Caring for an Orchid - . Fragile. Elegant. Exotic.
How to care for orchids
For many, the sheer nature and beauty of an orchid scares them away from the idea of having an orchid as a houseplant.
Orchids are one of the largest plant families and the many varieties make for some very fussy plants. But the truth is that there are some beautiful and common varieties of this tropic wonder that you can care for in your own home. Orchid care is a lot easier than you think.
As old as 150 years
How to pick out the right orchid
Here's what you should look for in a healthy orchid
Firm, strong, waxy, green leaves:
Healthy leaves = healthy blooms
If you see root, it should be plump and firm, not scored
Blooms: so you can see what you're getting, they should be smooth, never brown or wilting
Buds: the promise of fresh blooms is always a perk, try to find one that has lots of little buds for blossoms to come
The leaves were blackish green and the flower itself was glossy yellow, the yellow of a newly waxed taxi, and it was spattered with hundreds and hundreds of burgundy flecks. The flecks were slightly ovoid, and they were clustered in curving rows so that they looked as if they had been painted on as the flower spun around. Staring at the pattern of the flecks was dizzying. Staring at it for a long time was hypnotizing.
Orchidelirium is the name the Victorians gave to the flower madness that is for botanical collectors the equivalent of gold fever. Wealthy orchid fanatics of that era sent explorers (heavily armed, more to protect themselves against other orchid seekers than against hostile natives or wild animals) to unmapped territories in search of new varieties of Cattleya and Paphiopedilum. As knowledge of the family Orchidaceae grew to encompass the currently more than 60,000 species and over 100,000 hybrids, orchidelirium might have been expected to go the way of Dutch tulip mania. Yet, as journalist Susan Orlean found out, there still exists a vein of orchid madness strong enough to inspire larceny among collectors.
Caring for orchids at home
From their habitat, you would think that the orchid would not thrive indoors, or where it is not constantly hot. But the fact is that most orchids love the interior temperature of most homes.
Orchids love sunlight, as like any other plant, they grab their energy from the sun's rays. With plenty of sunlight, your orchid will have enough energy to support its beautiful blooms for many months. They do best in a southernly facing window where they can sun themselves indirectly in the morning and afternoon. The window should not be drafty.
Although tropical plants, it is a good idea to let the orchids cool down at night, as this helps the plant restore and preserve its long lasting blooms. The biggest problem people have is over watering their orchid.
Most orchid roots in nature are exposed to air, when over-watering occurs, the roots suffocate and start to rot. The easiest way to avoid this is to make sure your soil is a bark variety that allows for good drainage.
You should only water your orchid once a week. You can judge when you need to water it by picking up the plant to see how heavy it is. If it feels light, touch the soil with your fingertips; it should be moist but not soppy.
You don't want any standing water in your pot. You'll soon get into a routine with your orchid, and you'll notice that it's a lot less work to water than you would think.
Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy
Whether you happen to be an orchid lover, or merely a curious bystander, "Orchid Fever (A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust and Lunacy)" will have you by turns helpless with mirth and seething with indignation, or else simply agog with incredulity from start to finish. For it is, quite simply, an absolutely stunning piece of investigative journalism, dressed up as a tale of personal obsession and eccentricities. Written using plain language and with an outstanding witticism, it makes for compelling reading throughout, whether or not you know anything about orchids, or the orchid-growing and trading communities that it explores.
Your orchid should flower every year if you take good care of it.
These blooms last for anywhere between a month to nine months!
So the extra you may pay for an orchid as opposed to a different houseplant is definitely worth it just by the amount of time you have to enjoy your orchid's blooms.
It may seem like you're paying a lot for a flower upfront, but the return of a flower that blooms for months on end, is exotic and easy to care for all at the same time makes it very worth it.
With 30,000 species, orchids compose the largest plant family in the world
Great book, lots of good ideas and beautiful pictures
Confucius once compared seeing good friends to entering a room full of fragrant orchids. Take good care of your orchid and it can live on to be as old as 150 years! Now that's a houseplant that's exotic, beautiful, easy to care for and a good investment!
The world's largest orchid can grow to 20 metres long.
In 1595 a Chinese flower-arranging book "A Treatise of Vase Flowers" by Chang Ch'ien -te said orchids were in the top ranking of desirability.
Currently the most popular houseplant in the UK according to F&PA surveys .
Excellent Video on How to Care for Orchids
When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and an orchid with the other. ~Chinese Proverb