The Fundamentals of Planting Orchids

A lot of people enjoy planting orchids. It is a passion that is shared and enjoyed by many people around the world. Horticulturists enjoy orchid flowers immensely and it is considered a favorite among this group. I guess the underlying reason behind it is that orchids represent a different kind of beauty which requires a lot of handwork from the grower to achieve. It certainly is true that you need to exert hardwork and exercise due diligence to achieve that superb level of beauty that orchids are known for. In this article, we will be tackling some of the basic things that we need to understand and put into mind when we are planting orchids.

Orchids are perennial plants. They are the most passionately grown plants in the world and have been commonly associated with exotic, mysterious, and romantic themes in both popular culture and movies. They have been commonly used as symbols to represents themes on mystery and romance. Orchids are also considered some of the most bizarre and diversified flower on the planet and can grow in almost any form and in almost any color.

There many ways of planting orchids. In order for the orchids to grow well, all of the materials that you will be using needs to be well aerated and must have good water flow. Great examples of this include pot, bark of wood’s trunk, coconut shell, and so many more.

There are some orchid plants that demand appropriate shelter to grow well. To mention a few, they include orchid plants such as Cattleya, Phalenopsis and the Dendrobium. They are very different from Vanda, Renanthera, and Morakar since they need a steady amount of sunlight to grow well.

A majority of the commercial flowers need to be replanted every 5 years. The reason behind is that after 5 years, most orchid plants are no longer strong and balanced. In orchid planting, fertilizer is a very essential component. Through their active growth and different growth phases, they need adequate nutrition to help them get through. Chemicals and pesticides may also be used but it needs to be dissolved in water before spraying. After dissolving, you need to spray it on the roots and leaves at least two times a day for one month.

Watering is also a great way to ensure the healthy growth of your orchid plants. There really is not a specific schedule that you should follow for watering for as long as you water them appropriately. Overwatering your orchid will without a doubt, harm them. So always put into mind, not to overwater them. The frequency of watering plants should be dependent on the climate. Usually the best times to water the plants are during the early mornings and midafternoon when the sun is not scorching hot.

Planting orchids can be tough business especially if you are starting out. But with proper guidance and adequate knowledge on the different facets that you need to focus on, everything will smooth sailing. Always remember that when you are in doubt, it is always best to consult other orchid experts and do some online researching.

The Epidendrum Orchid

The epidendrum orchid or epi is considered as a mega-genus within the orchid family, since it has more than 1,100 species. Its name is called after their epiphytic growing habit, although not all epidendrums live upon trees and are not epiphytes at all.

This genus was established by Carolus Linnaeus in 1763 by including all the epiphytes orchids that he knew at that time. Later it was determined that some of the species were not epiphytes and belongs to other species or subspecies. At present, there are more than about 2,000 names (including the 1,100 accepted ones), where more than 1,000 names have been divided into other new or revived genera. According to some estimation, there are still about 2,000 types of epidendrum orchids out there that have not been discovered yet.

Most of these orchids are native to tropical and subtropical areas in America and Asia. The majority of epidendrums are epiphytes, but some of them are terrestrial orchids that live on grounds and a bit rare of lithophytics that live on rocks. They can be found in tropical forests to humid jungles. They could also live on sunny green slopes to cool shady forests. Hence, epidendrums are considered as enduring orchids.

Although you can mostly find them in tropical areas, but some types are able to thrive in cool conditions including the E. radicans. Anoter orchid, the E. conopseum can even tolerate continuous freezing condition such in Auckland. In such lower temperature this orchid will still bloom during the whole year.

The flower size and form comes in several varieties. They can bloom in clumps or in the form of unbranched inflourescences (= receme), and sometimes also in compound receme (= panicle) or in panicles where the lower flowers possess longer stems. The flowers on top, lateral and lower side are usually small to medium sized and are often unnoticeable

A lot of epidendrums are known to possess pleasant fragrance, which is a reason for keeping this type of orchid. E. aromaticum is one of those fragrant orchids that bloom from summer to fall. E. cochleatum is another fragrant orchid that will also bloom during summer to fall, but it needs a warmer temperature. While some other species such us E. moyobambae and E. radiatum will thrive during spring to summer.

Other than fragrance, epidendrum has very minimum traits to offer. The flowers are not quite demanded due to their small size and unattractiveness compared to other orchid types. However, there some types that are quite beautiful and can be considered as one of your collection, the E. radicans for instance.

E. radicansis a weed-like orchid that lives along the roadsides in Central America. The flaming-red flowers bloom at the end of a fluorescence which is about 15 inches long. This blooming could last for quite along time in warm to cool temperatures on a growing media of terrestrial orchid-mix.

Another attractive orchid from this genus is the E. pfavii, which is also called by the ‘purple gum drop’. It is native to Costa Rica that grows with an upright cane which could reach a height of 4 feet tall. A large quantity of pink to purple flowers will bloom at the top of the cane. You can cultivate it on barks as well as in coarse and well drained media. This orchid does need fertilizer for optimum results.

Another positive factor to consider is that epidendrums are easy to proliferate. One stem could yield many plants with a wide range of tolerable and growing conditions. These breed are best grown in a compost-mix of bark, sphagnum moss and tree branch fiber. They are able to tolerate a temperature as high as 100ºF without showing any suffering.

As a final say for this epidendrum orchid, knowing some species with pleasant fragrance and beautiful cluster flowers, plus its enduring (‘stubborn’ seems to be a more appropriate word), easy to care characteristic, I would consider epidendrum orchid as worthy to be included into your orchid collection.

Phal Orchids

Many growers refer to Phalaenopsis Orchids as simply Phals, and they are also called Moth Orchids. The name Phalaenopsis comes from Greek, and means “looks like a moth”. The manner in which the typical Phalaenopsis spreads its petals is reminiscent of the appearance of one of them that is resting. These flowers naturally have fifty or sixty different species, but more kinds have been added through hybridization. These are beautiful and colorful and will add an elegant touch to any home. This is a tropical or subtropical species, and they usually grow as epiphytes in or on trees. Some of these orchids will also grow on rocks.

While it is true that some orchids can be fussy and difficult to grow successfully, Phal Orchids are easy for even the beginning indoor gardener to handle. These orchids can grow quite large, and can be two feet in both height and breadth. The flower sprays produced make a spectacular display that can last for months as long as the flowers remain unfertilized and undamaged. This kind of orchid has no pseudobulb.

Moth orchids should be grown in a medium designed for epiphytic orchids – usually composed of bark, coconut fiber, or sphagnum moss. Although many orchids do like to dry out nearly completely between waterings, the Phal variety like to be kept just slightly damp at all times. They should not be kept sitting in water, however, and you should take care to keep water off the leaves as this can cause them to rot. Many experienced growers actually repot their Moth Orchids every year, right at the beginning of the growth cycle at the end of winter, rather than waiting until the orchid is potbound.

Temperature is as important to Moth Orchids as it is to all varieties. They can only grow and thrive in a fairly narrow temperature window. Moth Orchids do not like temperatures lower than 60 degrees F, or higher than 85. They will not be able to tolerate temperatures lower than 60 for very long, so care should be taken during a northern winter to protect them from the cold. The room temperature should definitely be kept on the warm side when the orchid is developing buds or flowering.

Anyone growing Phal Orchids should be sure to fertilize them every week during the growing season. This variety are heavy feeders and will need this weekly addition to their ‘diet’ to keep them healthy and promote blooming. As Moth Orchids should be given a rest period over the winter, fertilizer as well as water should be restricted somewhat at this time.

In the wild, the Moth variety grow in conditions of low or diffuse sunlight. Direct sunlight will be too intense for these orchids and can cause the leaves to turn yellow and sometimes scorch. A windowsill on the east side of the house, to catch the relatively weak morning sun is the best spot for this orchid, and it can be moved to the west side in the late afternoon for a bit more light. Artificial lights can also provide adequate lighting for Moth Orchids.

Moth Orchids come in a range of colors from white through pink and purple. Some of them have white accented with another color, and some, particularly the peach colored Phals, are spotted. White Moth Orchids can either be pure white in color, or come with dashes and splashes of pink or fuschia. It would be hard to find an easier and more beautiful orchid to grow.

Orchid Yellow Leaves – Is Your Orchid Sick?

There are ways to tell upon looking if your  orchids  are suffering. Improper watering and sunlight can be detected quickly by  orchid  yellow leaves. Lighting is an important part of caring for your  orchids . You need to know ahead of time what your source of light will be. It is not uncommon for  orchids  to require lighting as long as 12 hours in a day. But they also need shade. Without the shade the leaves can burn.  Orchids  originate from tropical areas and they grow in areas where there is sunlight and shade combined. So it’s essential to monitor the amount of light your  orchids  get since they are not in a natural habitat. One way to achieve this balance is by placing the  orchids  in the eastern section of your garden. This allows for that early morning sun and afternoon shade. By keeping the  orchids  out of the hot sun during the middle of the day you can keep away the  orchid  yellow leaves and keep your plant healthy and alive.

The biggest downfall to growing  orchids  is not being aware of how to care for them. Before you ever purchase the plants to grow them, you should research the types you are interested in thoroughly. You want to know that you are able to care for the  orchids  you wish to grow before you get them, so make certain that their needs are those which you can meet regularly. Some  orchids  are easier to care for than others so choose your plants based on what you can feasibly do in a day.  Orchid  yellow leaves are caused by not properly caring for the  orchids  so it’s vital that you know ahead of time what is expected. A talk with an expert at a gardening center is a great way to gain knowledge about the type of  orchids  you wish to grow.

 Orchids  are a diverse group of plants and  flowers . As you research you will learn there are a lot of differences in the various types of plants. While there are some  orchids  that require much sunlight throughout the day there are other varieties that will not survive without plenty of exposure to shade. Those who grow  orchids  have ways of determining the types of plant they have. Some use light to test the plants out. You will discover in your research that there are hard growing and soft growing  orchids . Soft growing  orchids  need shade and tend to have fewer  flowers . When they do bloom the flowers are much smaller than other varieties. Hard growing  orchids  need sunlight and have many beautiful  flowers  bloom. If you need an easy to care for  flower  you will want to opt for the hard growing  orchids .

Sometimes it is impossible for you to provide adequate natural light throughout the day for your  orchids .In this case you can use a grow light for your plants. Using these lights allows you to provide the proper lighting without being home or having the perfect lighting spot in your house. The timer that is often attached to the lights allows the perfect lighting combination while preventing  orchid  yellow leaves. These artificial lights allow the lighting for your  orchids  to be monitored completely so that adequate lighting is guaranteed. You can shut the lighting off once the plants have received plenty of light for the day. A fluorescent light is a good alternative if you cannot find a good grow light to use.

Buying Precious Wedding Orchids

What is a perfect wedding flower? It is nothing but use of many different colors and sizes of wedding  orchids  that are suitable for all the marriage. People say you can make a particular statement based on the flower of your chosen wedding. For instance, blue hydrangeas represent loyalty and friendship, lilacs, and daisies are the innocent. This represents the beauty of wedding  orchids .

Can you imagine a declaration to the wedding? Then switch to use  orchids  at wedding. First, what is a wedding without a bouquet of flowers? Bundles are usually white, and most of the changes to become an white  orchid  (other colors also endless beautiful). Bunches, tend to be far below one’s nose, and preferably have a pleasant scent, but not too strong. However,  Orchids  can accommodate that too.

Remember centers in the center of the tables. Wedding  Orchids  meet this need very well also for several reasons. First, the  orchid  is a plant that is going to do very well in extremely hot and dry, making it a good choice if you live in a very hot or if the marriage should take place during the summer. The best part is, unlike any other plant,  orchids  are easily available throughout all seasons, which mean you can use best use of these pretty  orchids  for any occasions round the year. Wedding  Orchids  are very impressive as well, because they can become very large and beautiful. However, whatever the type of flower you finally choose for your table centerpieces, make sure to take into account the effects related to allergies of guests and how certain flowers can influence these conditions. A little research in your local plant shop should be able to answer these questions for you.

Are you a small budget? If you are guessing, what kind of flowers may be big about it? If you answered with a resounding “ orchids ” then consider all the  orchids  in your marriage (bunch, Centerpieces, all other decorations, etc.) you can skip to the wholesaler and retailer, may go directly to the manufacturer and buy in bulk. This can save many money and need not be paid in installment.

Phalaenopsis and Vanda are the wedding  orchids  not generally seen as a cut  flower , since they are quite expensive. These flowers are surely a touch of exclusivity. Just be ready for many people coming to your wedding day and say, “What are those beautiful flowers, do you have a bunch of such flowers?”.

Hardy Orchids III: Spiranthes and Wintergreen Orchids

Our series on hardy  orchids  continues with the genus Spiranthes and a class of  orchids  called the wintergreen hardy  orchids .

The genus Spiranthes is commonly called Lady’s Tresses, which refers to its braid-like spiral of small flowers. It is a genus of around 30 species that has a worldwide distribution in the northern hemisphere. The majority of species are native to North and Central America. The genus name is derived from the Greek “speira” (spiral) and “anthos” (flower). Spiranthes grow in meadows, fields, and forests. The spiral is often so tight it is hard to discern, but some individuals have a beautiful, long, curving spiral architecture. Only a handful of Spiranthes species are considered to be showy enough to grow in the garden. They are all fall bloomers with the exception of Spiranthes vernalis (Spring Lady’s Tresses) and Spiranthes aestivus (Summer Lady’s Tresses). The most commonly grown species are Spiranthes ochroleuca and the fragrant Spiranthes cernua.

Spiranthes flower color is typically white but may be pale yellow or pink. Spiranthes produces 1′ tall spikes than can have up to 50 tiny, tubular, flowers arranged in a spiral. Spiranthes prefer full sun in the north but they like protection from midday sun in the southeast. In its native habitat, Spiranthes grows in moist soils, bogs, swamps and it generally likes wet feet. However we have had good luck growing it in normal garden soil with irrigation. The plant spreads via runners when it is happy. The species do not readily cross with each other because they have different chromosome numbers but there are a few naturally occurring interspecific hybrids.

Spiranthes cernua var. odorata (Nodding Ladies’ Tresses) (syn. Spiranthes odorata) This native  orchid  is the southern form of Spiranthes cernua, ranging from Virginia south to Florida. The ground-hugging, dark-green rosettes spread slowly by underground rhizomes, creating a nice colony when growing in native habitats such as moist soils, bogs or swamps. In mid-September, the insignificant rosettes produce incredible 1′ tall spikes spiraled with small, white bell-shaped flowers, emitting a delightful fragrance often described as a cross between vanilla and jasmine. (Hardiness Zone 3-9)

Wintergreen  orchids  The single-leaf wintergreen  orchids  (Aplectrum, Cremastra and Tipularia) form a large single solitary leaf in the fall that persists through the winter and finally dies off just before the  flowers  arise in the spring or summer. This trait is common in the  orchid  family and occurs when summer temperatures or summer water availability are not conducive to survival.

Aplectrum hyemale (Adam-and-Eve  Orchid ) Scattered from West Virginia through North Carolina, and south into Georgia, grows one of the strangest plants that I remember as a kid…. the Adam-and-Eve  orchid . This bizarre  orchid  produces a solitary, large, 8″ tall green and white vertically striped leaf that remains up from fall until late spring. In spring, the 15″ tall spike of tiny yellow to yellow-green flowers emerges… it’s really dainty, so plant it near the path. Adam-and-Eve  orchid  grows best in moist shade, although summer drought during dormancy is not a problem.

Cremastra appendiculata (Handle  Orchid , Chinese tulip) Native to China, Korea, and Japan this rare and endangered, late-spring-blooming  orchid  has peach-colored  flowers . Easy to grow.

Cremastra unguiculata (Handle  Orchid , Chinese tulip) A Japanese  orchid  that is rarely seen in the west. Flowers have a white lip and tan petals with red markings and are lightly fragrant. It actively grows in the winter and is summer dormant.

Cremastra variabilis (Handle  Orchid , Chinese tulip) Native to Northern China into Russia, this plant grows in high altitude grassy openings in forests. The 8″ spike forms ten to twenty 1.5″ flowers that are purple/pink and fragrant.

Tipularia discolor (Cranefly  orchid ) A dozen pale pink small  flowers  on a single 2′ tall flower stalk. This plant is native from Texas to New York. The single leaf emerges in the fall and lives during the winter. The flower appears in the summer as the leaves are disappearing.

Although rarely used in gardens, Spiranthes and the wintergreen  orchids  make great additions to the  orchid  lovers landscape.

Looking After Your Orchid

Looking after your orchid needn’t be a difficult job if you get the basics right. These plants are very hardy which accounts for the vast number of unusual places they can be found growing in nature. Largely, orchids like to be left alone to grow and flower in peace, but there are five main things that you should try to control to give them the best possible environment in which to live happily. Read this article to understand how to care for an orchid.

1. Planting Medium

Orchids simply cannot grow in ordinary potting compost as this is too dense and will pack too heavily around the roots and choke them. Instead, use a specialist orchid medium made of a mix of various organic and inorganic materials.

The roots need to be well aerated so do not pack the medium too densely and use a pot that contains them snugly without being so large that it retains unnecessary moisture.

2. Watering

Always water your plant with extreme caution. Less is definitely more where hydration is concerned and your orchid will not thank you for being too over-enthusiastic in this department. It is possible to go a week or more without hydrating and you even then you should check the dampness of the planting medium beforehand.

3. Temperature

When learning how to care for an orchid these flowers require daytime temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees F; the exact amount will depend on the specific variety. Most species need a drop in their overnight temperature as well as a cooler environment during their dormant or resting phase if they are to re-flower successfully.

In most cases, achieving a suitable temperature indoors is not a problem at all and no special measures will need to be employed to provide this environment. If this does prove to be a problem, it may be necessary to relocate the plant to another location at certain times of the year.

4. Illumination

Orchids like a generous amount of sunlight as long as it is not too intense to cause scorching to the foliage. A reddish hue to the leaves is often a warning sign that this may be happening so it may be useful to use a curtain or a shade to diffuse the illumination.

5. Humidity

In nature, orchids generally tend to grow in misty humid regions such as rain forests and mountains and they do best if this is replicated wherever they are housed. Except for the bathroom, this habitat is not easily simulated in most homes or indoor environments so you can boost the atmospheric humidity by frequently misting the area surrounding the plant. Placing damp pebbles, bowls of water or even an indoor decorative water feature are other helpful measures in achieving this.

Learning how to care for an orchid in greenhouses is also a brilliant idea wherever possible as these tend to be higher in humidity and also allow good ventilation and air circulation.

If you follow this basic advice for how to care for an orchid, you will find it no effort at all to take care of your splendid orchids. You will have the satisfaction of wowing all your friends with your supposed gardening prowess when you actually know that you didn’t have to do very much at all.

Repotting Orchids

Why Repot. Don’t repot unless you have to! There are two reasons to repot your orchid: drainage and overgrowth. If your orchid growth extends beyond the edge of the pot, leaving brittle and easily damaged young roots dangling in the air, it’s time to repot. If the growing medium has decomposed, appearing sodden and mushy and no longer draining quickly, it’s time to repot. When in doubt, put it off for another year! On the other hand, an orchid that is allowed to remain in the same pot too long will flower poorly. Although it isn’t a difficult task, it is different from repotting other kinds of houseplants. The good news is that there is no need to hurry and cover the roots before they dry. Most orchids like their roots exposed to air. So take your time. If you need to take a break or do an errand, just cover the roots with a damp cloth.

When To Repot. In general the best time for repotting is late spring and early summer before the onset of vigorous new growth. Particular orchid types such as those with pseudobulbs – the bulbous growths – such as the Cattleya, prefer to be repotted just after new growth but before new roots have begun to elongate. If your orchid type lacks pseudobulbs, such as a moth orchid (Phalaenopsis) or a slipper orchid (Paphiopedilum), repot any time, although it is best to do so when the plant is not in flower. Roots that grow exposed to the air for any length of time will most likely die when packed beneath the bark surface, so try to repot just as new growth is beginning to appear. If you wait too long and your plant is already well into its new season, hold off until after your orchid has bloomed, otherwise you will lose the flowers and you’ll run the risk of killing the plant’s entire new root system. Repotting should be done every year-and-a-half to two years, before the potting medium begins to break down into peat and loam. Waiting longer than two years allows the broken-down medium to retain too much moisture, which cuts off air circulation around the roots causing root rot. Follow these general repotting guidelines: Annually: Dendrobium, Miltonia, Paphiopedilum, Phalaenopsis, and their hybrids. Every other year: Cattleya, Dendrobium, Oncidium, Odontoglossum, and their hybrids. Every third year: Vanda and Cymbidium.

Cleanliness. This is the most important precaution, because orchids are particularly susceptible to diseases. Repotting will inevitably involve breaking a few roots and even cutting the plant. You will be coating all these cuts and breaks with medicine as described below. Repot into new or sterilized containers only. Sterilize your instruments by placing them in a solution of 1/2 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water for 10-15 minutes and letting them air-dry. Or wipe every surface area of your tools with rubbing alcohol. Or pass them through an intense flame such as a plumber’s torch. Wash your hands before you begin. If you are a smoker, Tobacco Mosaic Virus will likely be present on your fingertips so additionally rinse your hands in the bleach and water solution. Thoroughly wipe your work surface with the disinfectant solution you’ve chosen. Repeat wiping the work surface after each plant that you repot.

Pot. Orchids like to be a little tight in their pots. Overly large pots tend to direct orchids into root growth and delay new foliage and blooms for months. Orchids may be potted in plastic, clay, or decorator pots, and the type of pot selected may influence watering frequency. For instance, plants in clay pots will need more frequent watering since they dry faster. Orchid pots must have drain holes. Media in the center of larger pots may remain wet for long periods and kill orchid roots. This can be avoided by placing pieces of clay pots in the bottom of the pot. My favorite way to repot orchids into large pots is to place a small inverted pot in the center of the larger one, with the roots of the plant draped over and around the smaller pot. This provides excellent aeration and drainage. The roots of some orchids, such as Phalaenopsis, carry out photosynthesis. For these plants, clear pots are popular, allowing light to reach the roots.

What You Need:

1. Pot. Choose a sterilized pot large enough to sustain at least a year or two of new growth. Remember, if the pot is too large to allow the medium to dry enough between waterings, the roots of your orchid will rot.

2. Soil. Bark, sphagnum, charcoal, perlite, “sponge-rok,” chunk peat, tree fern fibers, oyster shell, coconut husk, or combinations of these depending on your type of orchid, is found at your local garden center. It’s important to use the correct medium for your particular type of orchid. Just look up the name of your orchid online for quick information.

3. Shards. Sanitized clay pot shards, non-biodegradable styrofoam peanuts, or lava rock will cover your pot’s drainage holes without obstructing water from draining quickly.

4. Tools. Sanitized pruning clippers or a sharp knife will be used to divide your plant or trim dead roots.

5. Stake and ties. A bamboo stake and wire plant tie will hold your newly potted plant steady until its roots grow enough to anchor it.

6. Medicine. Pruning sealer, anti-fungal powder, or antibiotic ointment from your medicine cabinet should be applied in a thin layer to any open cuts on the plant – leaves, stems, or roots – to prevent illness.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

1. The day before you repot: Water your orchid thoroughly. A good watering the day before will create pliable roots which are easier to work with and less susceptible to breakage. Wet the medium with boiling water and allow it to soak in a container overnight. The mix will absorb moisture allowing it to be easily placed around the roots of your plant.

2. Un-pot your orchid: Prepare your work area by spreading out several sheets of newspaper. Turn the plant upside down over the paper and tap the sides and bottom of the pot to dislodge it. If roots stick to the pot, use a sterilized kitchen knife to loosen them. The plant will not be harmed if you inadvertently damage some roots. Carefully pry the roots apart and shake off as much of the old potting mixture as possible. Don’t worry if some still clings to the roots.

3. Trim: Before repotted, trim the roots. Be sure to sterilize these and all implements used. Remove any dead or damaged roots. Dead roots are mushy and light brown. Healthy roots are firm and white with light-green growing tips. Also cut off any old leafless pseudobulbs. If there is more than one new growth, or “lead,” you can divide the plant by cutting through the rhizome. Each division should have at least three pseudobulbs and a new lead.

4. Place shards. Orchids need excellent drainage, so place a generous layer of broken clay pot or plastic foam peanuts in the bottom of the pot.

5. Add soil. When placing the plant in the pot, position the older pseudobulbs against one side so that the new lead has room to expand. Pack the dampened mixture around the roots, firming it with your thumbs as you go. Don’t pack the medium – remember orchid roots like aeration. The top of the rhizome should be level with the top of the bark.

6. Aftercare. To keep the plant upright while its new root system is getting established, stake it securely with a loop of twine or use any kind of plant clip that attaches the stem comfortably to the stake. Put the orchid in a lightly shaded location and mist both the plant and the surface of the bark twice daily until new root growth is evident. Once the roots have penetrated the bark, move the plant into brighter light and resume normal watering and fertilizing.

Orchid Information

Orchids have quickly turned out to be, in my opinion the most beloved house plant today. There are countless diverse species of orchids which are found naturally and there seems to be a growing number of hybrids.

Contrary to popular opinion, they are not that hard to grow as long as you treat them with care. This includes proper amounts of water, air, light and fertilizer. While it is true that orchids do benefit from cooler environments, quite a few species do superbly in temperatures which are approximately 75 through 85 degrees Fahrenheit. You may find that one of the easier and most fun orchid to grow is the Phalaenopsis plant. This one particular species of orchid takes well to the surroundings of an office or home. Different orchid species flowers will vary on the amount of time that they last. Amazingly, from the first time the Phalaenopsis bud opens, the sprays will linger in bloom for roughly sixty to ninety days. Whereas, the flowers of the Cattleyas orchid may end up to thirty days from the first time that the bud opens.

While there are some orchid species that bloom once every twelve months, others will bloom several different times throughout a year and some will even bloom constantly. An additional feature of orchids which makes them so attractable is their aroma. There are several orchids which are astonishingly aromatic. However, scents from aromatic orchids are particularly inconsistent. One will find that some species of orchid plants are restrained while others are awfully strong. The scents range from fruity to flowery. Even more amazing is this fact:lots of orchids have recognizable aromas such as chocolate, coconut, raspberry, citrus of lilac.

Interestingly, orchids like being planted in bark as opposed to planting in the typical soil that is used for potting. Another type of soil they can be developed in is New Zealand sphagnum moss.

Orchids are particular in that they have to be in pots which provide them with excellent drainage. The usual potting soil used for plant is is terrible for orchids because it will cut off the air that circulates at the roots and block the ability of the water to drain. They ought to be watered approximately one to two times a week. As you go through summer, your orchid will need to be watered more habitually. A good spacing would be every four to five days or so. One good rule to pursue is the more heat, the more water to bestow upon your orchid. And, so it goes that in cooler temperatures the orchids will need less water.

If you are planting orchid plants that will be potted in New Zealand sphagnum moss, those should be watered less regularly then those which you plant in bark. These orchids are capable of being watered seven to ten days apart. Now, varying orchid species tend to favor light which will not be too overpowering. They find their happiest place is in an east window. Because many species of orchids reside in tropical settings, they tend to like getting both sun and shade. They do not like too much sun exposure. Orchids which are distressed from an overabundance of light will exhibit yellowing leaves. If you find this occurring, increase the time your orchids get in the shade. If the orchid leaves are yellowing this might also indicate inadequate feeding. Orchids ought to be fertilized regularly, about once every 14 days. Also, keep in mind that one should water an orchid plant prior to applying the watered down solution of nutrient mix if the potting type is arid and dry.

The Basics of Tropical Orchid Care

Orchids are a very diverse family of plants that can be found all over the world. They are native to nearly every environment from hot to cold, wet to dry, and high to low altitude. For this reason, it is impossible to lay out a list of care tips that would cover all orchids. For this article the focus will be on the most common flowering orchids that people are likely to keep as houseplants.

The flowering orchids that most people are familiar with belong to the tropical epiphytes. They are native to the tropics or sub-tropical environments. The epiphytes are a group of “air plants” that live in trees or rock outcroppings; they do not grow rooted in the soil.

By narrowing our scope down to these plants, we can set forth some general tips on orchid care that will apply to the majority of these plants. When buying orchids, it is important to ask the grower if that particular plant has any specific care needs that may be different from the norm.

When caring for orchids, it is important to replicate their native tropical environment as best as possible. Orchids like warm temperatures, with daytime temps in the 75-85 degree range. Many can adapt to a slightly lower range since most people don’t keep their homes at 85 degrees, but ideally the temp should be warm. To achieve the best growth and (most importantly) flowering, orchids like a noticeable difference in night time temps. A warm day with a cool (10-15 degrees lower) night is the optimum situation.

A tropical environment is also humid, and high humidity is important to the health of orchids. This is another tricky point because most homes are not kept overly humid. This can be addressed, however, by placing the plants in a tray filled with water and some rocks or gravel for the pot to sit on. It is very important that the pot not sit in the water or that any part of the plant be resting in water. Orchids like humidity, but they will not tolerate too much water.

Watering orchids is fairly straightforward. As noted above, they do not like standing water, as it will lead to root rot and the eventual death of the plant. Watering should be done once a week at most, and the potting medium should be moist, but not soggy. When watering orchids, do not let water sit on the leaves or at the base of the leaves where they attach to the plant. If, after watering, there is some excess water on the plant, wipe it off with a cloth. The leaves will get spots and turn yellow if water is left to rest there. A helpful tip is to water in the morning so that any excess water that doesn’t get wiped off will have all day to evaporate.

With regards to light, orchids like a long, full day of it. If possible, a 12-14 hour day is best for the orchids, although in the winter months a lower photoperiod is better for the plant. Orchids like a lot of light, but they do not like direct sunlight. A southern exposure window is a good spot for orchids in the home. If a direct sun exposed window is all that you have available, use a screen or something to diffuse the light just a bit.

Following the above orchid care tips plus any additional information from the place of purchase will lead to orchid plants that are healthy and thriving. Healthy orchid plants mean beautiful flowers, and of course, that is the ultimate goal.