “cup” in the center leaves one wondering why ranunculus bears the name “buttercup” instead. It is a truly beautiful flower that is gaining widespread popularity, especially during the spring and summer months.

It’s hard not to take inspiration from this amazing flower. Why would you want a pocket full of posies when you could have a pocket full of sunshine? Potted daffodils make a great addition to any home or office. With March birthdays aplenty, consider potted daffodils as your next big gift idea. It’s also a fun idea to talk with your local florist about using daffodils or flowers that have a similar characteristic that you like. Your florist can create an amazing bouquet based off of your ideas; your great idea taken from the birth month flower of March. See why it’s so easy to love?

December Babies Can’t Resist The Narcissus!

Look hard upon the beautiful Narcissus
It’s grace never failing to enthrall
This thing with so much intrigue
It’s hard to imagine a more perfect bloom
The young daffodil that stirs us all

When I learned that Narcissus is the birth month flower of December, I began rereading the story of Narcissus in Greek mythology. Though the story itself is somewhat tragic, it leaves quite a lot to be said for the remarkable beauty of the Narcissus. [Read more…]

Big Buds But No Daffodil Blooms – Why?

Ask the Expert: Why wont my buds on my daffodils bloom?

My daffodils come up, get big buds on them but the buds never open???

Let the Daffodils Go Free

Ask the Expert: tie off daffodils?
After 27 years in Florida we moved to mid Georgia where gardening is a whole different game. My neighbor told me she was told that after the daffodil blooms die to tie the green in a bundle by knotting it together. I thought it needed the greenery to develop new bulbs. What is correct?  Kathy

If Easter Flowers Could Talk…

Many of my fondest memories as a child with my mother and grandmother took place out of the window of a small, slowly creeping car as we drove by fields, stones, and structures of personal significance to the two older ladies. Few moments were as special as the first time we, along with my younger sister, stopped on the side of the road for our first view of the magnificent spring blooms. At that moment, neither my sister Shannon nor I could pronounce the name Narcissus for the beautiful daffodils (jonquils) lining the road ways. Neither did we know of the many stories that shroud these gentle blooms with popularity. What Shannon and I did know is that our mother and her mother seemed completely enamored by the sweeping flow of the delicate, pure white or yellow daffodil blooms. Both ladies meandered into the ditch to feel the petals for themselves and to pull one from the earth for each of us to hold. My sister and I, though then confounded at the sight of the women prodding through the dirt for a mere flower, now recall the story affectionately with each other and our friends.

Our grandmother, considering herself somewhat a story aficionado, regales us yearly with another story as we present her with the first blooms of the season. Sometimes new, sometimes not, Shannon and I never tire of the expression on her face as she first sees the brightly colored flowers and the smooth and gentle green stems. For just a moment our grandmother is a child again, as much a child as we ever were. The lines and age of her face fade and, even for just a split second, she’s a little girl standing with her sister and gazing in awe at the sight of her mother bending and stooping in a dirty ditch for just a simple Easter flower.

It was only when I began working for Flower Shop Network that I realized how many different flowers are called Easter flowers. Though I consider the dutch master daffodil my Easter flower, many other flowers herald the celebration of spring, purity, hope, and restoration and so are regarded as Easter flowers. Daisies, brightly colored tulips, hyacinths, crocus, potted azaleas, Easter lilies and a host of other flowers help welcome the new season.

Arguably the most popular Easter flower is the Lilium longiflorum or Easter lily. The graceful white blooms are spotted at Easter plays and spring celebrations across the nation and are widely accepted as the quintessential Easter flower. This is almost comical considering that this flower is naturally a June and July bloomer.

Easter flowers, whichever variety, probably hold a special story related to a beautiful occasion, cherished gift, or beloved friend or relative. As unique as each new spring day are the flowers that help celebrate birth in the new year, hope for a brighter morning, passing of the dreary gray season, the purity and miracle of life, and as many other beautiful emotions and memories as the pure white or yellow petals on along the roadside as viewed from a small, slowly creeping car.

Potted Daffodils (Narcissus) sometimes called jonquils Daffodils – My Grandmother’s Easter Flower.

Potted Easter Lily (Lilium longiflorum) Easter Lily know to many as the Easter flower.

Christmas Cactus, Paperwhite Narcissus and Other Holiday Plants

It’s that time of year when the weather outside turns frightful — or at least a bit chilly — and, in northern climates anyway, there’s nothing blooming outside. So it’s natural to crave a little holiday cheer indoors in the form of live blooming plants. Your local flower shop can fix you up with several choices, from the ubiquitous poinsettia to an exotic bromeliad (click HERE for poinsettia care tips in a previous newsletter). Two long-time favorites that are available right now are the old-fashioned Christmas cactus and the deliriously fragrant paperwhite narcissus. We’ll talk about the Christmas cactus first.

The Christmas Cactus

Christmas CactusThe plants most commonly known as Christmas cactus are members of either of two species: Schlumbergera or Zygocactus. The many cultivars of Schlumbergera bridgesii are the most commonly available, with flower colors ranging from red to white with every shade of peach, pink, fuchsia, and even yellow in between. The Christmas cactus is an epiphytic (tree- dwelling) succulent plant, native to the warm, humid rainforests of Central and South America, and while it is botanically a true cactus, it should not be treated like those fat, spiny cacti found in the deserts of the southwestern United States.

Christmas Cactus Care

Christmas cactus care is fairly easy. It does well if given plenty of light (but no direct, burning sun) and regular watering during the growing season of spring and summer. A little extra humidity is appreciated too, which can be accomplished by misting the plant frequently with water. Keep the plant warm. Soil should be well-drained, and the pot ought to be a little snug.

Forcing A Christmas Cactus To Bloom

In the fall, gradually reduce the amount and frequency of watering and begin to prepare the plant for dormancy. This is how to get a Christmas cactus to bloom. Being a so-called “short day” plant (just like the poinsettia), a Christmas cactus requires as least 12 hours of completely uninterrupted darkness every night for about three weeks beginning October 1st. This long period of darkness each night induces the plant to set flower buds, and even the light from an overhead fixture or a street lamp outside the window can disrupt the cycle. During dormancy, maintain the soil on the dry side, but never completely dried out so that the plant shrivels. Cool nighttime temperatures are preferred for buds to set — around 60° F. Beware, however, that buds and flowers may drop if the plant is too cold, too wet, or in a draft.

After flowering, the Christmas cactus will need a rest. Continue to water infrequently and provide cooler night temperatures. In spring, resume normal watering, keep the plant warm and humid, and fertilize every two weeks or so throughout the growing season with a balanced house plant food. Given proper care, a happy Christmas cactus can live for decades.

Paperwhite Daffodils For Christmas

There are no flower bulbs better for forcing than the paperwhite narcissus (daffodils), and they’re usually available right about now. You can either buy the pre-cooled, loose narcissus bulbs by themselves, or ask your florist for some paperwhites that have already been potted up and are beginning to sprout. In either case, the bulbs have already been subjected to an imposed dormant period, making forcing easier. Besides paperwhites, loose narcissus bulbs are also available in a yellow variety called ‘Soleil d’Or’. Select large, firm bulbs. You can plant them closely together in a pot, burying the bulbs just up to the neck in a well-drained soil mixture. Keep the soil evenly moist. Or place them in a shallow dish which is filled with gravel to support the bulbs. Keep the dish full of water. Start them off in a dark, cool spot until they begin to sprout.

Growing Paperwhites

As the narcissus bulbs start to grow, place them in a very bright, sunny window. The maximum amount of light will help keep the growing foliage and flower scapes from stretching and becoming weak and leggy. If the stems do get too weak, support them with slender green plant stakes. Keep the bulbs cooler at night to promote stocky growth.

Paperwhite Blooming Indoors

Forcing paperwhites indoors generally produces flowers in 3 or 4 weeks. Make successive plantings to enjoy a longer blooming period. Bulbs that have been forced usually won’t bloom again, so it’s best to discard them after they’ve flowered.

With a little advance planning — or some help from your local florist — it’s possible to have flowers blooming indoors all winter long. What a lovely way to brighten the season! And of course, a gift of flowers is always appreciated. All of us at Flower Shop Network wish you and yours a very happy and peaceful holiday.