Colorful options for mom

Gary Jones

Thu April 28, 2016 9:00pm

A colorful bunch of cut flowers sure is nice. But even nicer is a potted bouquet that can be enjoyed indoors and then planted in the garden later. This way mom will be able to enjoy lots of bouquets year after year.
Few flowers have the drama of hydrangeas. Voluptuous, long-lasting globes of flowers in red, blue, white and pink appear above rich green leaves. Place these show-stoppers in bright indirect light.
Once the flowers begin to turn brown, snip them off. Plant outside in a dappled sun or full shade/bright light situation. Keep hydrangeas moist while they become established.
In California, our alkaline soils will cause blue hydrangeas to change to pink once planted. To help retain their blue color, apply a hydrangea blueing formula found at garden centers.
L.A. lilies are becoming popular as gifts and in the garden here in California. These spectacular trumpet flowers come in white, pink, peach and yellow.
L.A. is not short for Los Angeles, but stands for longiflorum and Asiatic. Lilium longiflorum is the white Easter lily and Asiatic lilies are bright and colorful. The combination of these two has resulted in colorful lilies that thrive in our temperate climate.
Peruvian lilies or Alstroemeria are exceptionally long-lasting flowers that are easily purchased in grocery stores. But why not give mom a potted one that will flower in her garden each year?
Nothing is easier to grow and it flowers over a very long period if placed in a sunny site. They are not fussy about soil type as long as it drains well. No need to buy cut Alstroemeria at the grocery store now.
Most orchids are perfectly fine staying indoors after blooming. Just place them in a humid area near a sink or shower in bright light. Water them well with water coming out of the bottom of the pot once a week. Never let the roots sit in water — remember, in their native habitat, most orchids live in trees.
Roses are a classic Mother’s Day gift. A well-cared-for shrub will produce many more than a dozen cut roses. Match your choice for mom to her favorite color. And make it a fragrant one for this special holiday.
Some of the best roses for fragrance are Double Delight, Mr. Lincoln, Angel Face, Fragrant Cloud, Just Joey, Heritage and Radiant Perfume. These roses represent just about every rose color.
If you can’t decide which of these flowers to give, then go for a combination planter. Many garden centers offer a selection of potted groupings that include a rich green houseplant, an orchid and a blooming azalea.
Once the flowers are spent, mom can have fun potting up the orchid, transplanting the azalea outside in shade and filling in the gaps with additional houseplants to enjoy indoors.
Gary Jones is chief horticulturist at Armstrong Garden Centers. Email him your gardening questions to growingdialogue@armstronggarden.com.