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10 tips for successful orchid growing

Published: 13th March, 2019

successful orchid growingIf you have never been successful with growing orchids – and there’s many of us out there who have struggled – don’t’ despair! With a little know how, orchids are surprisingly easy to care for.

Here’s our guide on what and what not to do for successful orchid growing.

 

  1. Don’t over-water orchids or leave your orchid plant standing in water for any period of time. Orchids are epiphytic plants, which means they grow in air, clinging to trees and branches. Roots that are covered in water can get suffocated, killing the root system. Having said that an orchid does like to get soaked, but once it has drunk its fill, empty the pot in which it stands, removing all the excess water.
  2. Water orchids from below! If watered from above, you are likely to leave water pooled in the crown of the plant which can cause bacterial or fungal rotting of the plant tissues. Once the crown is rotted your orchid will not be able to produce any more leaves from the top and is as good as dead. If you can’t avoid getting moisture onto the orchid wipe it off with a paper towel. In nature orchids do not grow upright but sideways, attached to a tree or rock so the water simply runs off.
  3. Make sure you use luke warm water to water your orchids. These are tropical plants and not used to icy cold temperatures.
  4. Don’t mist orchid flowers. Some guides will suggest that misting is a good idea and though the leaves of some orchids may benefit from this slightly, the flowers are more fragile and water droplets can cause mould spots or patches on your precious blooms.
  5. Use special orchid mixes for potting and re-potting your orchids. They don’t like regular soil or other mediums which can become compacted and the roots will soon suffocate if use these. If you are unable to source orchid potting mix use plain bark chips which allow plenty of air circulation. Make sure that you repot them every 2-3 years before this also starts to degrade and becomes compacted. If you have a few dead roots cut them off before you repot them.
  6. Don’t separate the orchid bulbs, especially if your orchid is not in the best condition. These bulbs are the plants energy source. The more connected pseudobulbs an orchid has, the more energy it will have to grow faster and stronger, so never separate individual pseudobulbs.
  7. Keep your orchids in dappled shade rather than bright sunlight. Direct sunlight can very quickly burn the leaves and though some can handle it, most can’t. An orchid can very quickly lose all of its leaves through sunburn which renders it incapable of feeding itself. So, err on the side of caution and place orchids in bright shade to avoid damage.
  8. Don’t cut aerial roots from orchids. Even if the roots are just growing into the air, this is quite normal – orchid roots very rarely stay in the pot!  In many cases they can prove to be important for the orchid. If the roots enclosed within the potting medium perish, the orchid can still survive by drawing in moisture in the environment via its aerial roots. Moreover, in cutting a root you create an open wound through which all sorts of bacteria can enter the plant.
  9. Fertilise with the right products. Orchids do need some additional food every now and again, but standard multi-purpose fertilisers may burn the roots rather than nourish your plant. Use special orchid food in very small quantities, building up once you see how your orchid responds.
  10. Contrary to popular belief you should not totally neglect orchids! If you check them regularly you will catch problems such as root burn, leaf burn, root rot or even pests before they take a true hold. Detection in the early stages can help you save your plant.

Henry Street stocks a large selection of striking orchid plants. They are the perfect gift to stand out in any home, and a great choice for a Mother’s Day gift.

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