It’s lovely to receive a growing gift, but some plants cause nothing but heartache. These three commonly-received gift plants should come with their own user manual. Here are some general dos and don’ts to help.
Azalea indica - Japanese or Indoor Azalea
- Keep as cool as you can, away from central heating, ideally no higher than 60°F.
- Water and mist with soft water (avoiding the flowers). Keep damp at all times.
- A bright, well-ventilated spot will keep this azalea happy.
- Place near a radiator. Central heating is Kryptonite to azaleas. Be warned.
- Water with hard water. The plant will turn yellow.
- Ever allow indoor azaleas to dry out, their buds will shrivel and die.
Gardenia - Cape jasmine
- Give plants a bright spot with winter sun and steady warm temperatures (ideally 65°F).
- Water with soft water and feed with ericaceous fertiliser during the growing season.
- Keep humidity high by sitting over a tray of pebbles or misting with soft water (avoid the flowers).
- Put near a source of central heating or a draughty spot. Strong temperature fluctuations of more than 10-15F must be avoided.
- Use hard tap water or allow to dry out. Buds will drop, leaves will yellow and brown edges and are a sign of underwatering.
- Get caught off guard by red spider mite, scale insect and the dreaded mealy bug.
Stephanotis - Madagascar jasmine
- Keep warm, but not hot. Stable temperatures around 55-60F are best overwinter.
- Give plenty of light with direct winter sun.
- Be consistent with watering, light and temperatures. Any fluctuation will cause bud drop.
- Mistake a wilting pant for being too dry, overwatering also causes the same symptoms.
- Let mealy bug get its hands on your plants, they’re particularly fond of Stephanotis and even attack the roots.
- Place in a stuffy, centrally-heated room. Any buds will drop and red spider mite will thrive.