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Calla Lily, Houseplant

Valentines from the Greenhouse

Shirley Hennessy, Merrifield Plant Specialist

This Valentine’s Day we’re giving blooming gifts from the greenhouse. Here are our gardener’s picks for romantic, exotic and contemporary options for your valentine.

Romantic

Calla lily

From the Greek word for beauty, the calla lily is an elegant selection for any friend or loved one. The calla lily can be enjoyed indoors throughout the winter and then transplanted into the garden once the risk of frost has passed. Select a location with sun and good drainage and these striking bulbs will bring blooms throughout the spring and summer.

African violets

With beautiful blooms perched above fuzzy, dark green foliage, this tropical flowering houseplant can provide color to any home or office. African violets come in many shades of purple, blue, pink, white and variegated and will flower almost constantly. Place them in a north-facing window, keep the soil consistently moist with room temperature water, and feed regularly to maximize blooms.

Exotic

Orchids

With delicate flowers that appear to float in the air, orchids are one of the largest plant families. Commonly mistaken as difficult to grow, there are many varieties that will thrive in the light conditions of an average bright windowsill. Orchids have adapted to survive for long periods of time without water and prefer a pot and potting medium with good air circulation to dry out slightly between waterings.

Anthurium

Its heart-shaped flowers and glossy color make anthurium a beautiful selection for your valentine. This tropical houseplant is low maintenance, requires bright light and will live for years to come as long as it’s not overwatered.

Contemporary

Sweetheart hoya

Thick, heart-shaped leaves make this succulent an adorable valentine. The single, heart-shaped leaf will grow into a cluster of hearts if transitioned into a hanging basket and given a spot with very bright light. During the summer the sweetheart hoya will provide an added layer of interest with bright white blooms with burgundy centers.

Other succulents

These adorable, no muss, no fuss plants are perfect for a sunny windowsill, bright bedroom or office. The key to a happy succulent is to give it bright light and let it dry out. Succulents store water in their thick leaves and release it to the plant as needed.

Long Stem Rose Arrangement Valentine's Day

How to Arrange Your Valentine’s Roses in a Vase

Rose bouquets and arrangements are a beautiful and timeless Valentine’s Day gift. Arranging your own vase of roses and other flowers will make the display even more special and thoughtful. Luckily, you do not have to work in a flower shop to put together the perfect rose arrangement. Follow our step-by-step guide for a beautiful display in no time!

Step One: Prep Your Vase

Use floral tape to create a grid across the opening of your vase. Use three pieces of tape per direction.

Create a grid with floral tape

Step Two: Add Floral Preservatives

Floral preservatives inhibit the growth of bacteria, which allows the cells to absorb water. You can add these either before or after you tape your vase—whichever you prefer.Then, fill your vase three-fourths of the way with lukewarm water, letting the water agitate the preservative.

Step Three: Trim Your Greens

Trim any broken leaves and branches that are too low on the stems of your greens. Cut the ends of your green stems at least ¼” on a steep angle. Cutting at a steep angle creates more surface area through which the cells can draw in water. Place your greens in the vase within eight seconds of trimming (if you wait too long the cells fill with air and prevent the stem from drinking). Place two to three greens in the center of your vase.

Tips for arranging your roses: Trim any broken leaves and branches that are too low on the stems of your greens. Trim the ends of your green stems at least ¼” on a steep angle. Cutting at a steep angle creates more surface area through which the cells can draw in water. Place your greens in the vase within eight seconds of trimming (if you wait too long the cells fill with air and prevent the stem from drinking).

Step Four: Place the Rest of Your Greens

Trim and distribute the rest of your greens evenly around the vase, creating a collar to visually soften the lip of your container.

Tips on arranging your roses: Trim and distribute the rest of your greens evenly around the vase, creating a collar to visually soften the lip of your container.

Step Five: Prep Your Roses

Remove the roses from the floral tubes. Take off any unattractive or damaged rose petals and leaves. Take your longest stemmed rose and cut the stem at least ¼” on a steep angle using a sharp knife or floral scissors. It’s important that your cutting utensil is sharp—if your knife or scissors are dull they will crush the stem cells, inhibiting the flowers ability to draw water.

Tips for arranging your roses: Take off any unattractive or damaged rose petals and leaves. , Tips for arranging your roses: Take off any unattractive or damaged rose petals and leaves.

Step Six: Establish Height

Place the tallest and straightest rose in the center. This rose sets the height for the rest of the arrangement.

Tips on arranging your roses: Place the tallest and straightest rose in the center. This rose sets the height for the rest of the arrangement.

Step Seven: Add More Roses

Select the next five tallest stemmed roses. Trim them to be slightly shorter (about one or two inches) than your center rose, trimming as you did your center rose. Trim all five one at a time, to the same length, placing them in water within the eight second window. Place these roses in the vase by aiming their stem ends toward and around the center rose. These roses should be spaced equally apart.

Tips on arranging your roses: Select the next five tallest stemmed roses. Trim them to be slightly shorter (about an inch to two inches) than your center rose, trimming as you did your center rose. Trim all five roses one at a time, to the same length, placing them in water within the eight second window. Place these roses in the vase by aiming their stem ends toward and around the center rose. These roses should be spaced equally apart.

Step Eight: Place the Rest of Your Roses

Measure and cut the remaining six roses to be shorter than the center and middle roses. Again, trimming one at a time. Place your roses between the existing roses, toward the outside edge of your vase.

Tips on arranging your roses: Measure and cut the remaining six roses to be shorter than the center and middle roses. Again, trimming one at a time. Place your roses between the existing roses, toward the outside edge of your vase.

Step Nine: Incorporate Fill Flowers

Trim your fill flowers (such as baby’s breath, tree fern, wax flower, or limonium) and tuck them into your arrangement where you see gaps. Your fill flowers should be lower and deeper in the arrangement than your roses.

Tips on arranging your roses: Trim your fill flowers (such as baby’s breath, tree fern, wax flower, or limonium) and tuck them into your arrangement where you see gaps. Your fill flowers should be lower and deeper in the arrangement than your roses.Tips on arranging your roses into a bouquet | Merrifield Garden Center

For best results:

  • Place your arrangement in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight and heating vents.
  • Replace the water in your vase with room temperature water daily.
  • Re-cut the stems every-other-day to allow maximum water uptake and keep your roses from drooping.