Let me start with my personal history of the orchid flower. If you want to skip all this crap just scroll down until you find, "orchid care." The first time I saw an orchid for sale in a store it was years ago but I remember how I felt when seeing one for the first time. I actually laughed and snickered and thought, "what kind of a moron would buy such a stupid looking fake flower???" I honestly thought it was a plastic fake decoration. I had no idea that it was an actual living plant, I thought someone had made it for show. That's how amazing they are though, they don't even look real. Their colors and simplicity make the orchid, (the phalaenopsis orchids to be exact) an extraordinary flowering plant to display. All I ever heard was, "stay away from them, they are so hard to grow." I never bothered with them and for years I knew nothing about them.
FAST FORWARD TO TWO YEARS AGO: My older sister gets a phalaenopsis orchid for my mother, I think it was Mother's Day? My mother has no green thumb by any means, in fact I joke with her that she has a black hand due to all the plant deaths she's caused over the years. My first reaction to the gift was, what a bone-head present this will turn out to be, one of the most difficult plants to have and a woman that kills some of the easiest plants to take care of, a match made it heaven! I did find the orchid to be extremely beautiful but again, no surprises there. It didn't matter because in my mind after a few days of looking spectacular the flowers would droop, wilt and fall off, and then it was only a matter of time before the leaves began to shrivel and turn brown, dry up and fall off leaving a long dead dried stick in the pot where a marvelous flower once stood. I was wrong and my assumption couldn't have been further from the truth. To my delight AND shock this orchid bloomed for months and is still alive to this very day. I was also very surprised and intrigued about the watering method, placing ice cubes in the pot. (I will discuss this in the care section) I was determined to not let my mother kill this flower, I reminded her of the "watering" and always found it had already been taken care of by my mother. It's hard to NOT kill these plants with kindness as is the most often cause of death by orchid owners. As I stated before my mother's orchid plant lived through the winter, flowerless, but we all believed that it would re-bloom when the time was right and sure enough, it did.
Fast forward to the present. So I was in the grocery store and there were a ton of flower bouquets in there and on a small table there sat, by itself, a lonely orchid. It said, "manager's special" on the side and marked down to $3.99. That's ridiculously cheap for an orchid flower. I didn't know what was wrong with it, in fact, it didn't seem to be that bad off to me, I assumed it had to do with watering or should I say, lack there of, to be a likely reason for it getting the manager's special tag. I bought it and headed home to find out just what was the matter. I did ton of research and there are a lot of great YouTube channels and websites that helped me learn a great deal. Turns out there are a lot of different kinds of orchid flowers but the one that you probably recognize is the phalaenopsis. I think these are the best, I like them the most anyway. They require some very specific things to grow and last for years. They bloom and the flowers can last several months and they can bloom several times a year.
|New buds coming out on the Manager's Special|
I now hunt down these, "manager's specials," in stores saving these dying ones that actually just need some TLC and the proper conditions. The problem with selling orchids is that to ship them and keep them alive in stores looking beautiful means doing things to them that you should never do when you are keeping them in your home. THAT is why people say they are hard to grow and keep alive. When you buy them from the store they are already in need of some help but people don't know this or understand it. So they have the flower for a short time, it starts to wilt and die and they are scratching their heads saying, "why did that happen, I guess they are just hard to care for!" Well they aren't and I will share some tips and tricks with you to help not only keep your orchid alive but keep it thriving for years!
|My Manager's Special|
SUNLIGHT: Plants need sunlight, did you know that? Most first-graders do so I sure hope this wasn't a shock to you. What you might not know is that the phalaenopsis orchid likes filtered sunlight and never direct. Keep in mind, these guys come from growing on and under trees, they would naturally have less light getting to them. Leaves should be olive green and perky, standing up is an indication of good watering. A dark green leaf means not enough light. Red or brown spots or edges can mean too much sunlight as they will burn if they get too much. A shear curtain in front of your window does great to give the orchid just enough light but not burn it. An east facing window also works best.
BLOOMING: Your orchid will bloom because it is a flower and that's what it does. It may take a while if it has no flowers but a healthy plant should bloom about twice a year, sometimes more. The flowers should last a few months as well. Keep in mind that when your flower starts to bloom, don't change its direction! It will try to bend towards the light if you move it. When shopping for an orchid try to get one that is just starting to bloom or sending out some buds, this way you'll get to see the flowers bloom for yourself and you know it is just beginning its flower cycle. A flower fully bloomed may be near the end of the cycle and you'll never know but if you start to see flowers falling off a week later you might not see anymore for a year, and that can be disappointing and disheartening but remember, your flower is NOT dead at this point! It is still a plant and still needs to be taken care of just the same.
I hope this helped but remember there is so much more to know about the world of orchids. I suggest consulting Youtube or other webpages about phalaenopsis orchids once you get one, there is so much more information you'll eventually need. They are great little flowers and in my opinion, can't be matched in beauty.