Monday, February 14, 2011

Orchid Love

I finally feel comfortable with orchids. When you've got nearly half of all the orchids you own in some stage of re-bloom - fully open, blooming and buds together, or spiking - it gives you confidence that you've gotten the hang of things. That's not to say I  haven't killed a few along the way since I brought my first one home about five years ago, but it's been a long time since I had to throw one in the compost bin.

I credit the fact that my dad made me a beautiful orchid table, complete with humidity trays, for part of my success. Being natives of the humid tropics, they love their saturated air, and while the air isn't saturated, even with the trays, it certainly increases it for them.

December 25, 2009

My watering habits probably have a bit to do with it, too. At least once a month, I take a big bowl, and sit each orchid pot, one by one, in the bottom. Then I water it thoroughly and allow the pot to soak for about five minutes. This allows the bark medium to really absorb the liquid. I fertilize them each time I water, alternating orchid bloom booster (mixed weakly) with Haven Brand Compost Tea. I don't water them again until the bark appears to be quite dry.

My orchids sit in a south window on the orchid table from first frost in the fall to last frost in the spring. On very sunny days, I keep the shade drawn, which allows bright light in, but nothing harsh that might burn the leaves. Once the temperatures are above 50 degrees at night, outside they go, on the north side of the house, where they are mostly shaded by an oak tree. They get about an hour of early morning sun, but nothing direct after that.

During summer, I water them with the garden hose, set on a fine mist spray. Rarely do I fertilize in the summer. (I'm not advocating that, I'm just very, very lax about it in the summer.)

Today, I got a wonderful, unexpected surprise. Fed Ex delivered a beautiful Phalaenopsis orchid to me, courtesy of Costa Farms. Several of my orchids are from Costa Farms, having purchased them myself from Lowe's and Walmart in previous years.

When I first became interested in orchids, they were quite expensive and not readily available. That has changed now, thanks to growers like Costa Farms. That's how I came to have a collection of them and I'm just as enthralled with them now as I was in the beginning. Orchids have one of the most beautiful blooms in the world, and they're long-lasting, too - sometimes months!

Orchids can now be purchased in the $15-20 range, sometimes even less, so why not try one yourself?


nicky said...

Hi Kylee!

I'm excied to give orchids a try. I've always thought they were a fussy plant...that's what i get for assuming. You're right, they are a lot affordable now then they used to be. Now that I now they easy to take care of I'm going to do my best to keep mine alive. Thanks for your tips :)


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I guess I am not as regular with their care since I can never get them to rebloom. They live for me but Yours are pretty. Of course if someone was to make me a pretty table like this I would give them another go.

Gail said...

Absolutely beautiful.

David P. Offutt - The Gastronomic Gardener said...

Very Nice! I've kept them alive but never have been able to get them to rebloom. Good tips! Might have to give it another go.

dee said...

how can someone not love orchids :)?
you have so many!

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