Tuesday

The Mystical Beauty of Orchids


While not a traditional southern flower, the Orchid thrives in the sultry humid south.
And with their sculptural beauty no plant adds more elan to beautiful furnishings than an orchid does.They have captured decorators' imaginations since Victorian times and were the worlds first flowering plant. I fell head over heels in love with its' beauty when the quaint  neighborhood antique shop, Wizard of Ahhs began using them among the decor. Orchids have a way of making everything around them more beautiful and making you feel more beautiful as well.

Here are a few tips to make growing easy.

Orchids require bright direct sun , either a north window or in my case, west and south windows with sheers to prevent sunburn as they do burn easily.
There are many orchid foods out there but I simply crush eggshells with a mortar and pestle and add left over black tea leaves. I do this about every two months.This imitates the acid growing medium of their native environment.
Most importantly never let an orchid have wet feet,always drain off all excess water yet keep them moist. They do require thorough watering, ice cubes only work for a few months. You can completely submerge your pot, then turn it upside down to drain. (The roots suffocate if left under water and rot sets in). I grow Cymbidium and Phalaenopsis and water twice a week in winter, once a week in the humid summer.
I usually wait until after the 4th or 5th blooming cycle to repot. Then I simply use organic bark and a slightly larger pot. The larger and older the orchid is when you buy it, the more frequently it will bloom. I find the smaller younger orchids to take longer between bloom periods. Each bloom period generally lasts 3 months a very large one will sometimes bloom 5 months with very little rest time in between. I find orchids prefer the company of other orchids in the house to make them want to bloom. They are the easiest of houseplants to grow and when compared to a bouquet of cut flowers, more cost effective as well. So enjoy your orchids, they are easy keepers once you get the hang of it.


Gilby reads and recommends Modern Dog