It’s just not fair: Orchids have this bum rap for being some of the most finicky plants to grow. Yet the truth is orchids are some of the easiest plants to grow if given the proper exposure, potting mix and right amount of water. Just ask Becky Brinkman, longtime manager of the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Fuqua Orchid Center. Becky has come up with her "Eight Ways to Kill Your Orchid":
1. Water it every day.
The most frequently asked question is "Do you water the orchids every day?" The answer is, "No, but we check them every day." Checking means looking at the potting mix to see if it’s dry.
2. Establish a watering schedule for your orchid.
This one is really tempting. But when your orchid receives one less hour of light and considerably weaker light intensity during winter, does it make sense to water with the same frequency as you did in summer?
3. Water your orchid whenever you water your other plants.
Convenient, yes. Good horticulture, no.
4. Water your Phalaenopsis orchid with ice cubes.
In nature a moth orchid seldom experiences temperatures below 60 degrees. And you’re thinking about applying ice water to its roots? Why not just put it in the freezer for a day?
5. Find out where your orchid is native to and water it when the Weather Channel says it’s raining there.
Microclimate matters more to an orchid than macroclimate. Even if your condo is located in the rain forest, the kitchen window microclimate where your potted orchid resides is different from the microclimate within the tree canopy outside.
6. Force it to live its entire life in a beautiful pot with no drainage holes, in a dense soil mix, and smothered with florist’s moss.
I know you received it from the florist this way, and it looks great, I admit it. But the florist’s priority is how the plant looks, not how well it grows.
7. Force it to live its entire life in the same soil mix that the grower put it in.
The structure of peat moss (and composted pine bark) is too fine and too dense to be a good long-term medium for plants that in nature grow in trees. It retains loads of water and breaks down quickly.
8. Bring your orchid to an orchid care clinic on the coldest day in January.
See Way to Kill Your Orchid No. 4.
Becky’s bottom-line basic advice is this:
- Plant your orchid in a coarse-textured potting mix that promotes air circulation, such as the combination of bark/charcoal/perlite.
- Give it intense sunlight (an east-facing windowsill is good).
- Let the plant dry out a little between waterings.
- Don’t overdo it with the fertilizer (cut the dosage by half for these light feeders).
-- Danny Flanders, HGTV.com
Home Selling Tip
Clutter can cost you a sale, as it can make your house seem smaller to potential buyers. Rent a storage unit or portable pod, or ask a friend if you can borrow some space in their garage. Then move out all your extraneous furniture and knickknacks.
Did You Know...
On average, households lose about 20 percent of their heated and cooled air through the duct system to the outside. To avoid wasting energy, have your ducts inspected to ensure they’re sealed properly and insulated if necessary.
-- April Saylor, Energy.gov