Release Date:Apr 02, 2010
Summary:A handy, flowering plant reference guide for the fledgling and experienced gardener.
Here’s a short, rhyming story about me:
There once was a girl named Jackie, who watered her plants til they were tacky. She stayed up all night, feeling something wasn’t right, and thought to herself, “I wonder if they get too much light?” It wasn’t very clear, no, not at all, why her plants shed such a tear, and Jackie was blubbery, amiss, giving those dear plants a kiss, knowing all too well, her plants were in certain hell. Even with oxygen and water, her plants simply fought her, and indeed came her fright, when her plants died that very night.
Point of the story? I’m a terrible gardener, and, apparently, a terrible poet. I received my first potted plant as a gift from my boyfriend in High School, who felt a beautiful white orchid with lovely, purple stamens could soothe my post-wisdom teeth agony, and I suppose, appeal to my womanly sentiments – he always did have good taste. More formally known as a Phalaenopsis, it was planted in a green ceramic pot with pretty lattice patterns, and held the most wondrous bloom: wide open, like a billowy cloud but with a ghostly expanse to its every tendril. I still have the pot – it rests in companionship with other pots on my front porch – but unfortunately, no plant has taken residence in its pretty seat since the day that orchid died. Maybe I’m sentimental, and felt that no other plant deserved the place of that flower, but it’s also a matter of my green thumb – I do not have one. Plenty of pink ones, ones that hold pens and can cook, bake amazing desserts, but none that bear even the remotest ability to plant something, and not have it wither and die. Orchids, in particular, are a fussy species, often blooming but once a year, and require stringent limitations on the amount of water and light, even dryness to the air (they love humidity). The reason why my blooms never returned? Nitrogen deficiency, a common reason why plants fail to bloom year after year despite, otherwise, remaining green and healthy. Time after time, I’ve purchased plants, only to see a jungle of green appear around me, with no other color in sight.
uFlowers by NIX Solutions may just be the answer. Obviously, for anyone with an innate talent for gardening, or for someone who actively seeks knowledge on plants, maintaining healthy plants and flowers may be an an easy task – frivolous even. But, for someone like me, who enjoys pretty flowers, for aesthetic and scent purposes, but who has absolutely no concrete knowledge in plants and doesn’t have the patience to research it on her own, uFlowers is an excellent resource for the iPhone. The app contains a catalogue of plants, each plant listing bearing such pertinent information as the Latin name, its origin, a brief but complete description, and excellent details on how to properly care for the plant, including timetables for watering, proper temperature, optimal light, what soil to use and when to fertilize. It’s very thorough, but still a bit incomplete: the whole app only lists about 70 plants, but these cover the most widely used and loved plants in this country, so perhaps it’s not that limiting at all.
Using uFlowers, I was finally able to decipher what plants I have in my conservatory. The place I moved into recently has a good-sized conservatory, with red brick planters running the entire perimeter like a massive baseboard, all bearing these monstrous, almost Jurassic-looking plants with giant, rubbery leaves, and stems the size of my arm. The plants, apparently, are called the Swiss Cheese Plant (Latin name, appropriately, Monstera deliciosa), and hail from Mexico. They can reach upwards of 10 feet in height (wow), and their leaves, it seems, can cause such severe skin irritation that uFlower recommends using gloves to handle them. This is extremely good to know because when my skin comes in contact with poison oak, the ensuing outbreak resembles second degree burns – I’m definitely wary of any plant with potential irritants.
I’m glad, though, that I now have a handy reference on how to take care of this beastly plant. It requires bright light, but no direct sun; a temperature between 65 and 85 degrees; peat moss soil mixed with sand or perlite for good drainage (drainage is important since it’s a drought-tolerant species); watering may be done sporadically, allowing the top one inch of soil to dry in between waterings; spraying of the leaves may be done every two days for normal room humidity; and fertilizing may be done every two weeks, spring through fall, and monthly in the winter. To better plan my plant healthcare schedule, uFlower allows you to save plants under “My Flowers” and then organizes the watering, fertilizing, and other schedules into a calendar. Small thumbnails of your plants are shown beneath the Calendar, and markers show up on each calendar day to represent however many tasks you have for that day – plant-related, of course. To ascertain more specifically what you have to do on a specific day, tap the To-Do tab at the bottom of the screen, and all your tasks will be laid out neatly for you – for today, 4/14/2010, I must water, spray and fertilize my Swiss Cheese Plant. Thankfully, after today’s run, I won’t have to do anything until 4/18, when I must spray its leaves. You can sync this information with your email and desktop calendar (for the extra fastidious), and you even have the option of sound notifications, and further customizations in the form of adding your own plants or flowers to the catalogue. I wish it was a little easier on the eyes sometimes, and maybe a bit more intuitive on the controls, but for what it does, I’m not complaining much. Though, I have to admit – it does seem like an awful lot of watering for the Swiss Cheese Plant when I know it’s done very well, all its own, without anyone watering it, for a good two months.
Before uFlowers, I definitely swayed toward the minimalist approach to plants: buy cacti. It does make sense in California, though, without being too much of a cop-out, lackadaisical approach to gardening – we are a drought state, and drought-friendly plants not only help the environment by being more indigenous, but help out the green thumbless in the garden department. But, now that I have an excellent guide to preen my feathers, stroke my self-confidence, I can tell you, with the utmost assurance, that I will begin foraying into the more treacherous tendrils of orchids, azaleas, roses, tulips and more.
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