All About Orchids – Beautiful Flowers
Orchids are a beautiful flower, that you can get weeks of joy in admiring the bloom before they fade and die.
Maybe it was a passing fad, but orchids were one of those crazes I had, I still love orchids, and my family still give me orchids, but I have found I do not look after them as well as I used to.
The main problem is, I never seem to get them repotted after flowering, that is what they need or they just seem to die or not flower the next year, they need a lot of feeding in the spring and summer.
They are not cheap to buy and I thank my family for all those beautiful orchid they have gifted me.
Cymbidium Orchids have been gracing living rooms and conservatories for decades, they survive a surprising amount of cold, even thriving light frosts that catch me out in late autumn.
Living in the hills in eastern Taranaki, they did not like the cold winds even in the autumn, it knocks them.
I get caught out with the slugs and ants getting at the flower spikes before they have really formed.
If you are growing Cymbidium orchids, in the summer place them outdoors under the shade of a large tree, and give them plenty of water.
Decrease the water in the autumn and overwinter – only water once the plant is completely dry.
Feed them frequently in spring and summer, but give them a rest from feeding in the winter.
There are hundreds of hybrids available in stores, but it pays to purchase plants in flower so you know what you are getting unless you know the names of the plant you are purchasing.
Phalaenopsis – Moth Orchids
I have had Moth Orchids flowers to last for over two months inside they are well worth the price you pay for them, as one plant is more economical than buying fresh flowers every week.
But to make them last they need a little bit of tender loving care.
Place them in a position that receives filtered natural light, constant warmth, high humidity, good air circulation and minimum nighttime temperature of 15 c.
Set the pot on a tray filled with pebbles and topped with water to help maintain humidity levels.
Feed them weekly, year-round, with dilute soluble fertilizer, applied when watering.
Water only when the plant is almost, but not quite dry.
Cut flowers stem back to just above the second node from the base to promote further flowering – but don’t chop off the strange looking aerial roots sticking out of the soil.
Cattleya orchids are often used as corsage flowers because of their size and fragrance.
They require the same temperature and light conditions as moth orchids.
Water and feed Cattleya regularly in spring and summer.
Reduce watering in autumn and winter (or after flowering), allowing them to dry out between watering as they are very susceptible to over-watering.
Paphiopedilum – Slipper Orchid
Slipper orchids have been classed as a poor man’s orchid, but I never thought of it as that, it is a beautiful orchid, well worthy of there name.
The slipper orchid is fascinating, the little pouch on the front lip of the flower is designed to trap small insects, which become covered in pollen.
When they escape, the insects transfer the pollen to another orchid.
When treated correctly slipper orchid flowers will last for months, and they do.
Place them in a high light position out of direct sun. They prefer day-time temperatures in the region of 21c to 26c and night temperatures of 15c, although a period of lower night temperatures in autumn will help initiate new flower buds.
Keep them constantly moist, but not soggy over summer and just moist in winter. Keep water away from the leaf base where flowers emerge to prevent new buds rotting.
Feed orchids with a weak solution of soluble plant food every fourth watering. Re-pot every second year.
Disa orchids grow naturally amongst reeds on the banks of cold mountain streams in their native homeland, South Africa.
Unlike most other orchids which are grown in a bark mix, Disa orchids are grown in chopped sphagnum moss or a peat and pumice mix.
Grow them in a sunny to semi-shaded area outdoors anywhere the temperatures do not fall below freezing.
Water them with fresh rainwater and feed with 1/4-strength soluble plant food over spring and summer.
Re-pot new shoots each year and be sure to discard old flower shoots.
A tip or two about repotting orchids – Don’t over-pot orchids, they resent being in containers much larger than their root system.
Re-pot when roots have just started coming through the base of the pot.
Feed with well-diluted soluble fertilizer while watering and go easy on fertilizer – little and often is the key