Friday, April 25, 2008

Orchids without Fear

Why would a person fear orchids? Is it the relatively expensive front-end investment, the very long stems, the rather alien shapes, the holes in the pots? For me, yes.

I'm so over it now. Having bought four orchids last August to decorate the table for a wedding shower, I have learned to love caring for them. My neighbor Eve advised me to adopt this simple routine and they have responded vibrantly--all of them are in amazing bloom right now!

1. Plenty of bright diffuse light. Mine live in my very sunny sitting room, where there is a lot of eastern exposure, but they sit in a north-facing window. However, they don't seem to really care where I put them. When they're in bloom I move them to wherever they look the best, and they continue to thrive.

2. Water on the 10th, 20th, and 30th of the month. I put it in my calendar until it became second nature.

3. To water, I bring them all to the sink, and slide them out of the clay pots (they sit in clear plastic inner pots). I wash each one under water for a minute, rinsing each leaf and letting water run through and through the pot. I don't wash the flower stems or flowers.

4. Then each plant gets one quart of water with orchid food in it. I simply pour and pour until a quart has washed through the pot. The pot does not retain water.

5. Then I give them each a kiss and put them back in their places, where they charm me every day.


emme said...

I've been wanting to purchase an orchid for awhile now...your post helped chase away some of the second thoughts I've been having! ☺

♥ the photo

YayaOrchid said...

As always, you share the most wonderful helpful hints with your readers! I appreciate this one inparticular because I love orchids. I've not had much success with them, although I took a short course with a local university professor who is very knowledgeable about orchids. I'm going to try your method, it seems fairly easy to remember. However, the only place I can put them would be by windows with a southern exposure, or another window with a western exposure(too hot). In one room with a south window, there is also an east facing window almost next to it. Wonder if that would work?

Heather said...

Thanks for posting this! I have a rather brown thumb, but my husband recently gave me an orchid anyway. I will try following your advice and maybe I will have good success.

Abigail said...

Thank you for sharing. Perhaps it is time for me to give orchids a try.

Janna said...

Oh, Anna, I have a question about your orchids. How often do they rebloom? The orchid we gave our Grandma for Mother's Day took *years* to rebloom! Is there an orchid-growing "secret" I don't know about?

Unknown said...

Thank you for writing about this. I bought an orchid last fall and fell in love. I'm planning on picking up some for my children's rooms. Thanks again for the tips on orchid care.


Anonymous said...

You are so right!
I bought a stunning orchid for my mother's 70th birthday last September. It was in full bloom - and I must say it was gorgeous! I bought it on sale at our local grocery store, although it looked very healthy. Do you know it is STILL in bloom, and has even given several more buds and two more shoots?? She keeps it in her sunroom. She has never loved a plant more ~ and she loves her plants!
Now, I bought an orchid years ago at the hardware store. It wasn't in bloom, but at the price I had to at least give the poor thing a go. It has never bloomed, but I'm still hoping. I can't wait to see what kind it is.

Dani said...

Thank you for this post. I had a beautiful, white orchid last year and over the hot Summer it lost a couple of leaves, then over the Winter I lost it completely. I was so dissapointed and was questioning wether I should try one again.

I will definitely be picking up a new one next time I am in town and will give it another go, following your directions of course!

Cathy said...

While I was shopping in Home Depot yesterday, I happened upon a cart with "discarded" orchids marked down from $24.99 to $4.97. Since I have visions of orchids adorning my windowsills, but had never paid the price to experiment with such lovelies, this seemed like the opportune time. I considered it pure providence when I opened your site about caring for orchids. Thank you for the great tips.I will follow them even down to the appreciative kiss(me being the appreciator, of course)!

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