Orchids

Orchids are relatively easy to grow and can be rewarding if properly taken care of. Their flowers should last 2-3 months on a healthy and strong plant. Native to Southeast Asia, Orchids are known as epiphytes which means they grow on and in between tree branches.

Due to their sturdy stems, Dendrobiums are used as cut flowers. Hybrid dendrobium phalaenopsis plants are more robust than the other Orchids but require more water, sunlight and fertilizer than the others.

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Watering & Fertilizing

Water twice weekly if dry and once a month add a water-soluble balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer made up at half strength. Or if you prefer, use a weaker solution and apply every 2nd or 3rd watering. Do not over fertilize as this will harm the roots.  You may wish to flush the fertilizer from the pot by drenching with water periodically.  This can be achieved by running at least one gallon of room temperature (neither hot nor cold) water through the soil till it all drains from the pot. Never allow the pot to stand in water. Standing the pot in a tray of gravel is good practice as it will allow air to circulate and prevent root rot, as well as creating humidity.  Mature plants should seldom dry out between waterings.

Misting plants is not necessary, but it may be beneficial if done in the morning to allow time for the plant to dry. Do not get mist on the petals or they may wilt. Also never mist or water your orchids at night as this may create an environment for disease.

Light & Temperature

Place the plants at a bright window, but not in direct sunlight. They need good light for best flowers. They need a minimum of 55 deg. F and can tolerate up to 80 deg. F. Take care if you have your orchid on a windowsill that the temperature does not dip too low overnight and that it does not cook the plant during daytime.

When repotting, which ought to be done to replenish the soil after each bloom period, or at least every second year, do not divide the plants into small pieces as larger rootballs produce more new growth and better flowers. Use the smallest pot which will accommodate the root system and use fast draining potting media. Orchids thrive in fresh soil, and the key to healthy orchids is a healthy root system.