Photo Essay

Love for flowering orchids

Rare and delicate beauty for Regenia

The Orchidaceae are a diverse and widespread family of flowering plants, with blooms that are very colourful and fragrant among orchid family. I have been participated in an exhibition at Cuttack, India under Agro biodiversity theme, where Regional Plant Research Centre, Bhubaneswar displayed many flowering orchids. To my interest I asked how to grow orchids and the researcher advised me that an orchid that has lots of healthy leaves and roots will bloom quite easily. If it has rotting roots it won't bloom. If it is not growing large new leaves it won't bloom. Or if it does bloom, it does so in desperation before it dies. A healthy phalaenopsis orchid will have 3 to 5 leaves. In the home they rarely have more than 5 and 4 is more common. Once it reaches this mature size new leaves will grow while at the same time an old leaf falls off.The size of a mature leaf depends on the cultivar. Orchids with larger flowers usually have larger leaves. Orchids with smaller flowers have smaller leaves. That is all controlled by genetics and you can only do so much to get bigger leaves. They also advised me to follow the steps which I want to share with you all my JPG family members those who love to grow orchids.

1. Provide lots of light. Moving it to the south window will give it extra light and this may trigger blooming. Consider putting them outside for the summer. This will give them much higher light and they are more likely to flower in fall. To get them outside, move them into sun very slowly over a couple of weeks so they can get hardened off. Too much sun right away will result in sunburn – black areas on the leaves. They prefer a part sun location, especially in hotter climates. Once conditioned to the sun the leaves will get much lighter in color showing that it is getting maximum light – that is a good thing.

2. Orchids like a drop in temperature at night. This is especially important to get orchids to bloom. Many phalaenopsis start making the flower spike in fall (in the northern hemisphere) because they get lower temperatures at that time of year. Move the orchid close to a colder window so it gets a natural drop in temperature. At night you can move it to a fruit cellar or unheated porch – but that is a lot of work and is not usually necessary. A cooler window works well. If they are outside for the summer a few weeks of cold weather will not harm them and usually triggers flowering. They can't take frost.

3. Do not start fertilizing more to make the orchid flower. If you have been following my orchid care suggestions, they are getting enough fertilizer. Do NOT use bloom boosters. Firstly, they don't work for orchids or any kind of plant, provided the soil for the plant is not deficient of a nutrient – which is usually the case. Secondly, too much fertilizer makes orchids grow weak leaves which rot easier.

4. Don't water more. You will just encourage rot at the roots or worse, in the crown of the plant. Instead of watering more, try watering less. Orchids flower better if they are stressed a bit. Don't water for a couple of weeks and watch the flower spike shoot up.

5. Flowering takes a lot out of an orchid and it will normally not flower right after finishing a set of flowers. It is normal for it to take 6 months or even a year before flowering again. In temperate climates the orchid is probably not getting enough light in winter, so they tend not to bloom in spring. Blooming is more likely after a summer of more light. If it has been 6 months and still no flowers, go through the above list and stress the plant a bit. More light, colder and withhold the water. Have patience and surely it will give lots of happiness.

Finally the researcher said to have patience and surely it will give lots of happiness. Now I am going to start collecting orchids!!

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—The JPG team

4 responses

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (19 Nov 2017):

    Well written and informative story on how to grow Orchids..You have my vote! I would nominate it too except I used that option earlier for the week!

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (21 Nov 2017):

    Back to nominate your story!

  • Lynn E. Harvey

    Lynn E. Harvey gave props (22 Nov 2017):

    Brilliant, voted!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain said (3 Dec 2017):

    Thanks Andrea and Lynn for your kind props and love....

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