Flowers, Gardening, George, How To, Infographics, Planting, Plants

No plants will survive very long without good watering, and it’s even more crucial for potted plants. They may not have the same access to rainwater, drainage or natural water reserves depending on where they are placed. So here is our handy infographic to remind you how to water pot plants for great growing!

If you’re looking to give your potted plants a fabulous new home, then you’re in luck. At Primrose we have an incredible selection of all kinds of planters available.

How to water pot plants

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Catch up on the previous post in the series: How to Repot a Plant.

Next up is Part 4: How to Choose the Right Planter for Your Garden.

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Flowers, Jorge, Plants

cherry-tree-flower-in-winter

Plants are intelligent inasmuch as they only flower when the light, age and energy conditions are appropriate to allow the plant to reproduce successfully. To do this, they have developed at least 20 different senses to monitor the complex conditions in their environment and are able to take into account factors like humidity, gravity and even electromagnetic fields. Plants differ greatly in their evolutionary strategy, and possess a diffused brain of sorts as to process information. This is why unlike, say mammals, plants are able to survive a significant loss of body mass.

Most plants flower in the spring or summer when the heat-sensitive bees are ready to facilitate conjugation with trees nearby. Spring is usually preferred because it gives the resultant fruit more months to soak in the heat and sunlight to produce fructose, which feed the sugar-crazed mammals and birds that the plant needs to spread its off-spring far from the mothership. Winter doesn’t work so well as the worker bees are otherwise occupied maintaining the temperature of the queen bee.

bluebells-flower-in-winter

Some, however, such as snowdrops and bluebells, have carved out a niche that allows them to gain a step up over their competitors. By flowering in winter, they are able to survive quite happily in real-estate that most plants can’t – that is, under the heavy bows of large deciduous trees, deep inside the ancient woods. In places where even grass can’t grow, these plants thrive as they utilise their bulbs as an energy storage device that they fill up in the early spring when the sun is weak and the trees leafless. By the time the big trees are fully-leaved, the plants have done their work for the year and their dark leaves are already dying off by the end of spring. The sugars produced by photosynthesis are converted to starch and withdrawn deep into the earth-bound bulb for protection. And by choosing this tactic – the protection of the mighty deciduous trees – they’ve avoided competing with the most ruthless of summer plants like grass.

But what of the winter-flowering trees like the Mahonia and Cherry tree? Most likely, the winter-flowering trees found just a few insects to spread the pollen. And because there were no other flowers around at the time, the winter-flowering trees had hit on a limited but good-enough niche.

mahonia-flower-in-winter

And what are the winter-pollinating insects and why do they seek out flowering-plants in winter? Recent research has shown that one of the UK’s most common bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) is achieving comparable foraging success in winter on plants such as Mahonia to that achieved in summer months. There are also a few moths that, just like many plants, have evolved antifreeze in their blood to prevent the formation of ice-crystals when the temperature falls below zero.

So, therefore just like the winter-flowering plants, insects have crafted themselves their own niches to ensure the survival of their species.

bombus-terrestris

The Science

Many plants flower in time for a particular season by responding to the length of day, a process known as photoperiodism. While scientists do not fully understand how plants do this, it is accepted that when a plant flowers is related to its genes and external environment.

In plants, scientists have identified the CONSTANS and DNF (DAY NEUTRAL FLOWERING) genes as the key mechanisms that regulate a plant’s flowering time in response to day length. In the Arabidopsis plant, scientists recently identified a faulty DNF gene that led to abnormal flowering times in mutant plants. The DNF acted to repress the activation of the CONSTANS gene until light levels rise above a certain threshold in daytime. Hence, once a functional DNF was introduced into the plant, the abnormal flowering was corrected.

In a separate study, scientists identified the sugar molecule trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P) in the Arabidopsis thaliana as playing an essential role in controlling flowering time in relation to energy reserves. As such, once a certain day length was perceived by the plant’s leaves, a mix of photoreceptors and other proteins would lead to the expression of the FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) gene that would migrate proteins to the tip of the shoot, triggering the expression of flowers. However, as a failsafe, once the plant reaches a certain age, it would begin to flower anyway regardless of day length. As flowering is an extremely intensive process for the plant, energy too must also be available in the form of sugar. Here, the T6P sugar molecule would act as a signal for energy levels, regulating the production of FT protein. Thus, the T6P acts to influence both of the two most important pathways to flowering – the expression of the flowering gene and the production of the flowering protein.

Ultimately, greater understanding of the complex pathways that control flowering times will allow farmers to reduce uncertainty and thus boost their agricultural output.

Jorge at PrimroseJorge works in the Primrose marketing team. He is an avid reader, although struggles to stick to one topic!

His ideal afternoon would involve a long walk, before settling down for scones.

Jorge is a journeyman gardener with experience in growing crops.

See all of Jorge’s posts.

Christmas, Flowers, How To, Jorge

how to care for a poinsettia

Poinsettias with their intense red bracts are a classic sign it’s Christmas. Originating from Mexico, and named after the United States’ Minister to Mexico Joel Roberts Poinsett, who introduced the plant to the world, they also come in cream, pink and white. The plant is difficult to maintain, but if looked after carefully can last until March and grow to an optimal height of 32cm. Here are our top tips to allow the plant to thrive.

Buy from a reputable supplier

Poinsettias are poorly suited to the British climate. It is recommended that you buy the plant from a company that has not stored the plant in cold conditions for an extended period of time. When transporting the plant be sure to keep it well protected, either wrapped in paper or in a suitable plastic bag. It is recommended that the foliage is also protected.

Maintain a constant temperature

how to look after a poinsettia

Poinsettias are used to warmer climates so it is necessary to keep the plant indoors at temperatures above 13C (55F). Even moderate exposure to the cold can harm the plant’s prospects so it is worthwhile transferring from the garden centre without delay. The plant is best left in a stable environment not liable to temperature fluctuations. As such it should be left in good light away from both draughts and direct sunlight. Aim for 15-18C (60-65F), but it is better for the plant to be slightly warmer than colder.

Water sparingly, but well

Too much water will damage the plant, so it best to water only once the compost begins to dry out and then water thoroughly. In addition, weekly feed of houseplant fertiliser should extend its longevity. Fertiliser with low nitrogen and high potassium works best.

Maintain humidity

how to grow a poinsettia plant

Creating a humid atmosphere is beneficial to the plant. The simplest way to do this is through misting which involves spraying the plant daily, although this method has its doubters. A more effective means may be to create a pebble tray. This simply involves placing the pot on a tray wider than the plant, with wet pebbles an inch or so deep. The water then will evaporate off the pebbles as to create humidity.

Don’t give up

Even severely wilted poinsettias can be rescued so make sure to give the root ball a good soaking with warm water before chucking it out. Revival should take place in matter of hours.

Jorge at PrimroseJorge works in the Primrose marketing team. He is an avid reader, although struggles to stick to one topic!

His ideal afternoon would involve a long walk, before settling down for scones.

Jorge is a journeyman gardener with experience in growing crops.

See all of Jorge’s posts.

Callum, Flowers, Primrose Gardens

After much thought and many meetings I can finally bring you some very exciting news. We are bringing back……drum roll please…… category of the week!!!! (*Crowd Screams*). I know this is a long time coming but we do appreciate your patience. We kick off the big return with flowers of the week. We have been loving your photos on Primrose Gardens and all the hard work you put into making them look spectacular. What could complete a garden more than these beautiful flowers?

A marvellous allium pictured in Carole's garden
Some marvellous alliums pictured in Carole’s garden
More beautiful purple flowers, this time from Kelly's wildlife garden
More beautiful purple flowers, this time from Kelly’s wildlife garden
Very elegant red tulips located again in Carole's Garden
Very elegant red tulips located again in Carole’s Garden
Some gorgeous tulips on display in SeedySalford's garden
Some gorgeous tulips on display in SeedySalford’s garden
An exquisite pink rose courtesy of Windyridge's garden
An exquisite pink rose courtesy of Windyridge’s garden

Primrose Gardens allows you to create a beautiful pictorial record of your garden where you can show off your garden to family and friends to enjoy over the years. It’s also a community of garden enthusiasts and the perfect space to discuss tips and tricks, as well as getting plants identified!

Callum is currently on his placement year here at Primrose with his parents being huge garden enthusiasts.Callum

In the time he has free from his parents rambling on about the garden, he is being a typical university student experiencing life to the full and supporting his beloved Reading FC.

See all of Callum’s posts.

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