We spent a delightful hour yesterday here at Horizon House talking about Orchids.
Our Horizon House receptionist, Cathy H. came and shared a ton of material as well as some good ideas. She was with us for about 10 minutes and then had to get back to work, but we enjoyed the time we had with her.
At that point, I went over the “Orchid Tips” that I had compiled. You will find them below.
• Go to an Orchid Show if one comes to town!
• Light- Leaf color is a good indicator of the amount of light a plant is receiving. Orchids should have bright green, healthy leaves. Dark green leaves indicate that a plant is getting insufficient light, and yellowish-green or red leaves indicate that a plant is getting too much light. a
⁃ If you suspect a plant is exposed to too much light, feel the leaves. If they feel noticeably warmer than the surrounding air, move the plant to a location with less intense brightness.
⁃ a basic rule of thumb is to aim for light to medium green leaves. If the leaves are too dark the orchid is not getting enough light. With too much light the leaves will turn yellow or burn. Many orchids will also produce a red pigment when it is getting a bit too much light. The pigment acts like a sunscreen protecting the leaf from burning.
⁃ Orchids love humidity-put them on a tray with pebbles (to hold them above the water that you put there) but allowing them to enjoy the evaporating water.
⁃ Do NOT let water touch the bottom of the pot.
⁃ You CAN mist them, but use distilled water so the plants don’t get encrusted with minerals contained in the water. If you do mist, do it in the morning so the plant can absorb it before it cools down for the evening.
⁃ Use a plastic pot since they don’t dry out as quickly as clay.
⁃ Let them dry out before watering, usually once a week
⁃ Water should be as close to air temperature as possible, so as not to shock the roots.
⁃ Occasionally spray with water. That will imitate their natural environment.
⁃ Avoid over-watering, they will survive with too little water longer than they will with too much. Never allow them to stand in water.
⁃ Flush the roots with water once a month to reduce salt build-up. (Put them in a sink and pour water over them allowing the water to drain out of the bottom of the pot.)
⁃ If roots are brown, sparse and soggy, they are getting too much water.
⁃ There’s another method, try giving them two (2) ice cubes every week!
⁃ (VERY sparingly-half strength) on occasion.
⁃ Orchids will do better with less fertilizer than more!
⁃ Once a month or more often during growth spurts in spring and summer.
• They are planted in bark chunks, NOT soil.
• Allow the roots to grow out into the air, if that’s where they aim. Don’t cover them!
• Repot when they outgrow the pot, or when the bark starts to break down. Probably every other year.
• Only use one pot size bigger as over-potted orchids often do not bloom for many years.
• As above:Use a plastic pot since they don’t dry out as quickly as clay.
• The only grooming needed is the removal of spent blooms and any dead material. Make sure the spike has dried before you remove it.
• Many orchids bloom on the same spike and some even continue where they left off.
• The same applies to the roots. They may be hanging over the edges, but that’s how they function! Leave them be!!!
• Do NOT put on top of TV’s or other warm surfaces; or conversely, under an air conditioner where they will be chilled.
• A two-week period in the spring and fall, when night temperatures are usually cooler, should initiate flower development.
• Here’s a blog that might be fun for you to visit. http://bklynorchids.com/
Many of these are tips I have been given personally, or else I have taken them from the internet. I hope they prove helpful.