Industry Expert: How To Grow Winter Flowers In Warmer Months

Winter flowers and bulbs

Keeping up with international trends is important for any business, especially in South Africa – a country influenced by others. This sentiment rings true for international flower and plant trends too. It’s valuable for us, at NetFlorist, to cater to the needs of our customers and offer flowers that are popular in other countries during certain special occasions. This may sometimes be difficult as South Africa’s climate and seasons do not align with that of the northern hemisphere. We therefore grow many plants and flowers in unfavorable weather conditions. And, as leading experts, we will take you through all we know about growing winter flowers, plants and bulbs during the warmer months.

Forcing Bulbs To Bloom In Summer

Forcing bulbs is one of the ways our florists at NetFlorist grow winter flowers in summer. This is the act of making plant bulbs grow in an unfavorable season or temperature. Many florists, industry experts, and horticulturists force winter bulbs to bloom in summer, including NetFlorist. We do this by essentially tricking the bulb into thinking it’s still winter, even during hotter months. Our forcing starts with planting bulbs, crown side up, in a plant pot. The bulb is refrigerated at below 12 degrees Celsius for a period of time. This is, of course, only necessary if the summer temperatures are too warm. The plant will start growing while refrigerated, which could take up to 15 weeks.

For accurate growth, we keep the top layer of soil moist at all times. When the stems have grown above 5cms, we remove the plant from the cold and place it in a warmer location. This way, they will continue growing and blossoming. Some bulbs, such as amaryllis bulbs, don’t require chilling for this process. We force the bulb to bloom just by keeping it indoors, out of the hot sun. Some of our most popular types of flower bulbs to force in summer include amaryllis, daffodil, iris, hyacinth and tulips.

Fresh Flowers White Tulips Flowering Plants

Flower Care

Once our bulbs have grown, their needs differ. At this point, we move our attention to making those bulbs blossom. In order to keep up with winter flower trends across the globe, we need to have flowers, of course. There are many ways we care for winter plants during the summer months, whether they are for floral arrangements or potted plants. Ensuring the soil is prepared is one of the most important things we do to make our flowers flourish. Most wintery florals prefer a light, fluffy, well-draining mix of soil. Other important aspects we pay attention to include sunlight, shade, and water; all of which are vital to a plant’s health. But not all plants and flowers are the same. There are different strokes for different ‘stalks’, as we like to say here at NetFlorist. So, let’s take a look at some plant and flower care tips for a few of our favourite winter flowers that can be grown during warmer months.

Daisies

Daisies come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. This lovely flower is often used by our customers to spruce up a dull winter garden or spoil a special someone. Daisies, being the largest group of flowers in the world, have both summer and winter flowering variants. Winter variants include Shasta Daisies and English Daisies. To bloom daisy bulbs, we plant the bulb in soil, water thoroughly and keep it in a cool, dry place. Once the bulbs sprout, the daisy plants need less than 2cm of water per week, which can be tricky to achieve with South Africa’s rainfall. To counteract this, we keep them in well-draining soil and out of direct rain.

Yellow Daisies Grow Winter Flower Winter Flowers Daisies

Pansies

Pansies, similar to African violet plants, are probably one of the most well-known winter flowers, because of their bright colours and faces. These flowering plants have a way of brightening up any day – which is probably why our customers want them available through all seasons. And, lucky for them, some varieties of pansies can grow in summer, such as the Universal Pansy, the Springtime Pansy, and the Majestic Giant Pansy. To grow these winter wonders in summer and to keep them healthy, we put them in partial shade, remove old flowers, avoid over-fertilizing, and sometimes grow them with a taller plant (to provide them with shade).

African Violet and Pansy Plant African Violet Plant African Violet Winter Flower

Amaryllis

Amaryllis flowers are another holiday favourite overseas, but in SA, we enjoy their vibrancy over the cold months of May to August. However, we at NetFlorist often bloom amaryllis plants in summer to keep up with international trends. Amaryllis bulbs, unlike many other bulbs, don’t need to be refrigerated to force growth in summer. To force amaryllis bulbs during a warmer season, we place the bulb in soil, using a well-draining pot, and water the soil. We will place the pot in a cool room, that’s about 20 degrees Celsius. The pot needs to be in a spot that has indirect light. Once they sprout, these red or white flowers don’t do well when their roots are too wet. We avoid this by filling the pot with pebbles before planting. Some other flower care tips we use in summer include cutting off any droopy leaves, planting the amaryllis bulbs in a bigger pot, and keeping the plant under indirect sunlight.

Amaryllis Plant Bulb White Amaryllis Plant Winter Red Amaryllis

Gladiolus

Also known as sword lilies, gladiolus flowers are truly a sight to behold with their bright-hued petals. These tall and colourful plants certainly bring a new life to any garden. So it’s hardly a surprise when our customers want this plant to flower in their garden during summer months. Many gladioli varieties can’t be forced to grow out of season, but some varieties can. To force the hardier varieties, we place the tips of the bulbs slightly above some dirt and water them well. We then leave these refrigerated for about 4 months, until they’re ready to bloom in a warm spot. Gladiolus plants need a lot of water, at least a few centimetres a week, so we make sure to keep the soil moist throughout summer. However, gladioli corms, or bulbs, will rot if the soil is too wet, so we plant them in loamy well-draining soil in warmer months. We also stake these plants to keep them upright during any storms we may have. To get the petals even more vibrant, we keep these plants in sunlight, this will make them extra special in one of our flower bouquets or arrangements.

Winter Gladiolus Red Gladiolus Arrangement Gladioli Fresh Flower Bouquet

Tulips

Tulips, the magnificent trumpet flower, bloom in late winter to early spring. These perennials are the perfect addition to any garden or home, whether in a pot plant or a beautiful flower arrangement. Growing tulip plants in summer may be a little tricky as they are dormant when the weather is hot. However, they can still be planted if the weather is chilly. Alternatively, one can force the tulip bulb to bloom by controlling the temperature. We do this by planting the bulb normally and then keeping the plant refrigerated. Once the bulb starts blooming, it will grow stunning fresh flowers.

Winter Tulip Flowers Grow flowers in winter Winter Tulip Bulbs

Luckily, in South Africa, we have a mild climate, allowing us to grow some of the loveliest winter bulbs, plants and flowers. Whether it’s delightful daisies or pretty pansies, it’s easy to grow bright and beautiful winter blooms. We do this throughout the year to keep up with international trends.

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