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Wild Willy

School Projects and Science Fairs

February 12, 1999
I am doing a science fair project dealing with plants. My topic concerns the effect of music on plants. since I live in the south orange county region in California, I need to know what is the quickest growing plant or flower I can get a local store that grows indoors. thanks for your help.
Probably the fastest growing common indoor plants you can find would be the Coleus (Coleus blumei), Fatsia japonica (Aralia sieboldii), or a Fatshedera (Fatshedera lizei). The Coleus is known for its bright foliage colors and will make a nice house plant as long as it receives sufficient light and food. It may also be grown outdoors as an annual in partial shade. The Fatsia as a house plant grows proportionate to the size container it in. It has large (6 inch) maple type leaves. Fatshedera is a hybrid cross between the Fatsia and English ivy. It grows quickly as a shrubby vine with 3 inch leaves. For the purposes of your project, you might want to grow a few Castor bean (Ricinus communis) seeds in a pot. The plant grows to large for most homes, but is one of the fastest growing plants I've seen. (up to 15 feet in a season) The 'beans' are extremely toxic!
For my botany class at school we are growing Geraniums. I have two redeye orbits that are both putting out their first new leaves and doing well. To encourage growth of leaves and flowers should I keep with a 10-10-10 fertilizer or are there other supplements I could add to help them along? I also don't know how to keep them cool while still exposing them to direct sunlight in my greenhouse. Do you have any ideas? Thank you for your help, your web page was the best I found!
Geraniums are heavy feeders, so you could increase the strength of the fertilizer slightly, but I wouldn't really recommend that. Adding supplemental lighting from 'grow' type lights to extend the length of the day will probably do more good than adding nutrients. When they are growing in a greenhouse situation, Geraniums will do fine in partial shade. As far as keeping the greenhouse cooler, you'll just have to keep the air moving, and adding fresh air from outdoors if the weather permits venting the greenhouse.

I am doing a science fair project on cut flower (specifically roses) preservation. I am required to do research and have been looking around the web for information on common, new, and de-bunked notions about how to make cut rose last longer. Should they be cut at a certain point for maximum post cut preservation? Should they be refrigerated? kept in water, 7 up, water+floral packet, other? anywhere you can refer me or anything you can send me would be most helpful.
*> Early morning or evening are the best times to cut roses, while the stems and petals are full of water.
* Cut the stem at an angle with sharp, clean pruners.
* The flowers should be cut while the bud is still tight, just above a five-leaf.
* Shorter stems tend to last longer than long stemmed roses.
* While it is tempting to remove leaves and thorns from the stem, this will cause the flower to deteriorate much sooner.
* A cut flower preservative added to the COLD water in the vase will undoubtedly extend the life of the bloom.
* Cooler temperatures extend the life of a cut rose considerably.
* Refrigerating your roses will preserve them, but the petals will lose moisture, so it is best to cover each bud with a baggie.
* Roses kept in the dark last longer than those in bright light.
* I have heard that adding lemon-lime soda, lemon juice with a little sugar, aspirin, vinegar, or beer will prolong the life of the cut rose.... I think I'll stick with the commercial preservatives from the nursery.