Wednesday, April 14, 2010

wild orchid

look what i found! this orchid plant was left to die in my office's kitchen, where one often finds all kinds of cast off items (though not usually live plants). well i don't want to accept its death, and i've committed to trying to bring it back to the life it seems to be clinging to.

so i need your help. i've never had an orchid, let alone been successful with one. i love the idea of giving them as gifts, although i'm always somewhat hesitant because i feel like i'm giving someone a job to do, since they're known to be difficult to maintain.

but i accept this challenge. i want it to be restored to the lovely orchid it once was with several blooms and an imposing presence (that's not to say that it doesn't scare the crap out of me everytime i round the corner to my desk now, because surely it does).

so i took some pictures so you can get a true idea of its current condition and advise me well.

what should i trim? where should i spray? tell me everything!


Michelle... said...

Looks quite healthy to me, actually, though maybe a little thirsty! The thing is, orchids don't bloom nonstop. They DO bloom for a long time, but eventually the stems will die off and eventually after that new ones will grow.

-Does the pot have drainage? If not, and it's in those rocks, it should be OK for now, just don't water it very often. Eventually when the flowering stems die back you can repot it, but you don't want to do that while it's still got healthy stems (it's putting too much effort into flowering)

-Don't cut the stems until they've started to brown pretty far back. They may still bloom yet again. Once they do start to brown back pretty far, you can cut them down pretty close to the base of the plant.

-Eventually you do want to repot it into something with some fresh barky orchid potting soil, but don't go too big in pot size, they like to be crammed, just make sure it has drainage.

So basically, I almost completely ignore my orchids and they continue to bloom year after year...sure they're not as spectacular as the ones straight out of the nursery with so many flowers, but I'm more of a low maintenance plant gal.

Others might have more thorough suggestions!

hillary said...

I neglect my orchids and they love me for it. My strategy: cut off brown branches that have bloomed, water once a week. They bloom two or three times a year and the blossoms last weeks on the plant. I don't repot unless absolutely necessary...the blooms seem bigger and happier in smaller pots.

Mademoiselle Frou-Frou said...

i wish i knew! though i've been a bad orchid owner in the past, they always seem to come back & bloom just by watering them. i'm sure there's more to it than that!
xox alison

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