How to care for Peonies

Your Peony roots want to be planted within a day or two of when you receive them. If you can't plant them right away, store them someplace dark and cool, like the basement. You can soak your Peony root in room temperature water for about 2-4 hours to re-hydrate it before planting. Now dig a hole about twice as large as your root (space roots around 2 ft apart), and mix in some compost if you can before re-filling the hole so that your root sits at the correct depth. You should be able to see a couple of reddish 'eyes' - these are the first growing parts, and you want to plant your root with those eyes pointing up. Now - this is important - you have to plant it at the correct depth or it will not flower. The eyes at the top of the root should be covered by ½” - 2” of soil. Now compress the soil around it, and give it a nice long drink of water. If you have super cold winters you can mulch the area a bit. Bye Peony, see you in the spring!
Peonies will live for over 100 years, so let's find the right spot for them. They love morning sun and afternoon shade. They are not picky about soil, but good soil is always better. Regular water during the growing season will result in more and bigger blooms.
Peonies will bloom for just a couple of weeks, and picking the blooms will not encourage more - you just get what you get. If you are very disciplined you can cut off the buds the first year before they bloom so that the plant will put all of its energy in growing strong roots. Varieties with large full blooms will need some support to not flop over - most hardware stores will sell a little round trellis that works great. Wind can knock over the blooms also, so best to plant them somewhere protected from strong winds. In the late fall the foliage will die back, and you can pull it away - the peony will send up all fresh foliage the following spring.
As with most plants, the symptoms of under-watering and over-watering are similar: yellow/brown, wilted leaves. It’s important to check the soil regularly before you water. The best way to do that is to stick your finger in it. (All the way. Don’t be scared.) The dirt should be moist. If it’s dry and crumbly, increase your watering schedule. If it’s quite wet (and maybe even stinky), water less. If leaves become coated in a white film, you may have powdery mildew or another type of fungus. Rinsing the leaves regularly with water helps fight off fungi as well as applying a neem oil spray (it’s amazing stuff; natural insecticide too). Water leaves and apply neem oil at night or when the plant is in the shade to avoid burning the leaves. Ants love peonies, but don’t spray them away! They only take a little nectar and fight off the other bad bugs that eat the buds and leaves. They are your peony’s guardians. Coexist.

How to care for Bearded Iris

Your Iris want to be planted within a day or two of when you receive them. If you can't plant them right away, store them someplace dark and cool, like the basement. It’s important to know the difference between rhizomes and roots when planting Irises. The rhizome is the potato-like thing and the roots are the strings hanging off of it. Soak your Iris rhizome in room temperature water overnight to re-hydrate it before planting. Dig a hole about 12” wide and 6” inches deep. (Plant roots around 2 ft apart; they need air circulation and room to grow. Personal space: it’s important for everybody). Then, fill the hole back in so that your root sits at the correct depth, *just* below the surface, packing the dirt back into the hole a little bit so the rhizome won’t sink when watered. You want to plant the rhizome horizontally, (on its side, slightly pointing down), so the roots can grow down into the soil from under it, with the stems of the plant (green or brown trimmed leaves) pointing straight up. About 5% of the top of the rhizome should be a little exposed. The trimmed stems should be completely exposed. Fill in the dirt around your Iris, making sure all the roots are tucked in and covered. Press firmly all around the base. Water thoroughly. Try to contain your excitement until next spring when your fancy Irises will be the talk of the neighborhood.
Irises aren’t too picky when it comes to soil types, but they need good drainage, so pick a spot on a little hill or where there is never, ever sitting water. They also need tons of sun - at least 6 hours a day or more. Water them after planting and then only if it’s very dry. Their rhizomes hold the water and food they need.
The leaves of Irises grow like a fan, so you’ll also want to consider the “front” of the Iris when planting it. Plant the rhizome pointing towards where you will most likely view it, so you can admire the fan’s array straight on. Generally, Irises bloom for a couple glorious weeks in the summertime. Enjoy with gusto. Stare at them often.
The most important thing when it comes to Irises: don’t let their toes sit in water. They need water to drain away from their roots. Do not mulch around their base, as this keeps the soil moist. Cut back brown and withered foliage (all the way - about 1 inch off the rhizome) to keep fungus away over the winter. (It just looks better, too, and we’re trying to look good here, amirite?) Cut off seed pods after flowering to save the plant’s energy and prevent seedlings from crowding the scene.

How to care for Saffron Crocus

Your Crocuses need to be planted within a day or two of when you receive them, so make your plan when you get your shipping notification! When you’re ready to plant, dig holes 3” and 4” apart, mixing in some compost if you like. Stick the bulbs in, one per hole, with the pointy end sticking up. Fill in the holes and compress the soil firmly. Water them well - a good long soak. Stick your Plantgem marker in the middle of the area so you remember where your Crocuses live now.
These little guys reproduce like bunnies, so pick a place where there is room to grow their Crocus family. They need some sun, but can thrive in dappled light and part shade. They only need supplemental water if it’s very dry. Their bulbs hold the water and food they need.
Saffron Crocuses produce pretty little purple flowers in the fall - but more importantly - Saffron! Harvest your spice by carefully plucking the three red-orange stigma (strands) and drying them somewhere safe and warm. Store in an airtight container. A little bit goes a long way in your risotto. Wait for the foliage to wilt and turn yellow before clipping it back, so that the bulb can preserve energy for the next year's blooms.
We’re just mad about Saffron. They call it mellow yellow for a reason. As long as they get a little bit of sun, plenty of soil drainage, and room to spread, they’ll take care of themselves from there. Pull weeds around them so they don’t get crushed by the competition. Your biggest issue will be critters eating them. Plant in containers to prevent moles and voles from eating the bulbs underground. Try a homemade spicy spray or protect the plants with wire fencing to keep the deer and bunnies at a bay.

How to care for Ranunculus

The first thing you should do when you receive your Ranunculus corms is: don’t plant them just yet! Your corms will look a bit like tiny octopi. They’ll arrive dehydrated and ready to store somewhere cool and dark for the winter, or for our warm region friends, for a couple extra weeks until the weather chills down a bit. Planting time depends on where you live. In zones 8 and warmer, plant your corms in the fall for spring blooms. If you live in a zone colder than 8, with significant stretches of freezing weather in the winter, plant in the late winter/very early spring instead, about 6 weeks before your last hard frost. Soak in room-temperature water for 4-6 hours before planting, and allow a little trickle of water to run into the bowl as they soak in order to increase the oxygen in the water. Plant 5" apart, 1-2" deep, with the 'tentacles' of the corms pointing down. Fill in the holes and compress the soil firmly. Water them well - a good long soak. Stick your Plantgem marker in the middle of the area so you remember where your flower babies live now.
Ranunculi prefer healthy, well draining soil. Enrich with compost for happy plants. They like cooler climates and gentle warmth. Plant them where they get 6+ hours of sun in cooler regions and afternoon shade in hotter regions. Begin to water when you see the sprouts poke up from the dirt. Find the balance with watering them. Too wet and they will rot, too dry and they will wither. Stick your finger in the dirt to check the moisture level before you water. The dirt should be moist. If it’s dry and crumbly, increase your watering schedule. If it’s quite wet (and maybe even stinky), water less.
Prepare to be in awe. Each corm produces an abundance of flowers, and their bloom season is 6-10 weeks long, from early to mid-spring. Stems last up to 10 days in a vase. They are total show-offs and we love them for it. Cut back the withered foliage once it turns yellow in the summer - wait as long as you can, so the corms can store up as much sunlight power as possible. If you are in zone 8 and colder, you can dig them up, dry them out for a few days (in the sun or inside where they can lay out) then store them in a cool dry place. For zones 8 and warmer: just leave them be. The flowers will come back again next season like magic, just you wait.
Plant your corms in healthy soil, then resist fertilizing - they don’t like too much. Pull weeds from around the base. Ranunculi, like so many lovely flowers, are prone to fungi (powderly film) and bad bugs. Protect them with neem oil spray or a veggie-safe anti-fungal+anti-pest product. Gently rinse the foliage in the evening or when it is in the shade, and let it dry before applying. If you know a frost in coming, cover your planting area with a frost cloth.

How to care for Anemones

The first thing you should do when you receive your Anemone corms is: don’t plant them just yet! Your corms will look a bit like hard little nuggets - but don’t be deceived - they hold a lot of flower power! They’ll arrive dehydrated and ready to store somewhere cool and dark for the winter, or for our warm region friends, for a couple extra weeks until the weather chills down a bit. Planting time depends on where you live. In zones 8 and warmer, plant your corms in the fall for spring blooms. If you live in a zone colder than 8, with significant stretches of freezing weather in the winter, plant in the late winter/very early Spring instead, about 6 weeks before your last hard frost. Soak in room-temperature water for 10-12 hours before planting, and allow a little trickle of water to run into the bowl as they soak in order to increase the oxygen in the water. Plant 5" apart, 1-2" deep, with the point end sticking up (but if you can’t figure out the pointy end, don’t worry, just stick it in there - it will sort itself out). Fill in the holes and compress the soil firmly. Water them well - a good long soak. Stick your Plantgem marker in the middle of the area so you remember where your Anemones are snoozing.
Anemones prefer healthy, well draining soil. Enrich with compost for happy plants. They like cooler climates and gentle warmth. Plant them where they get 6+ hours of sun in cooler regions and afternoon shade in hotter regions. Begin to water when you see the sprouts poke up from the dirt. Find the balance with watering them. Too wet and they will rot, too dry and they will wither. Stick your finger in the dirt to check the moisture level before you water. The dirt should be moist. If it’s dry and crumbly, increase your watering schedule. If it’s quite wet (and maybe even stinky), water less.
With over 20 flowers per corm, and 6-10 weeks of blooming in early to mid-spring, you're going to be rolling in flowers. Cut them and give some to your Mom. Or someone else’s Mom. Cut back the withered foliage once it turns yellow in the summer - wait as long as you can, so the corms can store up as much sunlight as possible. If you are in zone 8 and colder, you can dig them up, dry them out for a few days (in the sun or inside where they can lay out) then store them in a cool dry place. For zones 8-12 - just leave them be for their triumphant return next spring.
Plant your corms in healthy soil, then resist fertilizing - they don’t like too much. Pull weeds from around the base. Anemone, like so many lovely flowers, are prone to fungi (powderly film) and bad bugs. Protect them with neem oil spray or a veggie-safe anti-fungal+anti-pest product. Gently rinse the foliage in the evening or when it is in the shade, and let it dry before applying. If you know a frost in coming, cover your planting area with a frost cloth.

How to care for Tulips, Daffodils, Muscari, Fritillaria, Allium, Snowflakes, Snowdrops

Hey, hey! You’ve got a bag full of bulbs! When you’re ready to plant, (no rush, but before your ground freezes solid for the winter), dig holes about 1.5 times as deep as the bulb is tall and 3” apart, mixing in some compost if you like. Stick the bulbs in, one per hole, with the pointy end sticking up. Fill in the holes and compress the soil firmly. Water them well - a good long soak. Stick your Plantgem marker in the middle of the area so you remember where your bloomers will pop up. Sit back, brew some tea, and wait for the springtime show.
They need sun, but can thrive in dappled light and part shade. Consider that a spot under a leafy tree might be sunny in the early spring, before the leaves grow back in. They aren't too picky about soil quality, but avoid water-logged areas, as the bulbs will rot. They only need supplemental water if it’s very dry. Their bulbs hold the water and food they need.
Most of our spring flowering bulb buddies bloom just once, so picking the flowers will not encourage more blooms - but don’t let that discourage you! They do very well in vases. Cut back the withered foliage once it turns yellow in the summer - wait as long as you can, so the bulbs can store up as much sunlight power as possible. If you want to plant them elsewhere next season, or you plan to plant other flowers in the area that need lots of water, you can dig them up, dry them out for a few days, and store them somewhere cool and dry. Otherwise, just let them be. Blow them a kiss - see you next spring, friends!
Fortunately, bulbs aren’t fussy. As long as they get a little bit of sun, plenty of soil drainage, and room to spread, they’ll take care of themselves from there. Your biggest issue will be critters eating them. Plant in containers to prevent moles and voles from eating the bulbs underground. Try a homemade spicy spray or protect the plants or wire fencing to keep the deer and bunnies at a bay. Keep fungus and bad bugs away with neem oil spray or a veggie-safe anti-fungal+anti-pest product. Gently water/rinse the foliage in the evening or when it is in the shade, and let it dry before applying. Pull those weeds from around your gems, dear friends. It's therapeutic.

How to care for Amaryllis

Baby, it’s cold outside. The annuals have gone to seed. Your roots and bulbs are planted.Time to grow some flowers indoors! Amaryllis can be potted in soil. Choose a container that is just a little bit bigger than the bulb itself and leave the top third of the bulb above the soil. Water the soil deeply after planting, and then not again until it begins to grow. You can also grow your Amaryllis without soil, you just need a way to stabilize the bulb above the water. The easiest way to do this is to put a 3" layer of stones in a glass container, add the bulb after trimming off any dried roots so only the plump white roots remain, then layer in more stones to stabilize the bulb. Add water until it reaches just below the bulb - you want the roots to grow into the water, but the bulb itself should not touch the water or it will rot. Keep the water level just below the bulb, and you can change out the water every week or two to keep it fresh.
Place your bulb on or near a windowsill, preferably East or South facing, where your cat won’t knock it over. If you are planting numerous bulbs in one container, space bulbs about 1" apart. If planting in dirt, use an indoor potting soil mix. Put pebbles over the soil to keep the dirt in place. Plus, it just looks way cuter and more polished that way, and ‘tis the season to keep your home decor en pointe.
Two to three stalks of multiple blooms, about eight weeks after planting.
Take care that the bulb is not in contact with the standing water if growing without soil, and if potting in soil, do not over-water as the bulb is prone to rot - the soil should be kept just barely damp. Indoor plants can attract fruit flies and fungus. Air circulation is important. If it’s too chilly to open the window, let a little fan blow gently on your flowers from time to time. Treat foliage with neem oil spray. Place a vinegar trap for the flies nearby if needed. The tall stalks with large blooms are top-heavy. Rotating your growing container regularly will help your bulb grow straight, as it will lean towards its light source. Adding a little stick to support the blooms can help as well.

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