Alocasia Care Instructions

Alocasia Polly
Alocasia Polly

Alocasia Polly

Alocasia Care Instructions

Need to know about Alocasia care? Alocasia are commonly known as the African Mask or Elephant Ear. By following these instructions, you should have no problem keeping your Alocasia not only surviving, but thriving for years to come. The Alocasia is a popular plant due to it’s striking and large dramatic foliage. The most common varieties, Alocasia Polly has massive dark green leaves with a white vein running through. Alocasia are native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of Asia and Australia and are in the family Araceae which is closely related to the Anthurium and Philodendron.

Varieties

The most common houseplant variety of Alocasia is “Polly” however, there are many more lesser know varieties available. Some variety names include Aurora, Baku Park, Fantasy, Bambino, Gigantea and Gandis. All of the varieties differ in leaf size or color and whether they are more suitable to a garden / landscape setting or used as an indoor plant. This article will focus on the care of Alocasia as in indoor plant.

Lighting Requirements

Alocasia do best in well-lit locations such as a window sill that has an Eastern exposure. Bright but indirect sunlight is optimal. Be careful not to put your Alocasia in full sun because in many cases the plant will burn and the leaves will be damaged in a similar way that people get sunburn. If you have less than optimal lighting available you may want to choose a different plant as Alocasia tend to be finicky.  In most cases, artificial lighting such as in a windowless office proves to be too little light to sustain a healthy Alocasia. However, some varieties tend to do better than others in low light. For a poorly lit area, try Alocasia Polly. From our experience it is one of the best Alocasia for a challenging situation.

Temperature Requirements

The Alocasia is a good house plant because it prefers the same temperatures that many homes are kept at on a daily basis. Night time temperatures in the lower 60’s and day time temperatures in the 70’s are ideal. Keep in mind that although your home or office are kept at these average temperatures, other factors may play a part in your plant being too hot or cold. Make sure that your Alocasia is not directly affected by a heating or air conditioner vent. The direct cold or hot air will surely damage your plant. You also want to keep an eye on the window if you place your plant in one. On very cold days, the glass will transfer the cold – and if the leaves from your Alocasia are pressed against the glass, they will become damaged. It is never a good idea to have your Alocasia up against any window or wall. You will also want to avoid any drafts in colder climates. A cold gust of wind from being placed near a door or window that opens could also damage your plant. Alocasia do prefer a humid environment and will thrive when the humidity is high. If you have low humidity, try layering stones on the bottom of a drip tray and leave a little water at the base. You can place your Alocasia on top of the stones and the evaporating water will help increase the humidity around the plant.

Watering Alocasia

The most important thing to keep in mind when watering Alocasia are that you want to avoid creating a situation that promotes root rot. In our homes and offices, we keep Alocasia in a light, well-draining soil. They prefer to be kept moist and do not like to dry out completely. There is not specific amount or frequency of water that we can suggest because the lighting, temperature and evaporation rates differ in every home. You will need to develop a feel for the proper amount of water. Try to keep an even amount of moisture, not letting your plant stay soaking wet and not allowing it to completely dry out. Do not let water accumulate in the crown or cups that the leaves. Moderation is key. Any planter that allows for evaporation, air flow and water drainage works well. Once you develop the “feel” for watering, you will be able to judge when to water by picking up the plant. The heavier the plant feels, the more moisture there is in the growing medium. If the plant is too large to lift, a water meter is well worth the investment.

Are Your Plants Leaf Tips Turning Brown?

A common problem with Alocasia and almost all indoor houseplants is what we call “tipping” or simply the tips of the leaves drying out and turning brown. This can be caused by a number of factors including over-watering, chemical burn from too much fertilizer, Root rot and dry stagnant air. Probably the most common reason your plant is tipping could be in the tap water. Tap water contains salts, chlorine, minerals and fluoride – all of which can build up in the soil of your plant causing the tips of the leaves to burn and turn brown. One way you can reduce this is to use a water filtration system. If you do not have a filtration system available, leaving he water in an open container overnight before using can help relieve some of the chlorine.

Fertilizing Alocasia

Do house plant fertilizers work? Definitely. Alocasia, like every other living thing need a source of energy. The plants take in their nutrients from the water and potting medium they are planted in. That medium only holds so much, and when the nutrients are depleted, fertilizer is the only source left. People who grow house plants without repotting and fertilizing regularly are essentially starving the plants and holding them back from their full potential. There are many different fertilizers on the market and they come in many forms. There are water soluble fertilizers, ready to use liquid, liquid concentrate, fertilizer spikes, time release granules and many others. Which fertilizer works best? That is up for you to decide. We prefer a ready to use liquid simply for the convenience of use. We also dilute the fertilizer and use every time we water so there is a constant stream of nutrients being fed to the plants.

Do you have a question about Alocasia or any other plant that was not answered here? Please feel free to contact us at 201-794-4747 and speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members. We would be happy to help.

We are the top source for cut flowers and wholesale plants in the NJ and NYC area. We also offer an extensive interior landscape design, installation and maintenance service. Free consultations 201-794-4747

Valentines Day Designs

Wildflower Assortment in Green Cube

Valentines Day Designs

One of the busiest days in the floral industry is just around the corner. Your customers will be ordering dozens upon dozens of red and white roses within the next few weeks for their sweethearts. Of course, you will have to be prepared for the last minute shoppers in need of a beautiful bouquet to surprise their special someone, and this is not always an easy task. Being prepared with an ample amount of flowers and supplies is essential. However, not every Valentineʼs day shopper is looking for traditional red roses. Be sure to have a variety of arrangements and bouquets for them to choose from!

When you make your flower list for this year’s Valentines Day designs, you may want to consider ordering some new, different flowers to add fun color and texture to your arrangements. How about orange and hot pink gerbera daisies? You can arrange these in a 6” glass cube with a few pink roses, orange tiger lilies and some dogwood branches wrapped around the inside of the vase. An arrangement like this one will be a hit with your younger V-Day shoppers who are looking for something unique and colorful. Also think about adding some green to your Valentineʼs Day bouquets for a fresh look, with mini hydrangea, cymbidium orchids, and bells of Ireland. Even a few stems of green button mums will look perfect with white lilies, hot pink tulips, and red roses.

Here are a few more unique flower combinations to consider for this Valentineʼs Day designs: Red: Bright red garden roses, red and white anemones, white lisianthus, red parrot tulips, and pink wax flower. Pink: Pink and fuchsia peonies, red garden roses, peach spray roses, peach stock, and hot pink ranunculus, with some heather, astilbe and seeded eucalyptus. Purple: Purple mini calla lilies and dahlias, lavender tulips, burgundy freesia and alstroemeria. Remember, adding roses or orchids to any of these recipes, will create an even more romantic arrangement or bouquet. Remember to have different styles of arrangements available to your customers too. Instead of a typical round or one sided vase arrangement, try creating a vase with the grouping method. You can easily do this with a stem of white hydrangea at the base, a small group of pink dahlias or daisy mums to the side of the hydrangea, pink or red roses grouped together in the middle, and white larkspur at the top. Add a few pieces of any purple filler and greenery throughout for finishing touches. Or, create a round vase arrangement using the same concept, with different colors of roses in their own small groups. You can also design an oriental style arrangement with pink or red ginger flowers and anthuriums for a “tropical” Valentineʼs Day. Lastly, offer your customers another unique arrangement using a floral martini glass. Use white hydrangea to fill the glass. Then, add some hot pink tulips on one side and red roses on the other. Place a long stem of white phalaenonopsis orchids in the center, handing over the glass. Your customerʼs sweethearts will never forget a design like this!

For your customers with a smaller budget, be sure to have plenty of less expensive options. Instead of a single red rose bud vase, think about using flowers like purple alstroemeria and white daisy mums. Or, pink and purple tulips with a little bit of white wax flower. Consider creating a heart using a few pieces of bear grass, and tuck it into a 4” glass cube of all pink or red carnations, and a detailed ribbon tied around it. A bear grass heart is a great, inexpensive way to give your arrangements a cute, extra detail. You can also add one of these to a wrapped bouquet of lavender stock, pink carnations, white spider mums, and purple statice for customers not looking for roses.

However, you will undoubtedly have customers who will be in need of roses on V-Day, so here are a few tips to add some detail to their bouquets. In place of clear glassware, use pink, red, and purple vases. Try adding several different types of greenery to your arrangements for additional texture. Add decorative elements like pearl pins inside of the roses, heart picks, butterflies, and even red or pink feathers! Instead of a bow tied around a vase, make a few different colored, ribbon streamers or loops, attach them to floral picks, and place them throughout the bouquet.

To place your Valentineʼs Day floral and supply orders, call Metropolitan Wholesale today! 201-794-4747

We specialize in orders of cut flowers and wholesale plants for Valentine’s Day, fundraisers, school and church sales, weddings and special events.

Smart Sales and Service Tactics

Smart Sales and Service Tacticshttp://www.floralstrategies.com/

The SCENARIO:

A customer calls at 11a.m. and says, “I need flowers delivered by noon!” Many customers think florists are like pizzerias — with a van always idling, ready to whisk an order on its way. Here’s how to respond:
The KNEE-JERK RESPONSE:

1. “I’m sorry sir; we just can’t get flowers there that quickly.” • You may lose the sale because you told the customer that you can’t accommodate him.

2. “I will try my best.” • All the customer remembers is you said you’d “try your best.” This answer is vague, sets the stage for potential problems and lessens your chances for repeat business.
The SMART RESPONSE: “Yes, I can deliver your flowers by noon with our Express Delivery Service for an additional $10!*” IF you keep your voice upbeat and confident, the customer is more likely to pay to get the service he wants. Sound apologetic, and he’ll likely decline because he’ll sense he’s being overcharged.

Upon hearing that there will be an extra charge for rush delivery some customers may suddenly no longer need that order delivered right away. Don’t be surprised to hear, “Oh, just as long as she gets the flowers by the end of the day.”
Here are questions you may encounter: “Why do I have to pay extra?” The Express Delivery charge enables us to give your order priority treatment — so we can design and deliver your flowers within a short time.
“You never did this before!  Why do I have to pay now?” This modest fee enables us to maintain the high level of service that you expect from (Flower Shop name).“The flowers are going just down the street. Why do I have to pay extra?” Our vehicles are always on the road making deliveries. The Express Delivery fee covers the costs of scheduling a van just for your flowers.
The bottom line: Don’t be afraid to offer — and charge for — extra service!
* This is just a guideline. You will need to adjust the time and price parameters
for your store.

This article was provided by:

Tim Huckabee

Tim Huckabee AIFSE, President of FloralStrategies

FloralStrategies is the only company in the entire floral industry dedicated to helping the INDEPENDENT florist to thrive and prosper.

http://www.floralstrategies.com/

Wedding Bouquets – Textured

Textured Wedding Bouquet Succulents

Textured Wedding Bouquets

In the past, many brides have asked their florist’s for traditional wedding bouquets, with
classic flowers like red Roses or white Calla Lilies. While these bouquets will never go out
of style for the bride who wants to keep it simple, many brides today are looking for a
more alternative wedding bouquet. Items like feathers, seashells, broaches, and charms are some
popular accessories right now, that give any bouquet a little extra flair and personality.
However, for the bold, daring brides looking for something trendy, textured bouquets are
in demand!

There are many ways to created a textured bouquet with different sizes, shapes,
and lengths of flowers. When in season, florals like Protea, Birds of Paradise, and
Anthuriums are stunning in a tropical bouquet and allow for a wild, fun appearance. Parrot
Tulips, Bells of Ireland, Fiddle Head Fern, Succulents, Celosia, and hanging Amaranthus are
some other shapely blossoms to consider. If you’re designing with simpler flowers and
looking to add a little shape, try using different types of greenery that you typically
wouldn’t put together, as well as ferns and grasses.

Perhaps your bride wants a less dramatic textural wedding bouquet. Elegant, romantic
bouquets made of Peonies and Roses can have a simpler texture. Try including filler
flowers like peach Hypericum Berry and lavender Statice for a pastel colored bouquet.
Queen Anne Lace, Limonium, and even Babies Breath give a softer, wispy texture to
wedding flowers. Attach a vintage broach to the bouquet’s handle or place a few pearl
pins inside of the roses for finishing touches!

Keep in mind, not every textural bouquet needs to be created with flowers alone.
There are some beautiful non floral materials that give a bride’s bouquet an amazing
presence on her big day! In the autumn, wheat is the perfect textural addition to a bouquet
of bright yellow Sunflowers, or deep orange and purple Mums, Roses, and Dahlias. Even
though wheat is a simple accent, it gives a bouquet a rustic, country style that also pairs
nicely with raffia around the stems. By itself, a few small pieces of wheat tied together
make a boutonniere that every groom will love. Include wheat in mason jar centerpieces
and with fresh flowers on a fall wedding cake.

Another popular non floral accessory for wedding flowers right now, is cotton.
Similar to wheat, cotton looks wonderful in the autumn but it can be included into any
season of wedding flowers. In the winter months, combine cotton with white Anemones,
light pink Stock, Brunia, Dusty Miller and Cedar. Tie burlap and lace around the
stems for even more rustic, wintery charm. You can also add cotton to a beautiful spring
bouquet of Garden Roses, Lisianthus, Delphinium, and Veronica. As for summertime,
suggest cotton to your brides with a stem or two of Hydrangea, Astilbe, Sweat Peas, and
Craspedia or Scabiosa pods. A cotton boutonniere is another great option for a groom and
his groomsmen. It adds a great, masculine touch which a typical rose boutonniere does
not.

One more alternative for adding unique texture, are Dogwood branches. These are
so fun to add to a bouquet because of their flexibility. You can use just a few branches,
and simply weave them through a bouquet, creating loops above and around the flowers.
Or, use several branches together and circle them around the base of the flowers, just
above the handle, creating wreath effect. Use the curly ends of Dogwood branches in wedding
bouquets also, without bending them. Naturally winding branches for summer and fall
weddings are very popular, not only in a bouquet but centerpieces and ceremony decor
too.

Textural bouquets will definitely continue to trend in the coming years. Fusing
unique, rare flowers with different materials and embellishments is a great way for a
bride to personalize her wedding flowers. Other items like pine cones, Lotus pods, dried
flowers, and different colored crystals and pearls can also be used to create different
textual styles. Embrace the textured wedding bouquet trend and get creative! Call Metropolitan
Wholesale today and ask about our textural flowers and supplies for all of you’re
alternative brides! 201-794-4747

Aglaonema Care

Aglaonema Firecracker

Aglaonema Care Instructions

Many people ask us for the proper care of the Aglaonema plant – commonly known as the Chinese Evergreen. By following these instructions, you should have no problem keeping your Aglaonema not only surviving, but thriving for years to come. The Aglaonema is one of the most popular indoor plants used in homes, offices and interior landscapes due to its attractive appearance and tolerance of low light and poor air circulation. They are on NASA’s list of clean air plants because they help filter the air of harmful chemicals. It is recommended to use one plant per 100 square feet of living space to help filter chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene from the air. Aglaonemas are native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of Asia and are in the family Araceae which is closely related to the Spathiphyllum and Philodendron.

Varieties

Over the years, Aglaonema have been hybridized and bred into a vast array of colors, patterns and leaf shapes. Some of the most common include BJ Freeman, Calypso, Maria, Candy Cane, Cutlass, Diamond Bay, Silver Bay, Emerald Bay, Gold Dust, Dionne, Jewel Of India, Jubilee, Simplex, Spring Snow, Peacock, Lumina, Moonlight Bay, Romeo and Silverado. There are dozens more! There seems to be an endless choice of patterns and colors – even varieties that have pinks and reds in the leaves and stems.

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Lighting Requirements

Aglaonema do best in well-lit locations such as a window sill that has an Eastern exposure. Bright but indirect sunlight is optimal. Be careful not to put your Aglaonema in full sun because in many cases the plant will burn and the leaves will be damaged in a similar way that people get sunburn. If you have less than optimal lighting available, do not worry. Many varieties of Aglaonema will tolerate very low light. In most cases, artificial lighting such as in a windowless office proves enough for this tough plant. Some varieties tend to do better than others in low light. For a poorly lit area, try Aglaonema Simplex. From our experience it is one of the best Aglaonema for a challenging situation.

Temperature Requirements

The Aglaonema is one of the best house plants because it prefers the same temperatures that many homes are kept at on a daily basis. Night time temperatures in the lower 60’s and day time temperatures in the 70’s are ideal. Keep in mind that although your home or office are kept at these average temperatures, other factors may play a part in your plant being too hot or cold. Make sure that your Aglaonema is not directly affected by a heating or air conditioner vent. The direct cold or hot air will surely damage your plant. You also want to keep an eye on the window if you place your plant in one. On very cold days, the glass will transfer the cold – and if the leaves from your Aglaonema are pressed against the glass, they will become damaged. It is never a good idea to have your Aglaonema up against any window or wall. You will also want to avoid any drafts in colder climates. A cold gust of wind from being placed near a door or window that opens could also damage your plant.

Watering Aglaonema

The most important thing to keep in mind when watering Aglaonema are that you want to avoid creating a situation that promotes root rot. In our homes and offices, we keep Aglaonema in a light, well-draining soil. They prefer to be kept moist but not wet to the point where they never dry out. There is not specific amount or frequency of water that we can suggest because the lighting, temperature and evaporation rates differ in every home. You will need to develop a feel for the proper amount of water. Try to keep an even amount of moisture, not letting your plant stay soaking wet and not allowing it to completely dry out. Do not let water accumulate in the crown or cups that the leaves. Moderation is key. Any planter that allows for evaporation, air flow and water drainage works well. Once you develop the “feel” for watering, you will be able to judge when to water by picking up the plant. The heavier the plant feels, the more moisture there is in the growing medium. If the plant is too large to lift, a water meter is well worth the investment.

Are Your Plants Leaf Tips Turning Brown?

A common problem with Aglaonema and almost all indoor houseplants is what we call “tipping” or simply the tips of the leaves drying out and turning brown. This can be caused by a number of factors including over-watering, chemical burn from too much fertilizer, Root rot and dry stagnant air. Probably the most common reason your plant is tipping could be in the tap water. Tap water contains salts, chlorine, minerals and fluoride – all of which can build up in the soil of your plant causing the tips of the leaves to burn and turn brown. One way you can reduce this is to use a water filtration system. If you do not have a filtration system available, leaving he water in an open container overnight before using can help relieve some of the chlorine.

Fertilizing Aglaonema

Do house plant fertilizers work? Definitely. Aglaonema, like every other living thing need a source of energy. The plants take in their nutrients from the water and potting medium they are planted in. That medium only holds so much, and when the nutrients are depleted, fertilizer is the only source left. People who grow house plants without repotting and fertilizing regularly are essentially starving the plants and holding them back from their full potential. There are many different fertilizers on the market and they come in many forms. There are water soluble fertilizers, ready to use liquid, liquid concentrate, fertilizer spikes, time release granules and many others. Which orchid fertilizer works best? That is up for you to decide. We prefer a ready to use liquid simply for the convenience of use. We also dilute the fertilizer and use every time we water so there is a constant stream of nutrients being fed to the plants.

Do you have a question about Aglaonemas or any other plant that was not answered here? Please feel free to contact us at 201-794-4747 and speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members. We would be happy to help.

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