Page 157 - 2017-greengate-Gardensense-magazine
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High humidity will increase the quality and length of an orchid’s bloom. The easiest way to increase humidity around a plant is to place the plant’s pot on gravel in a tray of water. The pot is not sitting in the water, but the moisture can evaporate into the air around the plant where it can be utilized by the plant. Another simple way is grouping several plants together. A humid microclimate is created.
There are several varieties of orchid fertilizer available for different stages of the orchid growth cycle. Check with your greengate expert for the growth cycle of your particular orchid. In time, with experimentation, you will learn to anticipate your orchid’s needs and adjust fertilization accordingly.
In nature, orchids follow the climate patterns of the area that they are growing in, flowering at the same time every year. When kept as a houseplant, however, there are factors that the grower may alter to promote flowering. Increasing the level of light available to the plant by changing location or providing additional light can stimulate the plant to flower. A temperature change can also sometimes signal the start of flowering to the plant. Changing the fertilizing program can also sometimes produce the same effect.
Orchids should be fun to grow as well as attractive. Experimenting with these exotic plants can be a very rewarding, learning experience. There are many exotic orchids that none but the experienced could grow, but there are also several very easy ones:
Cattleya orchids have the large flowers that are often used for corsages. They come in many colors
and several sizes. Older varieties bloomed once a year, but newer hybrids bloom several times a year. Cattleyas require a bright window and watering when quite dry in the summer, and very little water but bright light during the winter dormant period.
Cymbidium orchids have grass-like leaves and the flowers grow on a tall spike in the winter and early spring. They like a sunny, warm place in the summer and can grow outdoors in a container. In the fall they should be left outdoors until they have had a degree or two of frost, as the difference in temperature between night and day is what stimulates blooming.
Dendrobium orchids have clusters of smaller, long-lasting flowers on long stalks in spring or summer. They need a dormant period in the fall and winter, with little water but direct sun, until new flower buds form. In spring and summer they need a moist growing medium and good drainage.
Phalaenopsis (moth) orchids are the easiest of them all. They like a warm, humid atmosphere, which is not exactly what our homes are in the winter, but seem to adapt to less than the best conditions and bloom for a long time several times a year. When all the flowers have died, do not remove the stem. It could grow more flower buds on the same stem. When the stem turns yellow, remove it and a new stem will grow.
NOTE: Go to our website if you would like to know more about orchids

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