Please welcome my sister Lydia today as she talks about Raising an Orchid (originally titled The Geeky Gardener). Share in the comments what your favorite plant to grow is!
Hello there to all my friends - green thumbed, black thumbed and everything in between. We’re going to talk a little bit about raising plants – and today we’ll take a look at one of my favorite flowers: beautiful phlaenopsis Orchids!
Ok, there are many varieties of orchids, but the one we’ll discuss today is the phlaennopsis variety, also known as “moth orchids”. They are the most common variety as they are easy to care for. They are native to the Asian Tropics, and thrive well in a bright, warm climate much like your home. See above and to the right for just a few examples of the beautiful colors of the orchid! These two orchids are mine, so you can see that it doesn’t take an expert to grow these lovely flowers. So now, on to the care of the orchid, here are a couple steps to ensuring a healthy, thriving plant:
After you’ve purchased your plant (orchids are available readily through the summer months at affordable places as Smith’s and Walmart) make sure you place it in a warm, bright place, but do NOT put in direct sunlight. Near a window is a good place. The best temperature is 65-80 degrees F while blooming. Your orchid will have two pots, the regular outside pot and then one with holes in the bottom. The orchid does not live in regular soil like most plants. It has tubular roots, and needs to be kept well-drained. I find it best to water your plant every 3-4 days, running cold tap water from the sink over the roots, letting it run out the bottom. Thoroughly soak the plant, let it drain then replace it in its outer container. As you can see in the picture, the plant on the left is green and moist, (ideal for your orchid) but the one on the left is dry, and the tubular roots are getting white and dried out. Also, about 1x every 2 weeks I will water the orchid with a diluted amount of Miracle Grow.
While your plant is blooming, you will want to consider purchasing orchid plant fertilizer, which will contain the extra nutrients your plant needs to produce beautiful blooms. Your plants will produce and bear flowers for several months, after which the blooms will fade, fall off, and you’ll be left with a rather ugly stick and be wondering what to do with this plant. On to step three to figure out what to do!
Once all your orchid flowers have died and fallen off, continue to water, even though it looks like you just have a dead stick. If you cut your stem just right, your orchid will come back as beautiful as ever after a couple months of being dormant! Here’s how: after the last flower has expired, cut the spike about 1 inch above the first flower node. Make sure you don’t cut the actual node, as this is the area where you next spike will develop and grow! Be patient – don’t give up on that ugly brown stick, because in a couple months a new spike will begin to grow and buds will appear!
So there you go!!! There are the three practical tips to raising orchids at home. I’ve really enjoyed growing these beautiful plants, and I hope you will as well! There are many online videos on how to cut your plants just right, in case you have any problems.
Here’s a couple last photos of some more beautiful orchids! Thanks and goodbye ‘til next time!
~The Geeky Gardener, Lydia
Thank you for sharing, Lydia!