5 flowering houseplants that replace Valentine’s Day roses

5 flowering houseplants that replace Valentine’s Day roses

Red roses may be the most classic choice for Valentine’s Day, but have you ever stopped to smell them? Contrary to popular assumption, they are often not very fragrant, due to the fact that they are usually bred for aesthetic perfection at the expense of their natural fragrance. Plus, a bouquet of cut stems dies within days – not very romantic.

another option? Gift a plant with cheerful flowers instead. These five options will likely be more fragrant than your typical grocery store bouquet, and with proper care, will last for years.

This miniature shrub rose blooms in a wide range of colors, from pure white to peach to purple to deep red. Its leaves are dense, dark and shiny. For an easy-to-grow cultivar, Dave Whittinger of the National Gardening Society recommends ‘Gigi’. “It is one of the most popular small roses, and is strikingly beautiful as well as fragrant,” he says, with bold red and white stripes.

Depending on the cultivar, the mini-rose usually reaches a height of one or two feet, making it a useful container or low hedge plant. In plant hardiness zones 4 or higher (see USDA map here), you can plant them outside after the regular frost has passed, in a location that gets at least six hours of sun per day. Like their larger cousins, mini roses need plenty of nutrients to form their beautiful blooms, so plant them in well-drained, compost-rich soil and feed them with organic fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer.

Indoors, mini roses require sun in a south-facing window and good humidity so they don’t drop their leaves; Water it as soon as the soil dries out a little. Also keep in mind that they will suffer if placed in the path of a cold draft or heater vent.

Few plants are more fragrant than the gardenia, and they are often used at weddings. In the Victorian era, gifting one meant you were telling the recipient “I love you,” so it’s an appropriate choice for Valentine’s Day.

These small shrubs grow in a tight mound of glossy leaves with silky white flowers that emit an attractive sweet scent. Indoors, they like bright, indirect light and moist air. “Gardenias prefer acidic soil, with a pH between 5.0 and 6.0, and like to drink an inch of water per week,” Whitinger says. Also, gardenias suffer near drafty windows. In the winter, a grow light will help keep them healthy.

Like the mini rose, the gardenia can be grown outside in a container, or in the ground if you live in zones 8 to 11. When planting, choose a location with as much sunlight and warmth as possible. Like roses, these tropical residents need fertilizer to produce their beautiful flowers. If you live in the northern United States, you will need to protect them from frost and cold winds.

You may not think of romance when you think of lavender, but this Mediterranean native has a rustic beauty and an elegant, spicy fragrance. “Lavender aroma is widely known to have calming and relaxing properties, making it a great stress reliever after a long day,” says Whittinger. Some varieties, such as French or rough lavender, are soft and smooth, which adds to their appeal. Touch these perennials, and your hands will smell clean and cool.

In general, the key to growing lavender is light. It needs at least six hours of full sun, indoors or out. Outside, plant 2-foot-tall perennials near the front of the border in well-drained, low-fertile soil. Lavender can tolerate wind and drought (it grows in the rocky hills of Provence), but does not like severe pruning. Do not cut its woody branches; Only cut back the spent green stems, which will encourage more beautiful blooms.

For a particularly elegant gift, try an orchid, “especially an orchid,” says Justin Hancock, horticulturist at online plant seller Costa Farms. “It’s an easy plant to grow, which makes it a good choice for plant lovers, but it’s also a good plant for first-timers because it’s very tolerant of light and water.”

Moth like orchids Phalaenopsis schilleriana It features sculpted pink flowers that bloom on thin, stick-like stems. The flowers last for several weeks, casting a faint pink scent. Another solid option for beginners is the orchid (Cattleya bicolour). This native Brazilian plant features curly, bronze-purple flowers and emits a strong scent.

Orchids, which grow on trees in the wild and absorb moisture from the air through their roots, prefer to grow in loose bark rather than soil. Moth orchids prefer bright light. In low light, plants may not bloom as vigorously, Hancock says. It should be watered every week or two.

While some cultures believe that jasmine (Jasminum) to be an aphrodisiac, there is little scientific evidence to prove that this is true. However, a 2005 study conducted by researchers at Kyoto University showed that its aroma in tea relaxes the body. Varieties such as winter jasmine or pink jasmine grow in lush, vigorous forms, with drooping stems and flowers that emit a fresh scent.

To grow jasmine indoors, place the plant in a window where it can get several hours of bright, indirect light. Either mist it regularly or run a humidifier nearby to add moisture to the air. Jasmine needs darkness and cooler temperatures in winter to form buds, so store it in a cooler room until spring, then fertilize it.

In zones 8 or higher, you can grow this evergreen vine outside in the garden. In colder regions, grow it in pots that can be stored under cover or in the garage during the winter. These wandering plants thrive in sun and warmth, but if grown in hot desert climates, they prefer afternoon shade. In addition, they need a structure to climb on. A trellis or arbor near the yard is ideal for displaying its starry flowers and enjoying the fragrance.

Karen Hogue is a certified ornamental horticulturist and author of “Leave Your Problems Behind: How to De-Stress and Grow Happiness Through Plants.Contact her on topics @karenhog.

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