Tropical Flowers for Temperate Climates

Written By: Mary Clark Schnibben

For as long as I can remember Ive been fascinated by tropical flowers and plants. This love affair started with African violets (Saintpaulia). My search for easier-to-grow tropical flowers eventually morphed into colorful windowsill collections of Phalaenopsis (or Moth Orchid). Phalaenopsis isnt as hard to grow as its fussier cousins: it prefers a spot near a window but not in direct sunlight as well as moderate amount of water and a good well-drained potting soil. There are many different cultivars of this graceful orchid, resulting in a rainbow of pinks, purples, yellows and white.

Passionflower (Passiflora caerulea) is a climbing vine that also works well in temperate as well as tropical climates. The juice from its fruit is used in making delicious tropical drinks and the large purple-blue flowers, which some say represent the crucifixion of Christ, are used in calming herbal teas. Passionflower requires average to full sun in a loamy well-drained soil, with moderate watering and a trellis to climb.

Canna (genus Cannaceae) plants are one of the most striking additions to a home landscape, with their tall leafy foliage topped with colorful flowers in vibrant shades of red, orange, peach and yellow. They are relatively easy to grow from their rhizomes; they do require plenty of sunlight and shelter from wind but are otherwise temperate-hardy. In colder climates, either mulch heavily or, where the ground freezes deeply, dig up and store the rhizomes in a cool dark place until the following spring.

Because many of these are native to jungles where there is plenty of shade from overhead trees, as a rule, dont put tropical flowers, other than cannas and similar plants, in full sun. Phalaenopsis prefers dappled shade and moderate temperatures; its blossoms will fade away faster in dry heat.

One caveat is your pet. Most plants, including tropical flowering plants, can be deadly to a curious cat or dog, so be sure to place them where they wont be nibbled on by Fluffy or Fido.

Popular Companies for Floral Delieveries

Written By: Heather Crook

Not too many years ago there were just a handful of flower deliveries services. Thanks to the advent of the Internet, anyone wanting to send flowers can do so with the click of a mouse. These days, depending on the occasion ” and the buyers wallet – flowers are often accompanied with balloons, stuffed toys, candy or other tempting gifts and goodies. Here are some of the more popular samplings:
One of the oldest and most respected names in flower deliveries is FTD (www.ftd.com), a subsidiary of Florists Transworld Delivery, Inc., the oldest floral delivery service organization in the world. Begun in 1910 as Florists Telegraph Delivery Association by fifteen U.S. florists who cooperated in exchanging out-of-town floral deliveries, it was the first service to offer flowers by wire. Four years later, the now-familiar Mercury logo was adopted; not long after the company became a for-profit organization at the same time changing to its present name.
A quick glance over the FTD website shows an array of floral and related gifts for every occasion. There are toys, chocolates, balloons, candies fruit, green plants, mens gifts, wine and champagne, bridal, new baby, birthday, graduation and more. The company offers periodic specials, such as roses, and discounts for members of their buyers club.
A much newer player on the flower deliveries field is ProFlowers ( www.proflowers.com ), begun in 1998. The companys first shipment consisted of just 500 bouquets of roses on Valentines Day. Within ten years they were international sellers with sales in the millions. They specialize in offering freshly-picked flowers from their network of growers, offering customers flowers so fresh theyre guaranteed for a full week from delivery arrival. They also offer many different kinds of arrangements and gifts for all occasions.
Teleflora (www.teleflora.com ) is another well-known floral delivery service. In business for over 75 years, they specialize in connecting customers to local member florists. Local companies are used, ensuring that deliveries are always fresh and beautifully arranged. A unique feature of Teleflora is that they have partnered with noted artists and product brands to create unique gifts, including the popular Flowers in a Gift lines.

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