Friday, February 12, 2016

Speaking of orchids.....

So like I said, speaking of orchids!

It's one of those plants that so many people love. They last a good 2-4 months depending on your homes temperature and care patterns but a lot of people are scared of them.

Scared to screw up,
scared to murder the plant that cost anywhere from 15-35 bucks.

Let's learn instead of being scared.

Orchidaceae "Orchid"  is a diverse and widespread family of flowering plants with blooms that are often colourful and often fragrant commonly known as the orchid family. (wikipedia)
The most commonly cultivated orchid plant is the phalenopsis (the orchids you see all over from the grocery store to your favourite florist/retail store [ ie. Oliver and Rust...]
This is the type we will deal with here.

Alright you're in the store and you want to bring one home.
Many grocery stores don't have these plants set up near a window so the belief is that they are living fine in here so they should be fine in the basement, right?
Not right.
Chain stores tend to buy plants and price them low as they assume they will move quickly and won't have a chance to die out prior to finding an adoptive plant parent.
Your orchid will need bright indirect light. They don't love being blasted with sun all day long in a window but do crave sunshine much like we do. The leaves can actually sunburn (although they don't get that fantastic lobster shade that humans do)

oh watering. the bane of most black thumbs existence.
when to do it? 
how much?

Easiest method: The ice cube treatment!
Once per week put 3 ice cubes on the plants dirt, bark media and let it melt.
Second method: Take the plant out of the fantastic container you have it in and hold the growers pot (the cheap plastic pot it came in) under your tap with room temperature-ish water and let the excess drain out the bottom. Once it mostly stops dripping put it back in your container.
Orchids don't like to have their roots be soaking wet so if you don't let it drain out somewhere other than its container and water sits around them, your orchid will reward you with quickly falling flowers, rotting leaves and general suicidal behaviour.

Now here's the tricky part. Some people like to heat their house like the dickens in the winter and it gets very dry so your plants will dry out quicker.
Are you getting zapped by static when you empty the dryer?
Yes? your house is dry!
You need to mist not only your orchids but your other tropical houseplants as well.
If you keep your house above 73 degrees fahrenheit and do not have a humidifier, you need to mist your plants 2 times per week as well. 

alright so this one is one of the most commonly asked questions in the shop.
How do I make it rebloom?
Well first and foremost remember after blooming your plant does need a bit of a "rest" but the best thing to do after all your flowers fall off is to trim the stalk that's left.

There are nodes on the stalk that held the flowers. Start at the bottom, there is usually a node (ripple like spot)  right near the soil/bark, go to the next one and cut it about an inch above that second node.
Your orchid will rebloom right out of this stalk.

Another point to consider is even though your plant is done flowering, it still has the light requirements it had when flowering, will like a few cool nights so pick the room with the most light and coolest temps like a second story room.

If your orchid doesn't rebloom, don't consider yourself a failure. It just doesn't always work out on the first shot. 

And hey remember your gorgeous flower lasted you quite some time and for 20 bucks even if you don't successfully rebloom it, you would have went through at least 2 or 3 bouquets in that time. Now you at least have a great green foliage plant too.

Other items of note. To fertilize or not to fertilize.
Well I am going to be honest. I have never never been great about fertilizing my indoor plants. I did just find an orchid fertilizer spray mister by miracle grow at Canadian Tire that I have been using. Easy peasy. That whole mixing thing was just never my thing.

And un-orchid related but these cute smoochy poo little pink and white kalanchoes popped up in the shop this week if you still aren't convinced of orchid growing.

So here's to Valentine's Day and growing some lovelies.

Keep warm and put some gloves on those green thumbs



  1. I wish you could see my orchid. I live in SW Florida and was given a beautiful, white orchid for Christmas last year. I placed it on the lanai by the pool. I water it occasionally and it has bloomed, nonstop for the last year! I never cut the long branches off or trim or just blooms and blooms and blooms. Right now, it has 14 flowers and another four buds. Now I'm looking for another orchid to add. I've been a plant grower my whole live and never was interested in orchids because I thought they were so finicky.

    1. that's amazing. you probably have that perfect combination of heat, humidity and light that orchids love. i wish. we definitely don't have that here in ontario at this time of year as we are currently getting snow squalls and -13 degrees celsius for awhile. our orchids need a smidge of coaxing to stay super healthy. before you know it you'll have a whole collection of them and they'll be blooming one after the other. :)

  2. If you have a black thumb, are waiting for your orchid to bloom again, or have one just for the foliage, get a great quality artificial orchid stalk. My mom is a master gardener but even she has problems with orchids. She sticks an artificial stalk on her orchid plants and everyone thinks they're real. These days there are extremely high quality artificial flowers that don't look like those fake blue and mauve rose and dried eucalyptus stems arrangements from the eighties.


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