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Christmas Tree Care

With a little TLC, your Christmas tree will stay lush and green right through to January.

  1. Before you bring your tree inside, bash it on the ground to dislodge old needles.
  2. Cut 1-2cm off the trunk and place the tree in water as soon as you can. This breaks the natural seal and helps it suck up more liquid.
  3. Position your tree away from direct heat. A fire, radiator or direct sunlight will discolour the needles and dry them out.
  4. Once your tree is in place, remove the netting and gently brush the branches down and into shape.
  5. Your tree will drink up to a litre of water a day. Keep the stand topped up to avoid the dreaded needle-drop!

Caring for Cut Flowers

  1. Remove your flowers from their wrapping as soon as you get home.
  2. Snip the string and trim 3cm off the bottom of each stem.
  3. Pour plenty of fresh, cold water into a clean vase and add the flower food that we gave you with your flowers.
  4. Drop your flowers into the vase and fluff them out to fill the space. Make sure all the stems are submerged.
  5. Sniff and enjoy! Your flowers will last even longer if you change the water when it goes a bit murky.

Top Tip: Bacteria in your vase will make the water cloudy more quickly and shorten the life of your flowers. Sterilise containers first by running them through the dishwasher or using a sterilising tablet.

Caring for your Phalaenopsis Orchid

Light and temperature

Orchids need a good light source. A conservatory or kitchen is usually the best place to keep your orchid, maximising its exposure to sunlight without subjecting it to direct light.

18-30ºC is best for orchids, but for brief periods they can withstand temperatures ranging from 16-37ºC. This makes them ideal indoor plants.

Sudden temperature changes and cold will cause the leaves to turn yellow and drop off. If this happens, remove the yellow foliage and keep the plant in moderate and constant temperature conditions.

Watering

Place the root system in a bucket of water or the sink and then lift the orchid back out, allowing the water to completely drain. Sitting the plant in water without allowing it to drain will rot the roots and eventually kill the plant.

Take care not to wet the leaves. If they do become wet, dry them gently with tissue or cotton wool.

In summer, water every 2 weeks. In winter, water once a month and mist every so often to make sure it stays hydrated.

Feeding

A feed once a month is recommended; overfeeding orchids can damage them. Look for fertilizers that contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.

Make sure to water your orchid thoroughly before feeding.

Pruning and re-potting

Whilst the orchid is flowering, don't attempt to repot it. Flowers usually last from one to three months, starting from around March.

Once blooming has finished, cut the spike, using sterile secateurs, 12mm above where it projects from the foliage.

Orchids prefer to be root-bound, with their roots protruding from the top of the vessel, so use a small pot.

Use bark material to pot your plant and re-pot it every 18 to 24 months to encourage your plant to flower again.