Orchids have a reputation for being difficult to grow when in fact many varieties make excellent house plants. An orchid can be in bloom for months each year and can live indefinitely if given the proper TLC. When you consider this, they are indeed worth every penny – think of an orchid purchase as a wise investment.
We have a new shipment of orchids in, including Blue Mystique (quantities are limited!), so celebrate February with a beautiful new orchid!
The orchid family has over 880 different types (called genera) and over 22,000 species! These numbers are growing every year making orchids the largest and most diverse of the flowering plant families. Orchids are mostly tropical plants which live as one of the following:
· epiphytes or “air plants” hanging on to trees for support
· lithophytes or “rock plants” growing on or among rocks
· terrestrials which grow in the floor of the jungle
Root for ‘em!
The secret to growing healthy orchids is to grow healthy roots. Ordinary potted plants are judged by their leaf growth. For orchids, the root growth is the best indicator of the health of the plant. For orchids grown in pots we must be extra careful not to rot or smother the roots.
Pot your orchids in the smallest pot that the roots will fit in and stake the plant while it establishes itself. The orchids we’ve seen grow the best are often growing in what appears to be ridiculously small pots so resist the urge to ‘pot up’ any more than is absolutely necessary to hold the roots.
Orchids do not like ‘wet feet’ but they love humidity. Orchids like to be on humidity trays which allow water to collect in the base while the plant is suspended above the water. You can create your own from a cake pan filled with stones or inverted pot saucers, anything to allow the orchid pot to be above a pool of water – but they’ll benefit from the evaporation of the water.
A good rule of thumb is to water orchids thoroughly once or twice per week – more when it’s warmer, less when it’s cooler. Just be sure to let the water drain out completely – never leave the orchid standing in water.
Establishing a routine can help, for example watering on the weekend and checking the plants midweek. When in doubt, wait. Too little is better than too much.
Orchids also like the company of other orchids – this helps to raise the humidity among the plants. What is tricky about this? The fact that orchids like air movement – not too much or they’ll dry out, but too little and they’ll begin to rot.
Let there be Light!
Give your orchids bright light, but no direct sunlight…think by a window, but light filtered by curtains or blinds.
Watch your temper(ature)
Some orchids are naturally warm-growing, while others are intermediate to cool-growing but most will do just fine in intermediate growing conditions (not blazing hot nor freezing cold). Be mindful to not sit them near a ceiling or floor vent as they’ll be in the direct line of heat or a/c drafts.
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