Orchids are easy to care for

Orchids are one of the easiest decorative flowers to grow in the home. They have several attractive characteristics:

1. The flowers last longer than any other flowering plant. An orchid plant purchased in full bloom will last 2 months or longer in the home. If you select a plant which has only a few open flowers with several more in bud stage, they can bloom for 3 months or longer.

2. Orchids need very infrequent watering. Three to four weeks between waterings is typical. Actually, overwatering is one of the most frequent reasons they are killed.

3. Orchids require lower light conditions than most plants. They do well with the amount of light we have in our homes. They do like direct sunlight, but prefer indirect light. In their natural environment, they grow in the shade.

4. Orchid plants have a unique shape so they can be placed in many locations with limited space.

5. Orchid plants are relatively light feeders. They do not require a lot of fertilizer. There are special orchid fertilizers available for sale, but almost any indoor fertilizer can be used. I would recommend a liquid or soluble fertilizer applied at about half the recommended rate for most indoor plants.

Once all the flowers have fallen off, the flowering stem can be removed. It will not bloom again. It usually takes about a year for a new flower stem and flowers to develop. Orchids are rather plain looking when they are not in bloom and are typically moved to an outer area. The best place to put them after bloom is near a north facing window.

Most people do not have the patience to wait 10 or 12 months for plants to rebloom. They just dispose of the plants when they are through blooming.

When you consider the length of bloom life, they are still a bargain. They are often $15 or less for a plant with a dozen or more flowers. I recently purchased two plants for $15. $9.95 for the first and half price for the second.


Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture.

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