As a semi-self taught horticulturist, I learned to stay away from orchids. It seemed everything I read warned that these plants were hard to grow, and the person attempting to grow them was doomed to failure. I took these warning seriously and went about my business growing other plants that interested me, but were “easier”. Over the years, this meant cacti, succulents, carnivorous plants, milkweed, eggplant, and herbs. But, I grew bored.
Approximately, two years ago I purchased two orchids from our local Home Depot store. They were beautiful and affordable! One, I gave to the secretary at our school, who did a lot for me at the time. It was a combined holiday/thank you gift. The other, I kept for my- self. Both were blooming at the time. The blooms on my orchid faded and fell off, twelve months came and went with nothing but the stems getting longer. I did some reading and decided to cut the stems, as instructed, to force another bloom. This is described in a prior blog post.
Six months later, I was rewarded with thirteen flowers in the deepest shade of purple. My care of the orchid was not hard, it just took a little reading and a leap of faith. During the time the flower buds were developing, I bought two additional – smaller orchids at the Ikea store in Minneapolis. These were also blooming at the time. One has continued to bloom and the other faded to just have stems, much like the larger orchid. However, since these plants were much smaller, I left them alone until this week when I repotted them.
The smaller orchids were treated to a repotting with Orchid chips. Soil is not needed since Orchids are epiphytes, living naturally in the sub-tropical regions of our country and elsewhere in the tropics. Epiphytic plants do not need soil, but absorb their nutrients and needed water from the air! They grow on top of other things, like tree branches.
I must be feeling bold with my orchids since I am repotting them but, I am hooked on these fascinating plants. In fact, my mother’s day present was a yellow orchid and I treated myself this past week to a new white and purple orchid from Ikea. I must be doing something right to be able to grow these plants that I thought were “hard” to have successful with nurturing. Before long, I might even have an orchid collection, not just an orchid obsession! Happy Gardening!