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Plant and Flower Care

While we at Stems obviously believe that flowers have an unequaled ability to convey sentiment and elegance to a given situation, we understand that because of their cost, making them last is of utmost importance to our customers. While we do everything we can to help in that regard by using only the freshest and highest quality materials, there are a number of steps that you can take after your flowers have been delivered that will increase their beauty and lifespan even further.

Wrapped bouquets are simply bunches of fresh flowers and greenery that have been minimally prepared (e.g. removing thorns, trimming stems, removing dead leaves, etc.), and are then wrapped in cellophane for you to take home and arrange in your own container. Because the arranging and placement in the container is left up to the recipient, here are a few steps that we recommend you follow to maximize the life of your bouquet:

  1. When you first get the flowers home, find the vase or container that they will be placed in, wash and rinse it thoroughly, and fill it with lukewarm water.
  2. Next, trim a half inch off of the stems of all the flowers, and remove any foliage that will end up below the water line when they are placed in your container. Because many flowers have fairly tough stems that are not easily cut by scissors, using a sharp knife is the best method of doing this. Do the actual cutting of the stems under warm running water.
  3. Immediately place your newly-cut flowers in your vase or container and arrange as you like!
  4. Choose a location for your arrangement, keeping in mind that cut flowers tend to last longer when kept in a cool place away from direct heat sources and strong drafts, both of which will wilt the flowers prematurely and cause the water in the container to evaporate faster than expected.
  5. Regularly check the water level in the vase, and add water as needed; this is usually every couple days, depending on the temperature and humidity of the location.

Some of the arrangements that Stems sells use floral foam to secure the fresh cut flowers. This foam is extremely absorbant and acts as both an anchor for the flowers and as a way of keeping the stems in contact with water. In order to maximize the life of your arrangement, add water to it daily and make sure that the foam is damp to the touch. As with wrapped bouquets, locate your arrangement away from heat and strong drafts if possible, and store in a cool place overnight.

Stems sells a variety of flowering and non-flowering plants, including a significant number of live orchids. Since each plant species differs in its requirements and entire books have been written about the care of some types, we obviously cannot provide full details on each and every type of plant. For more specific details than we provide here, either ask us about care when you order your plant or talk to someone at your local nursery or gardening store. Here we list a few general guidelines that should help keep most of your houseplants healthy and growing:

Flowering Plants Non-Flowering Plants Orchids
Light Flowering plants tend to thrive on high levels of light, so the more you can provide the better. In North America, plants like this should be placed near a south-facing window or under a skylight to give them maximum direct exposure to the sun. Most non-flowering indoor houseplants are tropical and sub-tropical species and are accustomed to moderate to bright indirect light levels. Ideally, they should be located slightly away from a window that faces either east or west in an area that receives a lot of light, but where the sun will not be directly shining on them. Most orchids are typically found growing intertwined with the exposed roots or on the trunks of large trees in tropical regions. In nature, they typically receive relatively low to moderate light levels only. Because of this, they get burned fairly easily by direct sunlight, and it is important to make sure that while they do get some light, they are not located in an area where the bright sun will be shining directly on them for extended periods of time.
Temperature Most houseplants do well in temperatures in the 55 - 70 degree(F) range. Some species, usually depending on their origin, can tolerate temperatures significantly outside this range, though few thrive outside of it.
Watering Check the soil every few days and add water once the soil feels dry to the touch. When watering, wet the soil all the way through. Fertilizer can be added every month or two to promote growth. Most houseplants can benefit from an all-in-one type fertilizer - your local nursery can likely recommend one if desired. Orchids need not be watered as frequently as normal houseplants. Most are potted in a special "soil" that consists of a combination of bark and moss and that simulates their natural tree-environment. Watering should happen on average once a week or so, or a couple days after the bark in the potting mix appears dry on the surface. When watering, ideally they should be brought to a sink or deep tray, wetted, and then left to soak in lukewarm water for 15 - 30 minutes to wet the bark completely. Do not use cold water, as it can shock the roots and stunt the growth of the plant. If fertilizing, make sure to use an orchid-specific fertilizer and simply dissolve it in the soak water.