We are really glad you like our new display of Orchids at the entrance. Thank you for all your lovely comments and for bearing with us while we rearrange our HOUSEPLANT SECTION.
Orchids have the potential to look good all year round with their generous flowering periods and wealth of colour. White is perennially popular but the range available stretches from pale lemon yellow to disco pink and vibrant, cocktail orange.
Due to the availability of Orchids they are often treated as disposable or, mistakenly assumed to be dead when flowers fade when they are in fact ‘resting’ before a triumphant return. We stock Dendrobium, the Bamboo Orchid, which flowers along the length of its stem for a staggeringly consistent 45 days non-stop. With continued care and gentle watering it will then reappear to perform for further extended periods.
More likely though you may have purchased a Phalaenopsis as they are easy to grow and to encourage to reflower. They are commonly known as The Moth Orchid producing arching, elegant spikes of 8-10 flowers or more. Follow our handy tips for getting the most from your Langton orchid:-
Orchids that are grown indoors do not like to be scorched by bright, direct light. It yellows their leaves and turns them to mush. However, they won’t appreciate the dark either. They prefer a relatively bright environment with the gentle filtered light of a net curtain or some diffuse emission. In any event, keep away from extremes of the cold north or the baking south.
Phalaenopsis like a steady indoor temperature of around 15 – 20C. A comfortable heated room with no chilly, blow through blasts. Due to this temperament it’s best not to house them on a windowsill, particularly where the temperature may range from warm in the day to cold at night. Steadiness is the key. Orchids do not appreciate being shocked.
WATERING & HUMIDITY
Think rainforest or Eden project: a tranquil, steamy climate of consistent temperature. Hence the creation of Orchid mists to replicate the environment they love so much. If you do not buy a prepared blend, simply mist daily during summer and continue to apply to leaves when not in flower and regularly during winter.
Enthusiasts would sit the plant pot onto gravel to allow for a continuous level of dampness (but not standing wet) moisture to the base. Moreover, it is specifically collected rainwater or cool, boiled water. However, I have to say I have an Orchid that has received no such special attention and existed quite happily on the occasional soaking under the kitchen tap that to me replicates drenching rainfall. However, drainage is key and I will allow it to drain completely for an hour before replacing in situ.
If you don’t stand them in gravel or regularly mist the leaves and roots, you night find your orchid benefits from a weekly plunging into a pot of tepid rainwater. Always let them drain thoroughly. There is a delicate balance between continuously damp moisture levels, not dry, not wet. This is probably where most consumers struggle but it’s not rocket science. They are very amenable and endlessly rewarding with steady, gentle care. Feed every couple of weeks in season to retain vitality.
REPOTTING & CLEAR POTS
Indoor Orchids are epiphytic (growing on trees) or lithophytic (growing on rocks) thus requiring moisture and air round their roots rather than soil. Likewise, we repot orchids because the bark like compost has degraded and prevents air getting to the root. This is dine every couple of years, ideally after flowering in spring and only using specialist orchid compost. Likewise because of the particular importance of roots to the plant, orchids are grown and re-potted only in clear pots. Prune off any weak or dead roots and do not aim to cram in wayward aerial roots. Leave them to dangle. Again, unlike conventional plants, orchids are repotted into the same size pot or one size up.
Once the flower has faded, trace the stem back to its lowest node from the base. This is a little swelling on the stem. Cut diagonally above that point. This node is where the next flower will come from. Be prepared to wait……this can take a few months but a delight to see it emerge again and know you are a competent orchid keeper. In meantime, follow above instructions and above all DO NOT THROW IN BIN. Plant is resting and will be back in due course. As will I. HAPPY GARDENING.