Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

Some general questions and answers concerning your plants.

It is hardly possible to kill scale insects or mealybugs. As long as you keep your plants in good condition, they are not likely to develop these diseases. You can recognise scale insects by the microscopic scales at the bottoms of the leaves, close to the veins on the leaves. Underneath the little scales there are tiny little insects that drink from the plant’s juices. You will find mealybugs in exactly the same spot, but they look different. They look like little wads of white fluff, that protect the bug that is hiding underneath. Since they have such wonderful hiding methods and protection strategies, they are hard to reach with bug killer substances. You had best go to your local garden centre or flower shop and ask the experts what to do in your particular case.

Red spider mites are little spiders that sit on the bottom of the leaf. When they are too many, they will migrate towards the tips. The spiders are hardly visible to the human eye. The first sign of a red spider mite invasion is when you find that while you spray your plant, little drops of water will get stuck in tiny, almost invisible webs. When the invasion gets worse, the leaves will turn greyish or yellow. Red spider mite is difficult to overcome. The only remedy is that they hate cold water! Spray your plant twice a day with cold water, and make certain the water hits the bottoms of the leaves or any other place where they might be hiding. You might be able to save your plant. If you don’t succeed, you will have to let it go and get a new one.

Aphids are tiny green or almost-black insects that drink from the plant’s juices with their special little snouts. They prefer the young sprouts for they are softer and more permeable. Aphid causes the plant to become crooked or to stop growing or blossoming. At your local garden centre or flower shop you will be able to buy some special aphjgreen killer. Most of them are of a biological basis. Some say that you should spray the plant with a mixture of lukewarm water, a low dose of methylated spirit and green soap. Do this in the evening, so that you avoid having the sun burn your plant. Or another old trick: stick some garlic in the soil. Aphids do not seem to be fond of the smell of garlic. You might be able to chase them away.

When a plant is either to dry or too wet, when it gets either too much sunlight or too little, it has stress. Just like human beings, when a plant is stressed, it is more susceptible to insects and diseases. It is important to take good care of your plants and to get informed on how to do that for a particular species. Check for special advice under the heading 'plants'. There are some general rules: when a plant is too dry, for example, it is easily attacked by red spider mites. Sudden or prolonged moisture can cause the roots to rot, so that the plant is no longer able to absorb any water. There are many factors that influence your plants’ health and wellbeing. But sometimes… there is nothing you can do. Some plants at some point are done blossoming or growing, and they are past their prime. Then you shop for some exciting new plants.

That depends on the species of the plant and how large they grow in nature. Most of the plants that are sold will not grow much larger than they were when you first saw them. Take good care of your house plants. Use rainwater and add some plant nutrition every once in a while. Make certain they get enough light from the sun. After a while you could replant them into a bigger pot in order to give them space to grow. This way they can flourish and become large and beautiful. When they get too big, you can prune them. You had best prune your plants in early spring.

No, but remember that ornamental plants are for decoration only, not for consumption! Plants are actually healthy and benevolent to human beings and to animals. See articles on 'Healthy living with plants’ for all kinds of healthy information on plants.

What could be the matter when you find that your plant’s leaves start to droop or turn yellow while you believe that the soil has always been sufficiently moist or wet? It could be that you are somewhat overenthusiastic in taking care of your plants. When you water them too much or irregularly, they will drown. Roots are in need not only of water, but of oxygen as well. When you pour too much water in your plant pots, there will not be enough air in the soil in order to provide the roots sufficiently with oxygen. This way the roots will stop absorbing the water and the leaves will turn yellow or start to droop. Or it could be that the roots have started to rot. Check for water at the bottom of the pot, and dispose of it. Do not water the plant until you find the soil has dried out a little. You might be lucky and your plant might recover. Sometimes when there is too much harm done, they won’t flourish anew. In that case it might be time for a new plant.

That depends on the species of the plant. Look under the heading ‘plants’ and click on the Plantimex plant you have either bought or got as a present.

Once every six months should do the trick. Use a water-soluble or liquid fertilizer, and follow the package recommendations to find out how much to use.

 

Daffodils, like certain vegetable varieties that grow in winter, need to be fed every 3-4 weeks in order to produce flowers in abundance.

Daffodils do very well in the garden and in containers. They are a winter crop and can withstand cold conditions. Plant them where they get morning sun and afternoon shade.

My chrysanthemums are quite profuse this year but when the buds start to open they turn brown. In your FAQ you said it may be fungal disease. How do I treat this and will it spread to my other chrysanthemums?

Fungus can turn chrysanthemum buds brown, but so can insect feeding and cultural problems. I recently transplanted some small plants and all the unopened buds turned brown. I suspect that repotting the plants stressed them enough to make them abort the flowers they were developing. Perhaps this is the problem with your plants too. There's a little worm that attacks unopened buds and hollows them out, which causes browning. Finally, a fungal disease can attack the buds, turning them brown. Carefully inspect the brown buds. If you find black dots (spores) then I'd say a fungal disease got to them. If you find the buds are empty, an insect is to blame. But if the buds look brown with no fungal spores and no evidence of chewing, I'd guess the problem is cultural.

In any event, you can clip off the affected portions of the plants and new flowering stems will appear. To avoid the spread of fungal diseases make sure your plants have plenty of room to grow and lots of room for air circulation all around them. If you've massed your plants so that they're intertwined, they will be more susceptible to disease. Prune the stems back so that there's good air circulation all around and you'll go a long way in helping prevent the spread of disease.

Good luck with your mums!

How do I grow and care for Oriental Lilies?

Lilium and grow from plump, scaly bulbs. Asiatic and Oriental lilies are examples of true lilies. The daylily and peace lily plants, despite the word “lily” in the name, are not true lilies.) These hearty bulbs are easy to grow and require minimal care, provided that you plant them in the right place.
At home in both formal and naturalistic settings, lilies also most take readily to containers. Plus, they all make wonderful cut flowers!
By carefully blending early, mid-season, and late varieties into your garden, you will enjoy their magnificent blooms from spring through frost.
Growing Lilies outside in a garden bed

  • In active growth, water freely especially if rainfall is less than 10mm per week.
  • Keep lilies mulched so that their roots are cool. The mulch should feel moist but not wet.
  • Apply a high-potassium liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks from early spring until 6 weeks after flowering.
  • Keep moist in winter.
  • Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch.
  • Stake tall lilies.
  • Lilies do not rebloom, but you can remove the faded flowers so that the plants don’t waste energy making seeds.
  • Leave the foliage until it turns brown in sutumn. This is important so that the plant stores energy for next year’s flowering. Cut down the dead stalks in the late autumn or early spring.
  • Before winter, add 4 to 6 inches of mulch, simply to delay the ground freeze and allow the roots to keep growing. Leave the mulch until spring once the last hard frost has passed.

Divide plants every 3 to 4 years as new growth begins in the spring. Just lift them and divide into clumps. Replant using compost and bonemeal.

When do I repot my orchid?

As a general rule orchids should be repotted every one to two years. The main reasons for repotting orchids are to replace the media the orchid is growing in, and if the orchid has outgrown its current container or if the media starts to smell unpleasant.

Orchids should be repotted while they are in their resting phase every one to two years. The main reason to repot is to replace the media the orchid is growing in because it is decomposing and no longer provides adequate drainage. If you discover bugs or pests in your media, it is time to replace it with fresh new media. Repotting an orchid while in full bloom will most likely result in premature flower loss.

How much light does my Phalaenopsis need?
 

To thrive, Phalaenopsis orchids need plenty of bright but indirect light. Overexposure to direct sunlight can damage orchid leaves, causing dehydration and sunburn which can result in premature bloom drop. During the summer, a curtain creates enough of a buffer to prevent sun damage; but these hardy orchids will also thrive if displayed in the interior of a bright room or under the bright artificial light common in most office settings.