Category Archives: Plants

Poinsettia – The Flower of Christmas

Poinsettias are a popular favorite around Christmastime. Seeing red poinsettias with Poinsettia flowertheir pots wrapped in shiny green foil makes us feel festive at this time of year. But have you ever wondered how this distinctive plant became so closely connected with the Christmas season? Took a closer look at the poinsettia and its interesting history.

A Practical Plant

Poinsettias are native to Central America. These plants, called “cuetlaxochitl,” meaning “brilliant flower,” were used by ancient Aztecs to make purple dye for clothing and makeup. Also, the sap of a poinsettia was used to treat fevers.

A Mexican Treasure

In southern Mexico, poinsettias flower for a short amount of time in the winter. In 1828, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, visited southern Mexico and became enchanted with the poinsettias he saw there. He brought some of the plants back to his greenhouses in South Carolina, and he nurtured his poinsettias and shared them with friends as well as botanical gardens. These plants got their English name from Poinsett.

Poinsettias and Christmas

There are many connections between poinsettias and Christmas. For one, the poinsettia plant has a similar shape to the star of Bethlehem. Also, the plant is red and green, which are colors associated with Christmas.

Caring for Your Poinsettia

Do you want your poinsettia to last beyond Christmas? If so, there are some care tips to remember. For one, water your plant only when its soil is dry. Gently stick your finger about an inch down into the soil to make sure it’s dry before watering. Also, keep it in a cool room (about 55 degrees) in the evening so it will bloom longer. With the right care, you can even get your poinsettia to rebloom!poinsettia-2-787x399

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fascinating Facts About the Flower of Christmas

  • Along with using the poinsettia as medicine for fevers, the Aztecs believed the plant had magical properties like causing a baby to be born crosswise.
  • Poinsettias grow as shrubs in southern Mexico. They can sometimes grow up to 12 feet tall!
  • Poinsettias are the national emblem of Madagascar.
  • At least $200 million worth of poinsettias are sold each year during the Christmas season.
  • The red petals of a poinsettia are really its leaves, or bracts, while its small yellow bulbs are its flowers.
  • Though the bracts of a poinsettia are not deadly to people or animals, they can make you sick.

 

Your friends at George Thomas Florist will help you find the right Poinsettia and delivered to the proper place, at the proper time.

Celebrate National Indoor Plant Week with George Thomas Florist

September 17-21 is National Indoor Plant Week and your friends at George Thomas Florist are ready for this fun celebration that was established to promote and increase public awareness of the importance of live plants in interior spaces.

Beyond their alluring beauty – which enhances nearly every living space – green plants provide a multitude of health benefits that go far beyond the aesthetic for the people and pets who live amongst them.

Simply Elegant Spathiphyllum by George Thomas Florist

Plants work around the clock to clean the air by creating oxygen and removing carbon dioxide: which also helps to decrease stress, enhance mood and even improve sleep.

In addition to all the amazing health benefits that indoor plants provide, they are also little green powerhouses that work hard in improving their environment by increasing humidity, keeping temperatures down and reducing airborne dust levels in the home or office.

With all the amazing claims about the benefits of indoor plants, it’s easy to be a bit skeptical and wonder if they really live up to the hype or if their benefits are born from legends and wives’ tales. The answer to that was confirmed by NASA after their research discovered that houseplants can remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours, which alone seems like reason enough to surround yourself with them as much as possible.

Which Plants are Right for Me?

Environmental scientist Dr. Bill Wolverton was heavily involved with the NASA studies on the benefits of plants and published his findings in a simple consumer-friendly book, “How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants That Purify Your Home or Office” in which he recommends the following plants in order of most effective to least in a typical home:

  1. Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
  2. Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
  3. Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
  4. Rubber Plant (Ficus robusta)
  5. Deacaena “Janet Craig” (Dracaena dermensis)
  6. English Ivy (Hedera helix) English Ivy (Hedera helix)
  7. Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)
  8. Ficus “Alii” (Ficus macleilandii)
  9. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”)
  10. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
  11. Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)
  12. Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
  13. Kimberley Queen Fern (Nephrolepis obliterata)
  14. Pot Mum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
  15. Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
  16. Dracaena “Warneckei” (Dracaena dermensis)
  17. Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
  18. Red Emerald Philodendron (Philodendron erubescens)
  19. Syngonium (Syngonium podophyllum)
  20. Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia “Exotica Compacta”)
  21. Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
  22. Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
  23. Schefflera / Umbrella Plant (Schefflera arboricola)
  24. Wax Begonia (Begonia Semperflorens)
  25. Lacy Tree Philodendron (Philodendron selloum)
  26. Heart-Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron Oxycardium)
  27. Snake plant / Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata / laurentii)
  28. Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia camilla)
  29. Elephant Ear Philodendron (Philodendron domesticum / tuxla)
  30. Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
  31. King of Hearts (Homalomena wallisii)
  32. Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura “Kerchoveann”)
  33. Dwarf Banana (Musa cavendishii)
  34. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera buckleyi)
  35. Easter Cactus (Schlumbergera gaertneri)
  36. Oakleaf Ivy (Cissus rhombifolia “Ellen Danika”)
  37. Lily Turk (Liriope spicata)
  38. Dendrobium Orchid (Dendrobium)
  39. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  40. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema crispum “Silver Queen”)
  41. Anthurium (Anthurium andraeanum)
  42. Croton (Codiaeum variegatum pictum)
  43. Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
  44. Dwarf Azalea (Rhodedendron simsii “Compacta”)
  45. Peacock Plant (Calthea makoyana)
  46. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)
  47. Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum)
  48. Urn Plant (Aechmea fasciata)
  49. Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)
  50. Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)

It’s important to remember that Dr. Wolverton’s book was published over 20 years ago so his list if focused on houseplants that were popular at the time. That also means that a lot of modern house plants weren’t included on the list.

Green Garden by George Thomas Florist

But, regardless of whether a particular plant is on this list, keep in mind that nearly every plant on the planet has air-cleaning abilities so the best plants for your home or office are really a matter of personal preference. It’s up to you to decide which ones give you pleasure and best fit your lifestyle. Some plants require more maintenance and care than others and some thrive better in particular environments.

If you’re looking for plants primary based on their health benefits, certain varieties excel more than others in particular duties. For example; orchids, snake plants, succulents, and bromeliads emit oxygen at night, making them an outstanding choice to have in the bedroom. Some plants are also more sensitive to direct sunlight and cold drafts, so it’s a good idea to take that into consideration as well.

If you are unsure of which plants you would like for your home or office, our experts here at George Thomas Florist will be happy to help you choose the plant that is perfect for you. Stop by and check out our selection of indoor plants and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for. And if you can’t decide on the perfect plant, pick up a few different varieties and see which ones you like best!

 

The Easter Lily Capital of the World

It’s likely you’ve never heard of Smith River, California, but odds are that’s where your Easter Lily was grown. This fertile land – located in the far northwest corner of California – is home to less than 900 residents, but produces about 95% of the world’s Easter lily bulbs – making it the Easter Lily Capital of the World.

With towering redwood trees to the east and the sparkling Pacific Ocean to the west, this gorgeous river valley – comprised of about 600 acres – is considered the most ideal spot on Earth for growing Easter lily bulbs due to its nearly perfect growing climate and soil condition.

Easter Lily by George Thomas Florist

In fact, only five Easter Lily bulb farms – owned by four families – produce up to 14 million bulbs each year. So how did this small strip of coastal land become such a dominant force in the production of Easter Lilies?

It all began in 1919 when a man named Louis Houghton introduced some hybrid lily bulbs to the south coast of Oregon and planted the seeds – so to speak – of what would become the Easter Lily Capital of the World. Prior to 1941, nearly all of the Easter lilies plants in North America were imported from Japan, but WWII changed that when Americans found themselves cut off from their beloved white lilies.

By 1945, Houghton’s crop had taken off and there were around 1,200 growers producing bulbs all along the Pacific Coast. That number would steadily drop as growers found the bulbs difficult to grow commercially.

It takes at least three years to grow the bulb to commercial size, and each year the bulbs must be dug up and sorted by hand – then either shipped to the greenhouse or replanted for another year.

Unlike other crops that are planted, left to grow, and harvested later, Easter Lily bulbs must be planted, harvested and shipped within a span of three months. That means in order to force the bulbs to bloom in time for Easter, they require 40 days of a forced artificial winter by refrigeration followed by a brief growing period in a high-temperature greenhouse.

The growing schedule is crucial since the value of the bulbs drops considerably even one day past Easter. To complicate matters, Easter doesn’t fall on the same day every year and can vary by as much as five weeks, so timing is everything.

With Easter only days away, this magnificent plant is available now. Give us a call or stop by and pick one out for your Easter celebration or check out our selection of Easter flowers.

Are you considering an Easter lily this year? Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your beautiful new plant.

  • If your Easter lily came with a decorative plastic, foil or paper wrapper, remove that as soon as possible in order to prevent the lily from becoming waterlogged.
  • When choosing a “home” for your lily makes sure to choose a location away from drafts and drying heat sources.
  • Water your plant if the surface feels dry, but be careful not to over-water. Easter lilies require a medium moisture level and should never stand in water for any length of time.
  • Potted Easter lilies kept indoors need bright, indirect natural light but, too much exposure to sunlight can cause burning issues.
  • Remove the yellow anthers from the center of each flower to prolong the life of the blossoms.
  • Easter lilies can be planted outside in a sunny location after the flowers have withered away.
  • If you plant your Easter lily outside, cover the roots with mulch to help keep them shaded.
  • Once planted outside, the lily should be watered freely during the active growth period and be kept moist during the winter.

Remember: Easter lily plants are highly toxic to cats.

Elegant Beauty: A Closer Look at Orchids

Double Phalaenopsis Orchid from George Thomas Florist

Double Phalaenopsis Orchid from George Thomas Florist

Orchids are often identified as a symbol of refinement and innocence, and their allure is undeniable. Let’s take a closer look at these amazing and complex plants.

While orchids are fascinating to look at, their outward appearances barely scratch the surface of why these exotic beauties are like nothing else you’ll find in the plant world.

Orchids comprise the largest and most diverse family of flowering plants on Earth and boast over 25,000 different species along with nearly a quarter of a million hybrids – with more being discovered every day.

Most orchids are native to the tropics, but their incredible ability to adapt to nearly any environment means that they can be found anywhere in the world (except Antarctica) in almost every climate from the arctic tundra to the equatorial tropics and all points in between.

With so much variety in the different types of orchids, it’s no wonder why they’re a favorite among horticulturists and amateurs alike. Although some varieties of orchids can be difficult to grow, since there is such a wide variety of orchids to choose from, it’s easy to select an orchid that is suitable to thrive in the conditions you can provide. If you need help selecting a variety that is right for you, stop by and talk to one of our designers – we’re happy to help you find your perfect plant!

No matter if you’re an experienced green thumb or a novice who simply enjoys the elegant charm of orchids, these wonderful plants are sure to make you smile and appreciate the incredible beauty of nature. Stop by today and check out our selection of orchid plants; not only do they look great in every room in the home, but they make outstanding long-lasting gifts for any occasion. Be sure to keep them in mind for Administrative Professionals Week or Mother’s Day – both of which are coming up soon!

Here are 10 fun facts that you might not know about orchids:

  1. Vanilla is a member of the orchid family and vanilla beans are the only commercially grown orchid crop.
  2. Certain orchid species can live up to 100 years.
  3. Orchids have the smallest seeds in the world. They are so small that they appear to look like a speck of dust and can only be visible under a microscope.
  4. Some orchids have flowers that can last up to six months while other species only last for only a few hours.
  5. A fossilized bee dated 10 to 50 million years old showed ancient orchid pollen on its back, however, other fossilized evidence suggests that orchids have been in existence for around 100 million years or more.
  6. Similar to human faces, orchid flowers have bilateral symmetry, meaning they can be divided into matching halves by drawing a vertical line down the middle.
  7. Some species of orchids are parasitic and obtain their food from fungi living inside their roots.
  8. Depending on the species, orchids can be smaller than a dime, or they could weigh several hundred pounds.
  9. Due to their thick, heavy petals, orchid plants always grow upside down when mature.
  10. The first flowers on an orchid plant won’t appear until at least five to seven years after germination, so the orchid plants you buy in the flower shop are often a decade old.

It’s Time to Go Green with Amazing Indoor Plants

Cozy corner at home in the morning lightsWe often hear the term “going green” applied to energy-saving tactics such as recycling and renewable energy, but as our society focuses on better living and healthier lifestyles, literally going green with indoor plants is an incredible way to naturally enhance our overall health and well-being.

In addition to the established psychological effects that flowers and plants have on our moods and emotions, green plants benefit our physical health as well by purifying the air we breathe and replenishing oxygen supplies in enclosed spaces.

As the seasons change and the days get colder, we tend to spend less time outside and more time indoors where it is more difficult to reap the rewards of natural clean air. We all know that green plants make excellent indoor companions in our living spaces, but what exactly do they do for us?

Moisturizing the Air

Cooler temperatures tend to bring lower outdoor humidity levels which can lead to dry skin along with colds, sore throats, dry coughs and sinus problems for many people. Investing in a humidifier to bring the indoor moisture levels up is the best way to combat this issue, but green indoor plants also do an outstanding job in boosting oxygen levels and adding some moisture inside the home while also enhancing the beauty and style of your indoor spaces.

Purifying the Air

Among the most important benefits that green plants provide is air filtration. Plants work hard to combat harmful toxins and pollutants in the air. Our air contains dangerous chemicals such as trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and ammonia, which are byproducts of many of the household goods and materials that we use on a daily basis.

The adverse health effects caused by these chemicals depends on many different factors, but the less exposure we have to them, the better. NASA conducted a comprehensive clean air study in 1998 and found 18 of the most effective indoor plants for removing toxins from the air. Here are the plants they recommend:

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Serene Retreat by George Thomas Florist

– Dwarf Date Palm
– Boston Fern
– Kimberley Queen Fern
– Spider Plant
– Chinese Evergreen
– Bamboo Palm
– Weeping Fig
– Devil’s Ivy
– Flamingo Lily
– Lilyturf
– Broadleaf Lady Palm
– Barberton Daisy
– Cornstalk Dracaena
– English Ivy
– Variegated Snake Plant
– Red-Edged Dracaena
– Peace Lily
– Florist’s Chrysanthemum

Find Your Perfect Plant

With such a wide variety of plants to choose from, there are many outstanding choices for every room in the home or office. It is important to match the right plants to the right growing conditions as some require more light and more attention than others. Make George Thomas your first stop when searching for that perfect plant. Check out our selection of green plants, or stop in and let us help you find the perfect plant for every circumstance.

Don’t forget Your Pets

If you are a pet owner, keep in mind that some plants and flowers are toxic to cats, dogs, and other pets. Be sure to check the toxicity level of any plants or flowers that you introduce to your home.