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Useful Articles

Each month we add usefult bits of information about caring for your flowers and plants.


Caring for Phalaenopsis Orchids

How often should I water my Phalaenopsis Orchid?

The most common way to kill your orchid is by overwatering it! It is best to water your orchid then let it dry out between waterings. The general rule is to water every one to two weeks depending on the temperature and time of year.

During the summer months when our days are warmer and longer these plants can be watered more towards the weekly to 10 days and when we are in the cooler shorter days of winter you can water less often sometimes leaving 2-3 weeks between watering.

The best method of watering is to remove the plant from the ceramic or glass containing (making sure its still within its plastic container and water over a sink allowing the excess water to pass through the soil and roots. Be sure not to use cold water as this could shock the plant – room temperature is best.

Where should I place my Phalaenopsis plant?

Phalaenopsis plants like a window position where they will receive light (not direct). The leaf colour is a good indicator if your plant is getting the right amount of light.

If your Phalaenopsis develops black blotches it is a sign of too much direct light (sunburn)!

What do I do when my Phalaenopsis stops blooming?

Surprisingly Orchids are not difficult to look after providing you follow the watering instructions detailed above.

If your plant has thick healthy leaves (not wrinkled or drooping) try to cut the flower stem (before the last flower has died) at the highest node below the flower.

The plant will often sprout a new flowering branch at this location. This can take upto a year or so as this is a relatively slow growing plant.

How do I know if I need to re-pot?

A newly potted plant should be Ok for about two years. Best to repot when the plant isn’t in bloom. Be sure to use special orchid soil as normal soil/compost is not suitable and could kill your plant.

Poinsettia Care

Poinsettias are a great Christmas tradition but our enjoyment of these doesn’t have to end when the Christmas tree comes down! With just a little effort this poinsettias can be enjoyed all year round and can re bloom for more than just one Christmas.

Poinsettias are native to Mexico. Joel Robert Poinsett, first US ambassador to Mexico introduced it to the United States in 1825. The common name for this exotic plant, Poinsettia came from his last name and the botanical name is Euphorbia Pulcherrima.


You can examine the soil daily and when soil surface feel dry to the touch water the soil until it runs freely out the drainage hole in the container. If a saucer is used its best to discard any excess water as the plant should not be left sitting in water.

If the soil is overly wet this will cause insufficient air and may result in root injury! Plants exposed to a lot of light and low humidity require watering more frequently.


Poinsettias will enjoy a sunny window preferably south facing. Do not let the plant touch the cold windowpane itself as it may cause injury. As they are native to Mexico, in this country they may be prone to yellowing and leaf fall.

It is best not to let the room temperature fall below 13 degrees centigrade (55F). As with most plants avoid exposure to hot or cold drafts which may cause leave to drop prematurely.


Poinsettias are short day plants meaning they flower about 10 weeks after the daylight hours shorten. The plants will naturally come into bloom around November or December.

Timing the bloom to coincide with Christmas can be tricky without a controlled environment or greenhouse. Stray light from an outside street light or lamp can delay the reflowering process.

To encourage it to bloom again for a second Christmas in September cover the plant with a black polythene bag from early evening in until the next morning so the plant is in total darkness for 14 hours.

This may be achieved in a box or cupboard or closet making sure it has complete darkness. Be sure to place it in a bright sunny spot during the day. Continue this daily for 8 weeks and then it can be cared for as normal with hopefully flowers in time for Christmas.

Caring for your Cut Flowers

For Hand Tie Bouquets

  • Remove aqua pack carefully over a sink (this is only to provide water on a temporary basis and will shorten the life of your flowers if the following steps aren’t performed.

  • Prepare a clean vase and fill with water (two thirds tepid water) and add some flower food provided by Josephines Flowers. It is important to follow the correct mixing instructions as advised on the flower food packet. White vinegar and water will kill bacteria that may have built up around the sides.

  • Remove all the leaves and thorns which would be underwater in the vase. Leaves under the water line can cause bacteria and algae shortening the life of your flowers.

  • Cut the stems and place them in water immediately as air rapidly moves into the stems and blocks their passages. Alternatively it is advised to cut the stems under water. This keeps the flowers veins open and promotes water to be drawn into the stem. Air bubbles prevent water from getting to the flower head and your flower will wilt quickly.

  • Change the water every other day and cut the flowers every time you change the water.

  • Keep flowers in a cool spot. Away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, directly under fans or near appliances that generate heat like televisions and obviously radiators. Storing fruit close to flowers is not advisable as they produce ethylene gas which encourages aging in flowers.

  • Apart from them just enjoy them!

Foam Arrangements

  • Your arrangement should not be kept in a cool spot as mentioned in the last point above as well as away from direct sunlight, heat, fruit etc.

  • Keep the foam soaked with water containing flower food provided by Josephines Florist. It is important to follow the correct mixing instructions as advised on the flower food packet.

  • Apart from that just enjoy them!


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