ORCHIDS OR NOT TO ORCHID?
On a recent visit to Club member, June Brady’s home, I could not help but admire, the beautiful orchids she had on display. She explained at least every other month, since the passing of her husband, she receives a special delivery of orchids from Simply Blessed, as a gift from family members. This led to a discussion of my epic fail at caring for orchids. In fact, I decided this plant was not in my wheelhouse, so, I settled for the plastic variety. If you have faced the same fate, hopefully, this blog will help you build your confidence to try again or reassure you that you are on the right path.
The growing media for orchids should either be bark or moss. Orchids that like drier conditions prefer bark because this medium dries out well. Orchids that like more moisture do well in moss. To keep the growing media draining adequately, repot your orchid about once a year.
Watering is crucial for overall orchid health. Overwatering is a common way of killing orchids, so you need to be careful about how much water you provide. Generally, you should water most orchids just before the soil fully dries out. The time it takes for the soil to dry out depends on the growing environment and growing medium, but this is usually somewhere between several days to a couple of weeks. If the medium feels fully dry, water the orchid.
Fertilize orchids every time you water using an all-purpose fertilizer at one-quarter of the recommended strength. Provide filtered light; an eastern-exposure window is ideal. Orchids can also tolerate low light levels, if necessary. Maintain ideal humidity levels in a dry environment by misting your orchid with water daily. If your environment isn't overly dry, no special measures are necessary.
Care of Orchids After Flowering
After an orchid blooms, it requires a few specific care steps. The orchid might bloom again if you care for it correctly. If the flower spike is green and healthy, leave it to see if the orchid blooms again. If the spike is withered and brown, cut it back to the nearest node using sharp, clean scissors. Continue to water the orchid as recommended, give it indirect light and fertilize it regularly. You may see a new bloom in two or three months, or the orchid could enter a dormancy period.
Pests can be problematic for orchids. You might have to battle aphids, mealybugs or scales. These insects suck sap from the plants, causing browning and stunted growth. Correct watering, humidity levels, temperatures and growing media may prevent pest problems. If you notice signs of infestation, cut away infested parts of the plant, and repot it with fresh medium. You might also need to use an insecticide to control pests, but always choose a product that's safe for use on