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Fluoride In Tap Water Causing Leaf Browning

Ask The Plant Expert:

I have some spider plants which are brown at the tips of the leaves, I’m using tap water that has been standing open to the air for a few days, and have been trimming these bits off, will this help? – Mathew

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Matthew,

This is a problem I have seen first hand in our greenhouse. What you have is most likely fluoride damage.  These plants are very sensitive to fluoride. Unlike chlorine, fluoride doesn’t evaporate effectively from an open container. We had trouble in the greenhouse until we started using well-water instead of city water. I recommend catching rain water or use distilled water. Once you switch the browning should stop.

Hope this information was helpful.
Flower Shop Network

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How To Remove Pollen From Clothing

Lily With PollenIn every Flower Shop Network‘s monthly newsletter, we include a Quick Flower Care Tip. This month’s was:

Have you ever brushed up against a lily and gotten pollen all over your favorite shirt? To avoid the dreaded pollen catastrophe make sure you remove the pollen.

When your lily bloom opens wide enough, take a soft paper towel and gently pop the anther (pollen) off of the filament. Then you can dispose of the pollen and avoid the messy pollen issue.

After reading our Quick Flower Care Tip, Mary Williams at Ideal Floral and Gifts in Lyons, Ga sent us a great way to remove pollen from clothing.

Just read your info on lily pollen. I have found that if you do indeed get the pollen on you or your clothes you need to lift it off with tape. Any kind will do. This surely has saved a lot of ruined clothes for my customers!

Mary, thank you for such a useful tip. I will be sure to remember it the next time I pick lilies from my garden. I seem to get get pollen all over me every time I pick my lilies.

If anyone else has a secret way to remove pollen from clothing, please share you tips with us.

Caring For Lucky Bamboo

Ask the Expert: Lucky Bamboo
I have a small lucky bamboo plant. I have only had this a few weeks, but a few of the leaves are turing yellow. Have I watered it too much or does it need to be out of the indirect light for a while? How often are you to water it, I use filtered water, and are you suppose to be able to see the water over the stones? Thank you! Jo Reyerson

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

When caring for lucky bamboo remember this – lucky bamboo isn’t really a bamboo. It is actually a Dracaena sanderiana. As a result the plant needs to be placed somewhere it will not be in direct light, it will not get too dry or too cold.

I have found lucky bamboo will tolerate a wide range of living conditions if you follow a few suggestions:

  • Keep away from air vents. Don’t let the air blow directly on to the plant.
  • Don’t use tap water. It contains fluoride and chlorine which are harmful to lucky bamboo. Instead use distilled or filtered water or let you tap water rest in an open container for 24hrs before use – this will enable the fluoride and chlorine to evaporate.
  • Don’t over fertilize. This plant can go years without fertilizer. However, if the plant becomes spindly or pale, you can fertilize the lucky bamboo with a light solution of water-soluble fertilizer every 3mos.
  • Don’t place on a window sill that receives strong light.  Indirect light is better for lucky bamboo. It grows naturally in dense shade under a thick rainforest canopy.
  • Mist the air around your plant occasionally.
  • Try to keep your water level constant. Depending on the container, you will need to keep the rocks holding the lucky bamboo covered.

Now as for the leaves turning yellow there are usually two causes: too much light or too much fertilizer. I suspect yours has gotten too much light. If this is possible, move it a little farther from your light source and the new leaves should be ok.

Grab a Bunch of Glads!

Cut flowers are a quick and simple way to brighten up your home or work environment, and summer is a wonderful time to take advantage of the abundance of fresh cut blossoms which are available in local flower shops right now. Lots of varieties are plentiful during the warm season, and many florists are offering “cash-and-carry” specials on flowers by the bunch, including such summertime favorites as roses, lilies, and gladioli.

What Makes Gladiolus Great

Orange GladiolusIn fact, glads are very affordable in many parts of the country at this time of year, and their popularity as an interior accent is growing. They are compatible with any decor, from classic to contemporary, and one may select from a nearly endless range of hues. There is probably no other flower which offers such long-lasting color and large-scale impact at such a reasonable price.

A bunch of gladioli simply dropped into a tall, clear vase makes a dramatic statement in any room of the house. Alternatively, glads can be arranged into a charming topiary style centerpiece design.

History of Gladiolus

The name “gladiolus” comes from the Latin word for “sword” and is a reference to the flower’s long, spear-like shape. Hence the term “gladiator” for the fighting swordsmen of the ancient Roman arena.

Gladioli florets naturally open at a gradual pace, from the bottom of the stem to top, which allows for a long vase life. Spent flowers at the bottom of the stalk should be removed as soon as they begin to wither in order to keep the stems healthy and looking fresh. Should you prefer that more of the florets be open at one time (if, for example, you want them to look their showiest for a special party or event), remove the top two or three unopened buds from the stem. Doing so removes a chemical growth inhibitor in the tip, which keeps the flowers from opening too quickly, thus permitting more rapid development of the blooms (this same technique also works with other line flowers which open from the bottom up, including snapdragon, larkspur, and freesia).

For Long-lasting Gladiolus Blooms…

Naturally, as with any cut flowers, a bit of extra care goes a long way toward keeping gladioli at their best. Place the flowers in a clean, sanitized container. Use specially prepared floral nutrient solution, provided by your professional florist, in lukewarm water, and replenish or replace the mixture frequently. Using a sharp knife and slicing at an angle, cut off the bottom inch or so from the stems when you first bring them home and every few days thereafter. This procedure eliminates any blockages and encourages the uptake of water. Keep the flowers out of drafts and away from ripening fruit, which produces damaging ethylene gas.

Visit your local florist today. With such color, drama, and longevity, all at an economical price, you’ll want to bring home a bunch of gladioli every week!