Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Exotic but complicated - Orchids

I got so tempted i couldn't resist buying them. A new member to my garden family - Orchids.

A beautiful and exotic flower with a dumbfounding number of varieties and color. Orchids represent love, beauty, luxury, strength and prosperity. They are found in tress as “ Epiphytes” (air plants) and as “Terrestrial” (ground plants). The epiphytes which can be a houseplant but their needs for light, water, humidity and growing methods vary comparing to other indoor house plants.

Orchids are native to tropical rainforest, but we always need to be careful while watering them. We must not water them everyday or more often, excess of water will kill them instantly. They have to be watered twice a week to keep them evenly moist but not soaking wet. Watering orchids during day helps them to dry by night.

Good air circulation is essential for growth especially during winter and rainy season. Orchids love light but not sunlight so avoid exposing to direct sunlight.

Orchid blooms twice a year. The spikes are tall and stylishly bent. The flower stays for least three months with good care. In a mature plant, when the last flower falls, cut the high end of the spike but just above a node and below the lowest bloom. The plant may send out new flowering branch. If your plant is young and have small leave its better to cut off the spike.

The best way to know how healthy is your orchid plants are is by its color. A healthy orchid plants leaves will be bright green rather dark green. If it turns to –
  1. Dark green – Too little sunlight
  2. Reddish green – too much light
  3. Black spot/ blotches – Sunburn, fungal/ bacterial infection, Excess of minerals in water, Excess of fertilization.
  4. Yellow leaves – Fall of old leaves, excess of water, Chemical reaction (accidently exposed to perfume)
  5. Wrinkled leaves – Lack of hydration, rotting roots.
A healthier leaf is a healthier plant. The leaves help in identifying & stopping diseases. A little care and a little love, a happy orchids don’t let you down, they show with an exotically stunning blossom.

When doing repotting for orchids, a good container is imperative. The best would be plastic container, with good ventilation area to avoid water standing and preserve moisture for long. It is suggested to do the repotting during spring and summer, as the plants will be in active growth.  You can use orchid mix, which is available in market, or alternatively you can make your own mix with some sphagnum moss, tree-fern fiber, coco peta and some barks. 
Do look in to this link, very useful as a reference for repotting.

There are many orchid nutrients/ fertilizers in market. There are 17 essential elements to orchid growth but most needed and refereed as macronutrients are
  1. Nitrogen (N) – for leaf growth and flower development
  2. Phosphorous (P) – for root and flower development.
  3. Potassium (K) - build tissues and supports in the production of vital chlorophyll.
The other micronutrients elements are Calcium, Iron, Copper and Zinc. Any orchid fertilizer are labeled with the number 10-20-30, which means the ratio of the primary nutrients, they are said to be complete and balanced fertilizer if they have same ratio (NPK). i.e. 10-20-30, 20-20-20 and 10-10-10.

Always remember – Under fertilize, rather than over fertilizing.

Enjoy these enigmatic beauties.

Happy Gardening.


  1. Hi I just discovered your blog and I feel fantastic, good job

    un saludo

  2. Found your blog today. Love orchids, but I must say they seem to be more work than I can handle. NIce looking at yours. Here on the shores of Lake Michigan I would have to keep them inside all year. But I do like them and appreciate them at my friends home. They are really into orchids! Jack

  3. The orchids are beautiful. I haven't grown any yet, but I love this post on how to take care of them. Very informative!



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