At i fiori, we always have a large selection of tropical plants, succulents and cactus to choose from. Seasonally, we also carry flowering plants like jasmine, helebores, heather, potted ranunculus and orchids, among others.
All of our plants come from Ontario greenhouses – and why is this is important? Plants propagated and grown in local greenhouses are accustomed to light levels, fluctuating humidity and temperature levels that we similarly have in our homes. They naturally will have a better success rate, and you will show off that green thumb sooner!
Succulents and Cactus
• easy to grow
• very hardy
• pest and disease resistant
• incredible variety of shapes and silhouettes
• thrive on neglect
• require minimal care…
what is not to love?
As a group, succulents include some well-known plants, such as the aloe and agave. Cacti are also subset of the succulent group. No matter what kind of succulent you choose, the care and maintenance are pretty similar between the different species.
How much light do they need?
Succulents prefer bright light, and many will be fine in direct sunlight (introduce the plant gradually to direct sun). Having said that, they also adapt well to artificial light – like that found in most offices.
If the plant is needing more light it may begin to stretch, resulting in an elongated stem and widely spaced leaves. The solution is to provide better light and prune the plant back to its original shape. Many succulents will thrive outdoors in the summer.
What is the ideal temperature?
Succulents are much more cold-tolerant than you would think. In the desert, succulents thrive in colder nights, down to even 40ºF. Ideally, succulents prefer daytime temperatures between 70ºF and about 85ºF and nighttime temperatures between 50ºF and 55ºF.
How often should I water my succulents?
Oh this is the million dollar question at i fiori !
summer: During the warmer months water thoroughly then let the soil go absolutely dry before re-watering. When in doubt it is safer to underwater than to overdo it. Succulents store water in their stems and leaves and can tolerate periods of dryness without harm. We often recommend that you water your succulents with a spray bottle directed at the base of the plant. This is simply to prevent you from over-loving (and by that we mean over-watering) your plant.
If you are unsure as to how often to water your plant, leave it until the plant starts to shrivel slightly or go limp, then water well. Repeat this process and you will soon learn the pattern of watering that your plant prefers.
Overwatering… and the fungus and plant rot that follows… is the single most common cause of plant failure. An overwatered succulent might at first plump-up and look very healthy. However, the cause of death may have already set in below the soil surface, with rot spreading upward from the root system. A succulent should never be allowed to sit in water.
winter: During the winter the plants are naturally dormant, so reduce the watering to once every other week or even once a month.
Do I need a special soil?
Succulents generally have shallow roots that form a dense mat just under the soil surface. They prefer to be potted in a fast-draining mixture that’s designed for cacti and succulents, but you can use a normal potting mix, just nothing too rich in compost or peat ( you might want to add an inorganic agent like perlite (it looks like tiny ‘pearls’ of white material) to increase aeration and drainage). If your pot has no drainage hole – always always always place a generous layer of clean stone or gravel in the pot before you put in the soil and plant your succulents. This will keep your soil above any water that may accumulate at the bottom of your pot.
Should I fertilize my succulents?
During the summer growing season, you can fertilize the succulents but use the fertilizer at half strength. Stop fertilizing entirely during the winter.
Are succulents really pest-proof?
Some succulents are prone to mealy bug (appearing as very small oval-shaped white fluffy balls on the leaves towards the centre of the plant and under the leaves). Mealy bugs can easily migrate to and from your other plants – both indoors and from the outside. If you see mealybugs, you can kill them individually by touching them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. To be safe – after you do this, tilt the plant over a sink and thoroughly spray the leaves with water to wash away any bugs that you may have missed or their eggs, and then spray with insecticidal soap (like Safer’s Soap), or use the spray that we use in the shop, which you can easily make at home.
plant spray for pests (a.k.a. ‘welcome spray’)
blend in a spray bottle:
– 50 parts water (1 1/4 cup)
– 1 part dish soap (one small squirt)
– 10 parts rubbing alcohol (1/4cup)
So… you have received a terrarium as a gift, or you attended one of our workshops and made your own, or you just plain forgot how to care for it…
Our terrariums and planters are constructed with a base of gravel beneath the soil to catch excess water and prevent the succulent roots from getting too wet and soggy. About once a week, place 1 teaspoon of water per plant into the centre of the terrarium.
(4 plants = 4 teaspoons of water)
Initially the water may pool at the bottom of the terrarium, but eventually the soil will wick up the water.
Succulents can tolerate direct sunlight, so bright light is fine on an open planter or terrarium- but remember that the glass container may amplify the heat and light – so glass enclosed terrariums should not be placed in direct, blazing sunlight.
With some simple care, your orchid from i fiori will give bloom for several months, and continue to dazzle you year after year. Our orchids are ‘born and raised’ in southern Ontario, so they are ideally suited to thrive in our homes. They are also potted-up in bark – never soil – so there is sufficient air circulation around the roots – they are healthier and live longer.
How do I take care of my orchid?
– place your orchid in moderate light conditions and never in direct sunlight. Ideal temperature is between 15C and 25C (59F -77F) – pretty much what your house thermostat is set at.
– water every 7 to 10 days but never let the grower pot sit in water. Hold the grower pot under running water, until the bark begins to plump-up (a few minutes). Always drain out all excess water before placing the orchid back in its decorative clay pot.
If the orchid roots sit in water at the bottom of the pot… they will rot and the plant will die.
Can I use ice cubes to water my orchid?
Yes, you can place an ice cube to either side of the leaves, directly on the bark surface. This will not harm the plant, rather it simulates a ‘slow drip’ method of watering, and should be done weekly. Do not place the ice directly on the leaves.
Will my orchid bloom again?
After all of the blooms have dropped, cut the flower spike at the second lowest ‘ring’ on its stem. Continue to water the plant regularly while it goes through a dormant stage, giving it time to set new roots and new leaves. Try to keep the plant in the same location as when it was in bloom. New roots will shoot out from below the leaves. Your new flower stem will look like a root at first, but it will appear from between the leaves, and have the distinctive ‘rings’. As the new flower stem grows, you can train it to grow vertically by gently and loosely tying it to a support stick or branch.
Above all… be patient.