The variety of orchids colors and their elegant look is astonishing. They have conquered almost the whole globe (excluding the poles and desert areas). Of course they can be easily grown at home. All their shades will make a fantastic decoration in any kind of interior. It must be remembered, however, that these plants are really demanding and require some specific care methods. If you do that, they will repay with a plenty of colorful flowers.
Orchids prefer being watered in the morning. This will allow to sun the dry the roots a little preventing rotting. Excessive watering is a deadly sin against the plant as it might lead to the spread of mold and general deterioration of the plant. It is the roots that show whether the plant needs more water. If they are grayish and dry, it means the plant needs water. If they are green and juicy, the plant is fine. A small wooden stick can clarify any doubts. Put it gently into the pot and check the humidity. If it’s wet, it means the roots don’t need any water.
Distilled water or rainwater are best for orchids. Most importantly, it can’t be either too cold or too warm.
An important hint
Orchids can’t be watered in the traditional way as all the water will flow down to the bottom of the pot. Instead, give them a bath. Fill a bowl, a washbasin or a bathtub with water (up to the level of the leafs) and put the plants there for 30 minutes. Of course take them out of the clay pots. Afterwards leave them for 15 minutes to drain.
If you keep the orchids in very dry rooms, you can sprinkle them with water. Once again, do not use too much water.
Take care of the leafs
Orchid like to be clean. That is why you’d better remove any dust or dirt you might notice on them (also on the inside). To clean them use rainwater or filtered water (tap water might leave some white smears). Add a little bit of washing-up liquid to protect the plant against pests.
Roots inform us about the plant’s condition. If they begin to rot, they have to be cut off. This will protect the rest of the plant. The dry and thin shoots have to be removed, too.
There are a plenty of dedicated fertilizers. Again, never should you overdose. Add a dose every time you water them. Once a month give them a break to let them get rid of the fertilizer they haven’t been able to absorb yet.
The fertilizers can only be applied during the vegetation period. They are not to be used when the plant blooms or whenever the roots or leaves are in bad condition due to pests. Also, fading or intensively green leafs are also symptoms of over-fertilization.
Of course you can prepare a fertilizer yourself. A dew of dried leaves of nettle and horsetail (simmered for 20 minutes), added to the orchid bath, may prove just as effective. Again, it’s all about moderation.
Life after blooming
Orchids can bloom all year long or for just a few months, depending on the species. Once the plant drops the flowers, keep watching it for a few weeks afterwards. It is sometimes the case that the seemingly dead shoots form some new ones. If, however, they begin to wither and go yellowish, there are two options. The shoots can be either cut in the spot they are connected with the leaves (stimulating further growth as a result) or you can just wait until they come off.
Fading means the orchid begins vegetation and soon new leaves and shoots will form. This is when the plant does not look very spectacular and this is when you need to be patient regularly giving the plant baths.
How about a banana?
A banana fertilizer is one of the somewhat unconventional methods. This fruit contains sugar, potasium and vitamin B6 stimulating the growth of flowers and giving them a more vivid shade. All you have to do is to dry dome banana skin on a radiator or in the oven and later grind it into powder. Mix it with water and the fertilizer will be ready.
A garlic fertilizer strengthens orchid flowers and extends the period of blooming. Using garlic water also fight bacteria and fungus, strengthening general plant condition. Everything thanks to the sulfur compounds present in garlic.
Boil a liter of water and cool it. Once the water is lukewarm, throw three cloves of garlic (peeled or not) and close the dish for 24 hours. Afterwards soak the orchids taking them out of the pot and putting in the mixture.