Kathy Lawler, Guest Blogger
It seems this time of year orchids are for sale just about everywhere. Turns out that orchids, according to the Rainforest Alliance, are the largest plant family in the entire world and there are over 25,000 different species of orchids – no wonder they're everywhere!
Orchids have also been the flower we have never before dared to buy, only admiring from afar, for certainly growing them would be way beyond our abilities. But we took the plunge – we now have one – only 24,999 to go!
We found this very photogenic variety, Phalaenopsis [fay~len~OP~sis] and we were told it was easy to grow. After getting two beautiful plants home we looked up the care and feeding of these lovelies. According to Missouri Botanical Garden site:
“It serves as an excellent houseplant as long as basic growing conditions can be met. Best sites are on east window sills, but plants also grow well on well-shaded south or west sills, with growing conditions that include (a) temperatures at 72-85 degrees F in daytime and above 60 degrees F at night (a temperature drop to 55 degrees F at night in fall helps initiate flower spikes), (b) significant humidity (50-60 % - set pot on moist gravel tray with the base of the pot NOT standing in water and mist in morning), (c) bright light but no direct sun, (d) good air movement (ceiling fan is ideal), and (d) a potting mix of coarse fir bark or orchid bark mix that facilitates circulation of air and water. Plants will tolerate some brief temperature extremes, but temperatures in excess of 95 degrees F or below 55 degrees F should be avoided. Water thoroughly with tepid water in mornings only.”
Good news for all of us is that there are a number of beautiful orchids shows going on right now and we can visit and admire all sorts of varieties to our hearts content and not feel the least bit compelled to take home a living plant. The other great news is that you can visit the Workhouse Art Center in Lorton in March (March 9th through April 3rd) to see Chris’ excellent and unusual photos of orchids. These require no feeding or maintenance and will bring even more enjoyment to your home than the real (really hard to care for) thing.
Doesn’t mean we aren’t still waiting for spring.
Thank You for visiting,
P.s. Have you tried to keep Orchids? How did you succeed? What's your favorite variety? Let us know in the comments how you overcame any problems... we'll compare techniques. And do be sure to come see Chris' Orchid Ovation show along with all the great Artwork on exhibit by the other great Associate Artists at the Workhouse, building 9.