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August 24, 2012, 10:25 am Yahoo!7
Orchids are one of the world's most loved flowers, so here are our simple steps on how to grow and care for your orchid.
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Its dainty, butterfly-like flowers, in shades of white, pink, cerise and brandy gold, appear at almost any time of the year and continue for up to six months. The moth orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.) is often bought as a long-lasting alternative to cut flowers but, because of its reputation for being finicky and difficult to grow, it’s often thrown out once the blooms have faded. However, you’ll be surprised to know they’re actually one of the easiest orchids to grow indoors – all they need is a well-lit location and enough water to keep them going. Follow this guide and you’ll be delighted by the results.
Choose a room that has light for most of the day. Leave plants near an east or north-facing window with a sheer curtain. Never place them near west-facing windows as they can be too hot.The best potting mix
Use a composted bark-based orchid mix, such as Amgrow Orchid Potting Mix or Yates Orchid Potting Mix, which keeps the roots well drained and moist, but never wet. Moth orchids can also be grown in sphagnum moss.Watering
Moth orchids have no water storage organs other than their leaves, so you shouldn’t let them dry out completely. Thoroughly water potting mix, but do let water sit in the crown of the plant as this can lead to fungal problems. Let the water drain before returning to its position and don’t sit the plant in a saucer. In most cases, watering once every seven days is enough.
There’s a wide range of fertilisers specifically for orchids. If using liquid types, monthly applications are usually recommended. If using pellets, such as Neutrog Strike Back for Orchids, sprinkle around the plant as needed, but never use pellets on a dry plant. During flowering time, consider using a blossom booster such as Campbell Orchid Special Fertiliser A, which has elevated phosphorus levels to promote flowering.How and when to re-pot
While you can re-pot moth orchids each year, they will happily remain in their pot for up to three to four years. Look for crowding roots or old and dry compost before re-potting. After flowering, remove the plant from its pot and trim off any dead roots. Position in a new pot and fill with fresh orchid potting mix, allowing it to loosely settle around the roots.
Moth orchids thrive in humidity. To create a humid environment around the plant, stand the pot in a saucer filled with gravel, then partially fill it with water, ensuring the pot does not touch the water. A daily misting is beneficial, as well.
Let the flowers fade naturally. If the stem is green, prune it back to the first flowering node. If the stem is brown, prune it back to near soil level.
When the flowers fade, don’t hurry to cut off the spike. Instead, let the flowers die naturally. If the stem is still green, you might be able to get a second flush. Feel along the bare spike and notice the bumps or nodes along this stem. At the base of these nodes are resting flower buds. Go to the next node down from where the first flower opened on the stem, then simply prune the flowering stalk back to just above this node. In most cases, this will stimulate the production of a secondary flower spike.
- Group several pots on your dining table for a stunning centrepiece. If you’re entertaining outdoors, use them as a decoration for the occasion, then bring them inside afterwards.
- Keep your pots simple so you don’t detract from your orchids’ beauty. White, silver, terracotta or glass containers look fabulous.
- Moth orchids thrive in humid conditions, so a well-lit bathroom is the ideal spot for your plant.Like' us on Facebook