This story was first published by WTOP on May 4, 2021.
Mother’s Day is almost here. But don’t panic. WTOP has just the answer if you’re looking for the right flower for mom.
When it comes to live plants, garden guru Mike McGrath said you should consider the Phalaenopsis, or moth orchid, which makes a great gift.
He said to pick one with lots of unopened buds, because that way it’ll bloom for months.
Beware: if you pick one with nothing but open flowers and it will be leaves and a stick by Memorial Day, McGrath said.
Roses are great to plant this time of year, but first make sure mom has outdoor space that gets 6 to 8 hours of sun a day beginning in the morning.
And don’t buy anything that needs to be planted unless you’re going to plant it or you’ve tried that before and mom always says “give that to me before you kill it,” McGrath said.
Of all the Mother’s Day flowers available, spring bulbs are the ones the that are the best to give or get.
If you’re buying, look for plants that aren’t drooping with tight flower heads that are potted in soil, not cut, McGrath said.
If you’re receiving one, display it in a cool spot indoors.
After the flowers fade, cut off any seedheads that form at the top of the stalks, move the pots outside into bright sunshine, get rid of the foil and water them well.
If you have the space, sink the pots into the ground.
According to McGrath, whatever you do, let the greenery naturally turn brown. Then let the pot dry out and stash it someplace you’ll find it again around Halloween.
The day after All Hallows Eve, take the bulbs out of their pots, plant them in the ground and with a little bit of luck, they’ll rebloom next spring.
McGrath is a big fan of tulips.
Choose plants whose flower heads are still tight — the more closed-up the petals, the longer the flowering show will last.
Potted tulips can be displayed indoors or out. They’ll hold their flowers longer in a cool room indoors; they don’t need sunlight at this stage. Do not overwater.
McGrath said that after the flowers fade, clip off the little seed head that will form at the top of the stalk, remove the decorative foil and place the plants outside in bright sunshine. Do not cut off or tie up the green leaves.
They also should be watered once a week.
If you care for your tulips correctly, plant the bulbs outside in the fall and your Mother’s Day gift may return to bloom brightly on many Mother’s Days to come.
Here are some other things to consider this Mother’s Day flower gifts:
- What does mom want? Is mom an avid gardener? Would she prefer an indoor flower display? Consider mom’s hobbies and what kind of flowers she would prefer. “There’s no one-size-fits-all for Mother’s Day,” McGrath sad.
- Choose a durable potted plant. Some potted plants, such as the snake plant, are considered to be bulletproof. It can thrive with low light and requires little maintenance. The plant is known as “mother-in-law’s tongue,” so be careful giving it to in-laws.
- Look at the buds. When buying plants, look for the ones with a few open flowers and below those flowers, nothing but buds. The more buds, the more flowers left to bloom. “You don’t want to get a plant with a couple of flowers open and all of these nubs on the stem that shows there have been flowers that have fallen off,” McGrath said.