Thursday, March 20, 2014

Growing Orchids: Remembering my Mother and Taking the Plunge

My mother used to have orchids which she hung on an arbor between the main house and the separate kitchen with the cooking hearth. She used coconut husks with charcoal as the growing medium for the orchids. Her orchids were wonderful, with long sprays of flowers. Now and then she'd  put eggshells around the orchids, and thinking back, it must have been to provide additional nutrients, calcium perhaps.

Here's an old picture of me next to some of Mama's orchids. Look at those flowers!

I remembered my mother's orchid collection, and I've decided to try growing orchids. I've had orchid plants of course, which I've kept in the house while they had flowers, then out they went when the flowers died. The "exiles" ended up in a shady part of my garden, and they got watered, and now and then they got re-potted, and if they lived, fine, and if they died, well ... too bad.

They weren't cared for properly. I realize that now.

I recently learned that orchids need four things:  moving air,  filtered light, moisture or the right kind of humidity, and bark-charcoal-perlite mix.  I also learned where to cut the stalk once the flowers die.  I need to water them once a week with a weak solution of fertilizer. And I must water once a month with plain water to flush out salts.

 I went to Home Depot Garden and picked up six small orchid plants, and I found one of my "exiles" under a tree.  I re-potted all seven in a Miracle Grow orchid soil/bark mix. I also bought an epidendrum, which is more hardy and can actually live outside (it's the one in the big pot, on the ground).  I know this for a fact because I have a two-year old epidendrum that has flowers and seems happy under my care.

Here are my newly re-potted orchids, which have been watered.  The plan is to bring them into the house once they're dry. I have a picture window above my kitchen sink, and they would love it there, but I need to talk to my cats about leaving them alone.

This may be difficult.

If I run into problems with my cats, there's a guest bathroom with lovely filtered light. But the orchids don't really belong there. But I'll deal with that when and if the time comes. Who knows my "boys" may leave the plants alone?

So here goes. I'll keep you posted regarding the orchids, as well as with my cannibal plants - Seymour and the Sirens.

The photo below shows my mother and me.

Read also
Sphagnum Moss Almost Killed My Orchids
My cannibal pitcher plant caught a fly
Seymour my cannibal pitcher plant has a flower
Introducing my Cannibal Hanging Pitcher Plants

Growing Healthy Orchids Indoors
Growing Indoor Orchids
New Orchids and repotting phalaenopsis orchid
How to cut off orchid spikes
How to properly care for orchids
How to get orchids to rebloom
How to make a humidity tray
tags: garden, flowers, orchids, epidendrum, orchid growing, epiphytes

This is all from now,

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