Saturday, May 5, 2012

Florida Greenthumb Picks: Peppermint and Alcea

Sucker!  I bought an orchid, a small peppermint, and a giant alcea -- Vietnamese  hollyhock -- at Greenthumb last week!  Sound like the beginning of a bad joke?

The reason why peppermint doesn't grow for me in Fla is because the air temp is too hot for it!  It's like my husband Marty!  It wants to go to North Carolina during the summer.  I'll try putting it in a nice pot and keeping it in my kitchen for the duration. Bethia can grow it in a pot in her backyard, but her backyard has that giant oak tree lowering the air temp by 10 degrees.

And that gorgeous alcea?  I was wary when Robby looked at it sadly and said, "Oh, we killed ours."  Many of the buds have turned brown and dropped off and a few of the leaves. It's supposed to grow in full sun all over the US, but when they say that, they aren't talking about Florida full sun in my experience.  It's supposed to be drought tolerant but it needs to be watered twice a week, which in Florida is not drought tolerant.

The orchid? Unbelievably gorgeous. People look at it and say, "Is that real?"

What have I learned from this?  The orchid came out of a local nursery. I have bought less than healthy plants from local nurseries before, but usually local nurseries don't specialize in bizarre and delicate  foreign refugees.