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Autumn Oak Lane: Orchid field notes

Orchids are a staple every houseplant enthusiast should want to include in their collection. With many specimens to choose from, you can find one that suits your personality. Between the flying duck orchid or the common Phalaenopsis orchid, which has over 70 species of its own, you can see that there are many to choose from. They come in all shades of the rainbow and include striped, speckled and gradient bloom as well as solid colors.

Care tips

Lighting – The orchids all like bright indirect light so they can create energy and stay in bloom from May through December.

Watering – When you buy an orchid at the store or nursery make sure its roots are either dark green or silver-green. If they are brown or yellow they have rotted due to overwatering. When the roots turn light green and look like they have a silvery sheen on them, they are ready to be watered again.

Fertilizer - Once a month you can come in with liquid fertilizer and water the plant with the diluted liquid food.

Rooting medium - Most orchids are epiphytes that take nutrients from the atmosphere and mostly use their roots as an anchor system. They are able to soak up water through their thickly coated roots and like to dry out in the barky mixture it should be placed in. They don’t like regular potting soil as it would be too moist and won't allow the roots to breathe and draw in anaerobic bacteria.

What to do after it blooms:

You can cut the bloom stalk off or you can look for a new bud on the side. Make sure it is green; if the secondary bloom stalk is looking yellow, it has died and you should cut the stalk off at the base so that the plant puts its energy into new leaves and roots. Once it is done blooming, you should place the plant in a bright area, but not direct bright light as it will go dormant.


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