Make a statement this Valentine’s Day with a unique gift! Flower arrangements are beautiful, but how long do they last? It’s time to swap out those cut flowers for a houseplant and say ‘I love you’ with stunning blooms that keep coming back, time and time again. Check out some of our favorite Valentine’s Day houseplants, as well as other fun gift ideas to bring out that spring mood.

HOUSEPLANTs

Orchids: If you are thinking of a quintessential flowering houseplant that comes in a multitude of colors–both solid and variegated–then you’ve come to the right place! Orchids can produce multiple flower spikes on one stem and with some fertilizer and pruning, they will flower every year.

Jade Hearts: This one is sure to make a statement! These Jade plants grow around a heart-shaped trellis, making them a cute gift for the holiday of love. The perfect, easy-care succulent.

Gerbera Daisy: One might not consider daisies as an indoor plant, but these sun-loving houseplants are extremely hardy to early spring indoor conditions and thrive on the windowsill. The flowers of this plant come in a variety of warm colors like pink, orange, and red. These flowers will bloom until the harsh temperatures of the summer.

Anthurium: These bright red, heart-shaped leaves are sure to catch your eye! They bring a unique tropical feel to your space and are a great Valentine’s Day option. They are easy to care for but do like humidity, so be sure to mist them often!

Valentine’s Day Hoya: Named for its heart-shaped leaves, this hoya is the perfect plant to represent the season of love. These hoya will continue to grow as time goes on and will produce new shoots and leaves. Eventually, this plant will resemble the more traditional hoya shape and structure with longer vines that drape over the edges of the pot.

OTHER GIFT IDEAS

Plantable Cards: Give your valentine a thoughtful card and gift all in one! Peel off the handcrafted seed paper from the front of the card, soak it in water overnight, plant it, and watch it grow into beautiful wildflowers.

Terrarium: What’s better than a homemade gift? We have an extensive selection of products to create your terrarium. Hand-pick from containers, plants, and accessories to make a terrarium that the special someone in your life will love!

We hope to see you picking out some Valentine’s Day favorites soon!

Spring is going to be here in just a couple of months! JumpStart your garden by getting everything you need for seed starting, from soil to cell packs. Plus, Van Wilgen’s now carries 4 different seed lines, with more selection than ever before! Remember – a lush garden filled with bright flowers and ripe veggies starts with sowing seeds indoors.

Everything you need to get started

If you’re looking for high-quality seeds, you’re in luck! This year, we have a greater selection than ever before, made up of 4 unique seed companies.

Hudson Valley Seed Co: A great source for organic, non-GMO open-pollinated and heirloom seeds! Each seed packet is a work of art. The Hudson Valley team works with artists for interpretations and stories to go with each variety. New to us starting in 2023, these have been a hit! If you liked them last year, you’ll be happy to know we brought them back and DOUBLED our selection.

High Mowing Organic Seeds: Committed to providing the best in organic, non-GMO seeds. High Mowing sources many of the varieties they sell directly from independent and passionate organic seed farmers!

Botanical Interests: A trusted company that sells only high quality, non-GMO, and organic seeds, all responsibly made in the USA! You can rest easy knowing their seed packets are never treated or contain any fillers.

Hart Seeds: With over a century of experience, Hart Seeds is one of the oldest seed companies! Their products are never genetically engineered, and they are based out of Wethersfield, Connecticut.

What varieties of seeds can you start right now? Consider onions, leeks, peppers, catnip, chives, parsley, oregano, pansies, echinacea, lavender, rudbeckia, milkweed, coreopsis, foxglove, ice plant, broccoli, kale, lettuce, and others that require a cold period to break their dormancy.

Everything you need for indoor seed starting is here. We recommend getting your hands on some of Espoma’s Organic Seed Starter Premium Potting Mix. Getting nutrient-filled soil is a super important step ensure to healthy growth! You’ll also find grow lights and alternatively, heat mats, which are great to put under your cell packs to help your seeds germinate faster.

Sow seeds outside

Don’t have the room to spare indoors? You can sow many seeds outside in plastic containers like milk or water jugs and salad containers! This method creates mini greenhouses and inside the jugs will be 10-15 degrees warmer than the outside temp. Cut a plastic jug in the middle, leaving a hinge on the back. Fill the bottom half with soil, plant your seeds, and then tape the jug back up. Be sure to put any labels inside the containers so they don’t get destroyed by the elements. Place them in an area where they will get some sun. You can start most seeds in this environment – great for perennials, onions, leeks, and more. No squash or pumpkins!

Some seeds require cold stratification and can be planted directly in the ground during the winter, and in some cases, directly into the snow! Direct sowing is great because there is no transplanting involved, which some varieties (like poppies) don’t respond well to. Just be sure to mark where you put each seed so you don’t mistake them for weeds when they pop up in the spring! All the varieties in the image below can be directly sown, but if you’re curious about others, always take a look at the instructions on the back.

Helpful Hints:

1. You do not have to plant all the seeds that come in a packet. Feel free to save them and they will last a very long time if protected from the humidity. Store in sealed plastic bags or mason jars with lids on them.

2. Know your zone! CT is spread across a few different zones… being aware of your estimated frost dates will help you make educated decisions on when to start which seeds.

3. Seeds that have a longer growing period are fine to plant now. You don’t want to plant seeds with shorter growing periods that like warm temps. For example, if you were to start tomatoes, by the time they are ready to be put in the ground it would still be far too cold outside to plant them!

During the winter, hungry animals are looking for twigs and buds to eat off your favorite trees and shrubs. Animals aren’t the only threat though, rough wind and beaming sun will dry out your evergreens. Make sure you pick up the right products to help preserve your landscape during these cold months!

ANIMAL STOPPER

Hungry deer, rabbits, and field mice primarily feast on the twigs and buds of many trees and shrubs during the winter. This is when they can do the most damage to your landscape as they eat away at the structure of your plants. Messina’s Animal Stopper and Deer Stopper contain natural food-grade ingredients like rosemary oil to repel animals naturally, working through taste, smell, and feel. It is also completely kid and pet-safe.

Wilt-Pruf

Evergreens are prone to drying out during winter as harsh winds and sunlight wreak havoc on them. To combat this from happening, we recommend Wilt-Pruf. Wilt-Pruf is an anti-dessicant we trust and use on our own plants! Even if you have previously applied Wilt-Pruf, we recommend reapplying after the new year since harsh UV rays can break it down over time. To make sure Wilt-Pruf is effective and lasts as long as possible, apply it on a cloudy day with above-freezing temps.

Both of these products can be found in our solution center in our North Branford location. Stop by today and PROTECT YOUR LANDSCAPE!

What can you do to care for your plants during the winter? Even though many plants go into dormancy during the winter months, don’t forget about them! Here are some tips to ensure your garden will make it through the cold.

1. Snow Protection: Be sure to cover up marginally hardy and cold-sensitive plants with tarps. Layered burlap is best… make sure you don’t use plastic/blue tarps since your plants need to be able to breathe. This helps keep the wind chill temps down by creating protection without suffocating them. Bring any containers inside; empty out the soil and flip them upside down so that water doesn’t collect inside and freeze. Check up on your evergreens and remove excess snow that has built up to prevent damage. Remember to brush upwards to remove snow since brushing downwards puts more stress on the branches and can cause unwanted breakage.

2. Apply Wilt-Pruf: Sun, wind, and salt are rough on evergreens during the winter and can cause a lot of common issues like leaf curling, bark splitting from sunburn, and more. Protect them by spraying Wilt-Pruf and applying Gypsum to the soil around plants that are close to the road to prevent salt damage.

3. Prune: Safely prune off any damage that might have occurred from the harsh conditions. General and maintenance pruning should wait till mid-March.

4. Secure Seeds: Now is a great time to purchase any seeds you want to start indoors for planting later in the spring or summer. The early bird gets the worm!

5. Houseplant Care: Don’t forget that even from inside your house, plants can react negatively to the colder months… so be sure to keep a close eye on your houseplants and keep them away from drafts! Monitor indoor temp and humidity and cut back on watering and fertilizer as your plants slow down their growth during the winter months.

6. Plan for Spring: What do you want to grow this year? Thinking about spring planting is a great way to get yourself out of the winter blues.

    The holiday season is here, which means decorating your home with lots of fresh greens including decorated Christmas trees, perfectly placed mantelpieces, fragrant evergreen garlands, and welcoming swags and wreaths on our front doors.

    Unfortunately, we’ll also be looking at drying winter winds and scalding, reflective sun. We protect ourselves with puffy jackets, woolly socks, fleecy gloves, and cozy hats and scarves. As you walk out your door, all bundled up, look over at the beautiful evergreen trees and shrubs you planted this season. Similarly, when you go to decorate your home with live greens for the holidays, you want them to last all season! Luckily, there’s a simple and easy solution…Wilt-Pruf! Wilt-Pruf is an anti-transpirant or anti-desiccant – it keeps your planted and cut evergreens from drying out and is so easy to use. Don’t spray when it’s bright and sunny, wait for an overcast day. Wilt-Pruf is great at protecting live evergreens from winter weather but it is also perfect for keeping fresh-cut holiday greens looking beautiful. Even better, it is made locally in Essex, CT. Best yet, it never expires!

    In the winter, evergreens, in particular, suffer from drying winds, frozen ground, and hot sun. Plants that hold their leaves (needles) suffer the worst. The ground is frozen, so the roots cannot take up the water the plant needs to keep the needles plump with moisture. The drying winds suck all the water right out of the needles and to add insult to injury, the sun comes out and bakes the already drying needles.

    Wilt-Pruf is best applied starting around Thanksgiving for outside plants and any time for your cut greens. Coat your evergreen trees and shrubs, spray down your wreaths, door swags, mantelpieces, and kissing balls. Do the first coat before temperatures are consistently in the freezing zone. Then reapply when temperatures peak back up to the ’40s.

    Get the most out of your holiday decorations from Van Wilgen’s and protect your precious evergreen investments. It’s simple… just Wilt-Pruf them.

    Hint: To protect more than just your evergreens, try using Wilt-Pruf on Hydrangeas and Rose canes to get them through the harsh winter months.

    Christmas is getting closer and closer… do you have all of your holiday shopping done? If not, don’t stress! Here are some fun ideas you can grab during your stop at our garden center to surprise someone this year.

    the growing candle

    Get a gift that keeps on giving! With The Growing Candle, you’ll be giving more than just a scented candle. After you burn through the wax, you can plant the label and grow wildflowers! Choose from different designs and scents to customize this unique gift for that special plant lover in your life.

    Tabletop firepits

    What is more cozy on these cold nights than a toasty warm fire at the table? This bioethanol fireplace makes an amazing centerpiece for any Christmas gathering or housewarming gift! Choose from a few unique sizes and shapes and grab it now for 25% off.

    wrapped Poinsettias with gift cards

    Poinsettias are a beautiful and timeless gift. Choose from a wide selection of decorative papers at our poinsettia wrapping station so you can get yours just how you want it for that unique touch. Then, add a holiday gift card to make it all come together! Plus, we’re doing a promotion where you can bring your poinsettias back between January 15th and February 18th for 20% off your houseplant order. That means in addition to a lovely gift, you’ll be giving them a 20% off coupon on a houseplant order!

    bird baths & houses

    Birding is growing in popularity! We have a wide selection of birding essentials, houses, feeders, and more that would make excellent gifts. This holly-designed birdbath below is a brand-new piece that would make a stunning statement in anyone’s yard.

    festive gnomes & SNOW GLOBES

    Looking for something more versatile? Festive decor including gnomes and snow globes make fun gifts for anyone on your list who loves to decorate for the holidays!

    Poinsettias are a Christmas staple and come in a diverse array of beautiful colors and sizes, many of them available here at Van Wilgen’s. With Christmas just around the corner, many of us are looking for gift ideas for family, friends, and coworkers. Poinsettias make the perfect gift for a business Christmas party, or simply for festive decoration in the office or home, or home office!

    With our Poinsettia Wrapping Station up and running for this Christmas season, it is easy to create an amazingly festive gift. Simply choose one of our diverse Poinsettia colors, and our expert gift wrapper will help you choose a complementary wrap. For an extra twist, add one of our new holiday gift cards!

    Poinsettia Care Tips:

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    Poinsettia varieties:

    Classic Red

    A deep, rich, red. An instant Christmas classic!

    Classic White (Cream)

    A creamy, pale white. Pairs well with classic red.

    PINK

    Classic poinsettia in a delicate rosy pink color!

    Painted Blue

    Blue spray paint on classic white, adds a unique flair.

    TAPESTRY

    Bright red bracts with yellow and green variegated foliage.

    Jingle Bells

    Huge dark red bracts splashed with cream!

    Marbled

    Marbled varieties can be a mix of pink, white, and red.

    Princettia

    A variety with bountiful and more compact bracts! Available in bright pink, pure white, and red.

    Winter Rose

    An older style that is growing in popularity again! Features red, wavy petals.

    Which style is your favorite? We hope to see you soon!

    O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree, what kind of Christmas tree is best for me?

    For many of us, putting up and decorating a Christmas tree is a staple of the holiday season. Gathering with the family, pulling out boxes of handmade ornaments, and finding the perfect branch to put each one on is a time-honored tradition. For the truly adventurous, choosing a tree begins with a trek into our tree field with a saw in hand and seemingly limitless choices around you. At Van Wilgen’s, we carry several varieties of Christmas trees, each with unique features. To help make the choice a little easier, we’ve compiled a few quick facts about our favorite tree options.

    Fraser Fir


    Douglas Fir


    Blue Spruce


    Turkish Fir

    We look forward to seeing you soon!

    Poinsettias aren’t the only holiday houseplants you can get for this special season! Whether you want to make your own mini ‘Charlie Brown’ tree, or just looking for some indoor festive color, we have something for you!

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    Cyclamen

    Cyclamen are a favorite for their bright color and active blooms throughout the holidays. Quick tip: make sure you are watering the base of the plant and not on top of the blooms!

    Lemon Cypress

    Lemon cypress introduces a little bit of a lighter green into the house, making it a unique and fun choice for decorating!

    Christmas Cactus

    Christmas cacti are popular for a reason! These beautiful plants bloom right around the holidays and can be passed down from generation to generation since they get so old and so big.

    Norfolk Island Pine

    Another excellent choice is Norfolk Island Pine! Add some small ornaments on these and you have your own little ‘Charlie Brown’ tree.

    It’s the time of year again to find your perfect Christmas tree and take it home… but how do you make sure your tree stays in tip-top shape throughout the holiday season? Below are some simple but important tips to keep in mind when you bring your tree home this year.

    1. Put a fresh cut on it. Feel free to ask one of our tree & shrub crew to take a couple of inches off the bottom, they don’t mind and your tree will thank you for it!

    2. Get it in a bucket of water as soon as you can. Your tree will soak up A LOT of water, especially in the first couple of days. It’s important to make sure you keep refilling the bucket as needed to keep your tree happy.

    3. Keep away from fireplaces. This will dry out your tree!

    4. Enjoy it! Every tree is different… and once the ornaments are on it they all look amazing.

    Concerned about needle shed? Don’t worry… this is a very natural process! All evergreen trees lose about a third of their needles every year, which happens from the inside out where there is less air, sunlight, and circulation happening. Once we get your tree through the bailor, most, if not all of that shed will be removed… but don’t be surprised if you find needles dropping here and there!

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