Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2006
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Glorious Roses
Lightly prune, feed, and water roses on a weekly or biweekly basis to encourage them to flower continuously into the late fall. Trim faded blooms down to the first five-part leaf or further to gently shape the plant. New blooms will appear in about three weeks. This gentle pruning to shape the plant also strengthens the lower canes and root system.

Cut roses last longer when cut late in the day, unlike other blooms, which last longer when cut early in the morning. Those cut after 4:30 p.m. will last up to ten hours longer than those cut around 8 a.m. The sugar that the leaves manufacture and store during the day remains in the leaves, nourishing the blooms. In flowers cut early in the morning, those sugars have traveled to the stem and roots during the night, so there's little left in the leaves to feed the blooms.

Clever Gardening Technique

Prolonging Cereus Blooms
Enjoy your night-blooming cereus for up to a week by cutting and refrigerating the blossoms. Cut them when they're open the widest and place them in a quart jar with water covering the cut edge of the stem. Replace the jar's top or secure a plastic bag to the top of the jar with a rubber band. Place the jar in a spot in the refrigerator where you can enjoy the bloom each time you open the door. Because it's cold and dark in there, the blossom thinks it's still night and stays open for up to a week.

Another trick for keeping the cereus bloom from closing is to melt a few drops of candle wax into the center. This allows you to enjoy the bloom and its fragrance in an arrangement at room temperature for two or three days.

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