17 Mar Easy Orchids
The Feb/March Birds & Blooms magazine has an interesting and educational article about orchids written by Tom Krischan from Wisconsin. He recommends several varieties for the beginning orchid gardener. What I know is this-you can’t beat the colors that these flowers produce. It’s amazing and gives my mood a lift every time that I look at them. The booths filled with orchids at the show grab my look-see every time. It’s a magnetic thing-just try and pull me away!
- Phalaenopsis– Commonly called Moth Orchids. Bloom for months with lots of flowers. One of the few that rebloom on an old flower spike.
- Paphiopedium– Commonly called Lady Slipper Orchids. Flowers have larger lips than other varieties and also vivid colors.
- Cattleya– Flowers can reach 5-7 inches wide (wow) and have a strong, sweet fragrance. But the flowers only last 2-3 weeks.
- Dendrobium– Carefully grown can produce multiple spikes several times a year.
- Oncidium– Often called Dancing Ladies. Produces dozens, and often hundreds of small, yellowish flowers that might be speckled. When they catch a breeze, it does indeed look like they are dancing.
- Light-They need a few hours of sunlight every day. When it blooms, move it slightly away from warm sunshine to prolong blooms.
- Water-Hold back on it. Orchids need water only after their potting material has dried out completely. Water thoroughly but not frequently.
- Temperature-Tropical orchids are great inside but most favor temperatures between 70-85 degrees during the day and 10-15 degrees cooler at night. Keep them away from heating vents and cold doorways.
- Fertilizer– Most grow fine without any. (cool) But if you want to, simply use a balanced 20-20-20 mixture at one quarter the normal strength.
- Bugs– Inspect your plants every time you water for bugs, the most common of which are the mealy bug (look like tiny bits of cotton) and scale (looks like brown-colored flat discs stuck to leaf or stem surface).