Gardening: Tips to keep your Mother's Day gift alive

AFTER the ball or party is over there is always the next day when we reflect on the fun and sometimes there is work to be done.

In the case of Mother's Day, while gift wrapping many different plants, it occurred to me that many mums might need some help.

Caring, possibly, for a plant they have never had before could indeed be a chore, mainly so that their family see their gift flourishing when they visit.

Once again, this year cyclamen were the most popular potted flowering plant and, with a little tender loving care, they will continue to bloom until the warmer weather arrives.

If displayed close to a warm fire or heater the flowers will drop quickly.

A handy hint for maintaining a healthy cyclamen is to place the pot outside at night in a sheltered spot in the cool night air.

Cyclamen can be sensitive to over watering, they are prone to root rot if the soil is constantly kept saturated.

Never keep this beautiful plant sitting in water and after watering allow the excess water to drain off.

Regular feeding will prolong flowering - I use African Violet food or Flourish.

The old reliable chrysanthemums, no doubt were given to grandmas.

Their care is fairly simple. Cut off any dead blooms that will encourage new buds and water under the leaves and flowers.

Once chrysanthemums have finished flowering they can be planted out in the garden where they will multiply and flower again at this time next year.

Anthurium were chosen by the knowledgeable plant lovers who recognise the value in these spectacular indoor plants.

They prefer good natural light and free draining soil that should be watered thoroughly when the soil is dry to touch.

Anthuriums can be grown on verandahs or even in the garden in a sheltered spot but not exposed to direct sunlight.

Orchids, both cymbidiums and phalaenopsis, were in high demand.

Understandably so, as both species are so easy to maintain, producing their beautiful blooms from one season to the next.

Cymbidiums can be displayed inside until they finish flowering, but then should be given a shady spot outside and regularly fed with a specific orchid food.

Phalaenopsis can easily be maintained indoors in a well-lit spot.

It does help to mist the exposed roots that develop and don't be surprised if they flower more than once from the same spike.

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