The expert's advice • Flora Toscana Soc. Agr. Coop.
The expert’s advice

The Expert's Advice

Tips for keeping your plants healthy

Tips for keeping your plants healthy

 

TEMPERATURE

Il ClimaWhen it comes to temperature we refer to the temperature in which the plant will be located, important for the growing cycle of the plant. Many plants such as oleander, mimosa, citrus, geranium etc. don’t stand very low temperatures, but like an open-air cultivation, so you should keep the plant in a vase and in open air from spring to autumn and in a greenhouse or in an sheltered environment during the winter. Indoor plants instead have a higher heat requirement, this because of their predominantly tropical origin.
The most suitable temperature varies depending on the genre, but it is often impossible to provide for each plant the ideal condition, however, it is possible to find a compromise. Typically the right temperature for indoor plants is between 16 and 21 C. Avoid placing the plants near heat sources (radiators, stoves) or subject them to sudden temperature changes, such as those caused by the opening of a window during the winter period. A rapid decrease of heat can cause the physiological collapse of a plant.

EXPOSURE

L'EsposizioneThe exposure to light is essential for the life of each plant. Without light photosynthesis, which is vital for the plant, can not take place. The needs of light varies depending on the species, if the light is insufficient the plant tends to sprout small leaves and shaves, while the existing leaves turn yellow and the stem grows in a stunted manner. Viceversa, the light can also be excessive or too direct, as it can happen in the warmer months causing damages that directly affects the leaves and the wellbeing of the plant.

The brightness of a room varies depending on the day and the position, so it is not homogeneous.

We can then divide it into 4 phases:

  • Direct sunlight, coming from windows facing south.
  • Full Light. direct light filtered by a transparent curtain.
  • Medium Light which we can find in rooms with no windows facing south.
  • Poor light , areas far from windows or any form of light.

WATER

L'acquaAs we all know water is essential for all living things, as a solvent and to carry nutrients.

The water requirement varies depending on the species and the place where the plant is located. In a flat water evaporation will take place throughout the year due to heating or the summer temperatures and the plants are forced in pots. With indoor plants we must make sure that any excess of water comes out of the bottom of the pot in order to avoid stagnation. The watering must be regular, two to three times a week and allow the roots to “breath”.

In some cases a too hard water rich in carbonates can cause chlorosis which can be recognised by yellow spots on the leaves of the plant.

SOIL

Il TerrenoEach plant has different requirements in terms of soil. This depends on the type of substrate that is in its natural habitat, the “drainage” or the more or less high percentage of inert materials such as sand, pumice or gravel that more or less can flow out the excess water, the pH, or the ‘ index of hydrogen ions that mark the alkalinity or acidity of the soil, the greater or lesser presence of humus and organic matter. For example, the camellia is a acidophilus plant, which prefers a soil with acid pH (5-6), good presence of organic matter and humus and good drainage; the Spatiphyllum, indoor plant known, also prefers a slightly acidic soil reaction but with drainage not very thorough, if the soil remains wet for a long time well it benefits the plant; carnation need basic pH and forced drainage.

To ease our work it is possible to purchase prepared mixtures of peat, humus, sand and inert materials such as pumice, for different groups of plants:

  •  Universal, neutral pH, humus and with average drainage, which fits generally to all houseplants.
  • Flowers: neutral pH, good drainage, with a good percentage of pumice.
  • Acidophilus: camellias, azaleas, gardenias, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, with the characteristics already referred to previously Olives and citrus fruit: pH 5.5-6.5 with a percentage of clay, organic matter and good drainage given by pumice.

FERTILIZATION

ConcimazioneThe plants feed on items that are in the ground and that favor the growth of vegetation, roots and flowering. The macro-main elements are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen is an element that is hardly available in the ground in the right concentration for plants, so it is important to provide it with adequate fertilization. Apart from the legume family (old name, now divided into families with different names) which can obtain it from, all other plants need to be provide with it.

Nitrogen is responsible for the plant growth and presence of chlorophyll (responsible for photosynthesis). Phosphorus is not needed in large quantities, but it is crucialfor flowering and root growth. Potassium allows the plant to absorb water more easily, increases the resistance to frost and pests and helps protein synthesis. Potassium is also involved in the sugar accumulation processes. In addition, the potassium salts present in the cell juices are essential for the flavour of fruit. Together with macro-elements also micro-elements are very important which act in limited quantities, however, playing a fundamental role since entering the constitution of the enzymes.

The fundamentals are: • boron, useful for reproduction;

  • manganese, mostly intervenes in the synthesis of chlorophyll;
  • Copper, found in chlorophyll, active enzymes;
  • Zinc, present in enzymes and auxin (plant hormones);
  • Molybdenum, micronutrient used for nitrogen fixation, essential for first nominated legumes;
  • cobalt, nitrogen-fixing; iron, intervenes in the chlorophyll synthesis. Iron deficiency occurs very conspicuously, causing yellowing (chlorosis), which can, in severe cases, lead to the death of the plant.

Even in this case, to facilitate our work, we can buy liquid or powder/granular products, already mixed to meet the needs of the “macro-groups” of the most common ornamental plants. Liquid products usually have a quicker effect and need a more frequent dosage, powder/granular ones can be with fast or slow release (three or six months). Always good to follow carefully the instructions on the pack. There are fertilizers for orchids, houseplants, roses and flowering shrubs, flowering balconies and geraniums, acidophilic, citrus fruits, olives, and others.

TAKING CARE OF CUT FLOWERSMazzi di Fiori

A new Flower Food sachet, developed by Flora Toscana, is applied to all the bouquets and cut flowers bunches coming from the retail department of Flora Toscana.

Thanks to its specific formula and its larger content (7 grams) it can be dissolved in ½ litre and 1-litre vases, ensuring to its bouquets of cut flowers a longer life span.

The Flora Toscana Flower Food is a powder, which can be diluted into water and does not leave any trace. It is suitable for each type of flowers including mixed bouquets and it is ideal for transparent vases.

The preservative:

  • –       Helps preventing the obtrusion of the canals of the stem favouring hydric absorption.
  • –       Maintains the water clean and without smell.
  • –       Favours the correct growing of the form, colour and perfume of the flower by providing the necessary substances for its growth.
  • –       Maintains all vital functions of the flower intact for a long period.
  • –       Extends the flower’s life span.
  • –       Can be disposed of without any restriction; the product is completely biodegradable.

 

 

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