Nothing says ‘I love you’ better than flowers; and what better way to give flowers than as a growing plant that will continue to grow, flower, and say ‘I love you’, long after Mothers Day has come and gone. A potted plant in full flower can be placed inside giving a wonderful decorative display; just as much as a bunch of flowers; and when the flowers fade, it can be moved outside if need be (depending on the type of plant).
BUYING A FLOWERING PLANT
When you buy a plant, be sure the flowers will survive from when you buy it right through to Mother’s Day. Look for healthy plants with lots of buds, rather than open flowers.
Some things make buds open faster … avoid too much light or heat or you might lose the flower before you are ready to give the plant on Mother’s Day.
When to buy the Plant
If you purchase closer to Mother’s Day, you won’t need to worry about the plant deteriorating (or worse still dying) before it is given.
Waiting can have its drawbacks though: most of all, the best plants may have all been sold by the time Mother’s Day comes around.
Some plants keep flowering, others do not. Once an orchid spike dies, you won’t get another till next year usually but some orchid spikes may continue in flower for weeks or months. Some long-flowering plants suitable for pots include:
African violets – in good conditions, flowers are produced for several months each year. Plants need a bright sheltered position indoors. Don’t let the sun shine directly on their leaves, and don’t allow the leaves to get wet when watering.
Cyclamens – starting to flower now; flowers will continue through winter until early to mid spring. They like a cool sheltered position. Keep away from heaters, direct sunlight and draughts indoors.
Pansies and violas – flowers are produced for several months. They are excellent outdoors as patio plants – only bring them indoors for a few days at a time.
Roses – some roses are still producing flowers at this time of year, epecially in warmer areas. (In cooler areas, many roses have finished flowering and lost their leaves by mid to late autumn.) If you buy rose bushes with lush foliage and flower buds not yet open, they should last through Mother’s day. Keep them away from the cold and in a bright sunny spot (eg. on a verandah) to extend the flowering time as long as possible.
Camellias – the Sasanqua varieties are flowering now. The individual flowers only last a few days but they produce lots of them – just make sure you choose a plant with some well developed buds (preferably with the petal colour showing). They make excellent container plants – pot it into a large tub; alternatively plant it out in the garden.
Will the Flowers last until Mother’s Day?
Some flowers stay on a plant for weeks; others fall off within days.
If you buy a Chrysanthemum or Rose a week or two before Mother’s Day; with buds just starting to open and others forming, then you should have flowers on Mother’s Day.
Orchid flowers tend to hold on a plant for weeks after they open; provided they don’t experience a dramatic change in temperature conditions. Many varieties don’t flower in autumn, but there are others that do.
Tip: Ask your florist or nurseryman how long flowers will last on plants you buy.
Other Potted Plants for Mother’s Day
Some other pot plants that make excellent gifts for Mother’s Day:
Succulents and cacti – hardy, easy-care plants, ideal for non-gardeners. Succulents feature a huge range of unusual leaf shapes and forms. Some have colourful flowers as a bonus.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) – hardy indoor plant with large white flowers for long periods. Also grows well outdoors in warmer climates in a shady position.
Poinsettias – bright red leaf bracts in winter; keep indoors in a bright position; in subtropical climates, it can be planted out in the garden. Poinsettia flowering is stimulated by shady conditions.
Chrysanthemums and other Daisies
The classic Mother’s Day flower, available in a wide range of colours including white, cream, yellow, pink, red, bronze and mauve. There are single, semi-double and double forms, with daisy or pompom flowers.
Chrysanthemums grow well in pots – for the best display put the pot outside in a sunny, sheltered spot – a balcony or sunny courtyard is ideal. Water the pot regularly, especially if you keep the plant in the same potting mix that it’s sold in, as the mixes tend to be very porous and prone to drying out quickly.
The pot can be brought indoors for short periods (up to four days or so) and then taken back outside.
After the flowers have finished, cut the stems back hard, and either leave the plant in the pot for next year’s display, or better still, plant it out in the garden.
CREATE YOUR OWN POT
Why go to all the trouble of buying a pot, soil and plants when you can get something already potted up and in flower? Well, there are several good reasons for buying and potting up your own plants:
You can get more value for money … so perhaps you can give your mother something bigger and more spectacular for the same price.
You can create something unique. (There’s little chance a friend will say “I bought one of those too”.)
If you have more than one mum in the family (mothers-in-law, grandmothers etc), you can produce a series of pots so they all get one to take home.
Children can participate in “getting” a present for mum. They feel like it is really something from them – not just something Dad bought…. and mum feels it is from them too.
Perhaps most of all: when you have had a hand in creating what you give, it says “I love you” with more sincerity.
When you buy plants or seedlings for potting up, always look for plants loaded with flower buds – that way you can be sure that your Mum will have flowers to enjoy over the weeks ahead.