It’s hard not to be fascinated by orchids. They have, after all, conquered every continent on earth except for the Arctic and Antarctic. In your home and garden, these long-living flowering plants will add instant style and grace. Orchids can be grown indoors or outdoors and, as a native of tropical east Asia, some varieties will even thrive in your warm, steamy bathroom. Orchids also make excellent gifts, if you can bear to part with them.
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Finding the perfect orchid at Flower Power
It’s hard not to be fascinated by orchids. Tall and elegant, these long-living flowering plants will add instant style and grace. Orchids can be grown indoors or outdoors and, as a native of tropical east Asia, some varieties will even thrive in your warm, steamy bathroom.
Orchids also make excellent gifts that will be enjoyed by the recipient for a long time to come.
Phalaenopsis, or moth orchids, are the most common genus of orchids in Australia and they are available year-round with flowers that last for months. The orchid flower can come in a range of purple and pink shades, yellow, white or even a combination.
How to care for orchids
Once you’ve got the basics right, a phalaenopsis orchid is quite easy to look after and keep happy. With a little maintenance and care your orchid will continue to thrive for several seasons. Here’s how to care for orchids properly:
- Put them in the right place. The best spot to keep an orchid inside your house or outdoors is in a position with bright but filtered natural light for about six hours a day. Direct sunlight is too harsh for the delicate blooms and will make the roots dry out too quickly.
- Keep them warm, but not too warm. Your orchid ideally wants to sit at around 23 degrees celsius. It can handle a bit hotter or colder, but prefers no dramatic temperature swings.
- Keep the air moving. Orchids like a fresh, light breeze, but definitely avoid buffeting winds or direct hot air from a heater.
- Give them a trim. Like any flowering plant, it’s good to remove dead blooms to let the plant focus its energy on growing another bloom. Get rid of a spent orchid flower by snipping the stem just below where the last flower grew from, but above the node so the plant can grow another flower.
- Feed them. Especially important for a potted orchid flower, you’ll need to feed them so they have enough nutrients to continue to produce flowers. Your best bet is to buy a liquid orchid-specific fertiliser. It’s also best to use an orchid-specific potting mix with a high moss or bark content when repotting them.
How often to water orchids
Phalaenopsis orchids are surprisingly low maintenance when it comes to water. A light to moderate water once a week is all it really needs. Pour the water straight onto the roots without wetting the leaves, but make sure the drainage is good so the plant never sits in water. You can also occasionally mist the flowers with water during hotter seasons to help keep it humid.
If you’re keeping it in a hot, sunny position it may need to be watered more often, if it lives in a humid bathroom it will probably need less. Ideally, the soil or moss around the roots shouldn’t ever dry out completely; you can touch the mix every few days to gauge how thirsty it is.
How to repot an orchid
If your orchid is healthy, every year or two you may notice white roots growing out of the pot. This is a sign that your phalaenopsis orchid is getting too big for its space and you should repot your orchid to give it a little more room to grow. Choose a pot that is a little bigger, but not a lot bigger, than its existing home and get a fresh batch of orchid potting mix from Flower Power.
Add enough potting mix to the base of the new pot that your orchid will sit at the right height. Remove the orchid from its old pot gently, trying not to break any roots as you do so. When it is out, gently ease apart any tangled roots, and carefully cut off with clean scissors any that are dead or rotten.
Place the orchid in its new pot and add potting mix a little at time to fill the spaces. Stake your orchid so the blooms are standing upright and give it a thorough water to let it settle in.
For a selection of different orchids, as well as pots, potting mix, fertiliser and plenty of advice on how to care for orchids and how to repot an orchid, come into Flower Power or explore the range online.