Cape Primroses, also known as Streptocarpus or Streps

We are growing a batch of a new plant here at Len Busch and they decided to show their pretty faces a few weeks early!

They are Streptocarpus, also knows as Cape Primroses.  We consider this a trial plant, but we have some available now at the end of November.  To be honest, I didn’t know a THING about these plants.  I had to do “the google” to look them up!  It seems they have quite the following and aren’t always easy to find.

I had to go see them for myself and was impressed by their beauty!  From what I learned, their velvety, long green leaves and floral sprays that rise above the foliage create a stunning plant for a windowsill garden. Streps are known for their ability to bloom in low light.  It seems they thrive in Eastern or Northern windows.  It’s said that growing Streptocarpus plants is good training for African violets because their requirements are similar, but cape primrose aren’t as delicate.  A fun plant to give as as gift for the holidays!

this gardener has some great tips on care!
 

Read more at Gardening Know How: Streptocarpus Information: How To Care For Streptocarpus Houseplants https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/streptocarpus-plants/care-for-streptocarpus.htm

Creating a Rustic Spruce Top Planter

Georgia gives us some tips on creating spruce top planters!

I always make sure my soil is loose and thawed. Make sure the container is filled to the top with soil to help support the stems that are going into the pot.  For this look I put the birch poles straight up and made sure they went into the soil about 6 inches. I took my spruce tops and used the tallest one in the center.  If there is a flat or sparse side, turn that towards the center of the pot.

Next comes the Norway Pine. I like the sturdiness of this green and the height that it adds to the center of the planter.   It helps to fill in nicely especially if the spruce tops are sparse. I use balsam or Douglas branches off of my trees to fill in around the base with white pine tips or boughs depending on the size of the install that I am doing to fill in as well.  For a bit of color variation in this look, I used oregonia to help separate the sea of evergreen color.

Once I have the planter nice and full with greenery, I like to start with my embellishments.  I used a sugar cone for this install.  I drilled (very slowly) using a small bit into the bottom of the sugar cone and then glued a hyacinth stick into the bottom.  I put the sugar cone a bit to the right knowing I was going to put dried hydrangea in as well.  Magnolia came next, I centered a larger piece straight up in the center of the pot in front of the birch poles and then tucked a piece to the left to balance the sugar cone on the right.  I put my sugar cone and magnolia in first because they are beefy and I didn’t want them to crush my hydrangea. I added red painted branches in the center with the birch poles, this helps to draw the red color throughout the arrangement.

I cut long stems of hydrangea once they are dried and use them in my winter planters.  Choose ones with thicker stems, enter them into the soil gently, and they will stay just fine.  Nestle them in the arrangement.  I also like to spray them with a good coat of Aqua Net hairspray!

 

My color scheme on this look was browns and red, a more modern rustic color scheme. Berries and red painted yarrow are next.  I tucked them in as groupings of red.  Not groupings of element, but groupings of color.  This gives visual interest the design. I love using terra cotta painted seeded eucalyptus as a brown tone in this look.  I tucked it where my eye told me a splash of brown was needed.  This color and the texture help to give dimension to the pot.  Using various different textures of greenery gives you a professional look, you want to use greens with different tones and textures to give dimension and visual interest, which is key to a lovely looking pot.

Finally, I heated my cup of tea and enjoyed!

 

My Dream of a Green Thumb

So I can sell houseplants like the best of them.  I mean, I’ve been in this business for a really long time and have had A LOT of houseplants pass me by.  Now, wouldn’t you think that by sheer osmosis that I would have a really green thumb at home?  The answer to that is NOPE.

Now I’ve convinced myself that the reason my houseplant’s lifespan is short is that I’ve been so busy selling them, that I have no time to take care of my own.  This is when I decided to make it my goal to change all of that.

We recently bought a new house that has a perfect “plant windowsill”.  I figured that this was my best chance to give this green thumb thing a try.  I brought home three victims…I mean new plants.  I was a little courageous and took home an Austral Gem Fern.  This little gal is hardier than other ferns and I just loved its look.  I also wanted to try a staghorn fern because they are just so darn cute.  The dischidia watermelon came onto my sill a little later, but I just love him.  And lastly, I have a few succulents to add a bit more green (and let’s be honest, I figured for sure I couldn’t kill those).

So far, I would consider my thumb a little bit of a paler shade of green, but these cuties have all been very happy in their new home.  They love the bit of humidity they get from my daily dish washing duties and my willingness to ignore them for days has probably benefited them the most.  My advice to those of you that haven’t spent much time getting to know the plants you may be selling, is to take a few home.  The best way to be an expert is to have have had personal experience to back it up.  Your clients will appreciate the extra time you can give them to help choose the right houseplants for their environment.

until next time..  cheers!

kristin

A Fall Wreath How-to

We are having our wreath class tomorrow. For those of you that weren’t able to attend, here is a great tutorial of a fall wreath you can create at your stores! The faux stem cutter Sandy uses is AMAZING!

Fall Gather Collection – an arrangement using rich tones

Fall Gather Collection – an arrangement using rich tones

 

Watch Sandy as she showcases our Fall Gather Collection. Here you will see the use of on-trend dried botanicals mixed with this year’s Patone Color of the Year – Living Coral!

These textural contrasts of Waxy Hypericum, Spiky Eringium, and Tropical Leucadendron create interest within the composition that your customers will love!