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- Are orchids hard to grow?
- No. Contrary to popular belief, orchids are not difficult to grow. Orchids just have a different set of cultural needs. Like any other type of plants, orchids need water, fertilizer, light and air. Orchids adapt well to the environment of the average home.
- Do I need a greenhouse to grow orchids?
No. Many orchids thrive under normal household temperatures. For best results, provide nighttime temperatures of 60 to 65°F and daytime temperatures 75 to 85°F.
Other orchids, such as Cymbidiums, Miltonias and Odontoglossums, tend to prefer cool temperatures. For best results, provide nighttime temperatures of 50 to 55oF and daytime temperatures of 60 to 80oF. Place the plants near a cool window in the home. In temperate regions, the plants may be grown outside under a protected patio.
- What is the easiest orchid to grow?
The answer to that question depends on whether you are looking for something to grow indoors or outdoors.
Phalaenopsis are among the easiest and most rewarding orchids to grow. An American Orchid Society demographic survey showed that Phalaenopsis have become America~s favorite orchid. The plants adapt well to the environment of the home or office. From the time that the first flower bud opens, the sprays will remain in bloom for the next 2 to 3 months.
Odontoglossum and Oncidium intergeneric hybrids are comprised of a large group of orchids from many different genera. The Odontoglossum/Oncidium alliance is very popular among orchid growers due to their cultural flexibility and striking sprays of long-lasting flowers. The plants may be grown with relative ease in the home or on a sheltered patio.
- How long do the blooms on an orchid last?
- The answer to this question depends upon the type of orchid in bloom. Flowers on Cattleyas may last up to a month in bloom from the time that the bud opens. Whereas, Phalaenopsis and Cymbidium sprays will remain in bloom for 2 to 3 months longer.
- How often do orchids bloom?
- The answer to this question depends upon the type of orchid. Some bloom once a year, others bloom several times a year and some even bloom continuously.
- Are orchids fragrant?
- Some orchids are fragrant. The scents from fragrant orchid flowers are highly variable. Some are subtle and others are extremely strong. And range from fruity to flowery. Many of the orchids have familiar aromas such as chocolate, raspberry, coconut, lilac or citrus.
- How often should I water my orchids?
Depending upon the temperature, orchids potted in bark should be watered about once or twice a week. During the summer, the plants may need to be watered every 4 to 5 days. You should follow this rule of thumb for watering : More heat more water, less heat less water.
Plants potted in New Zealand sphagnum moss should be water less often. Water plants once every 7 to 10 days.
Some orchids prefer to be kept on the moist side. This does not mean that the orchid like to be left in standing water. Try to water the plants early in the day, so that the foliage will be dry by nightfall. To prevent bacterial and fungal disease, use Physan 20 once a month.
- How often do I need to fertilize my orchids?
- Orchids must be fertilized on a regular basis! For best results, use Norman~s Optimal Orchid Nutrients every other week. It is recommended to pre-water plants before applying the diluted nutrient solution if the potting media is dry.
- What kind of soil do I need to grow orchids?
- None. Orchids do not grow in soil. In the wild, most orchids are found high above the jungle floor, in the tree canopy. For best results, orchids should be grown either in New Zealand sphagnum moss, fine orchid bark mix or medium orchid bark Mix. Orchids must be grown in pots with good drainage. Soil is bad for the plants because it cuts off air circulation at the roots and blocks the drainage of water.
- When is the best time to repot my orchids?
Ideally, orchids should be repotted immediately after flowering. Any plant that is potted in decomposed, packed bark should be repotted immediately.
Most orchids need to be repotted once every 1 to 2 years. The bark or moss that the orchids are grown in gradually deteriorates. If repotting is not done, the bark or moss become decomposed and packed down. Under these conditions, roots are not properly aerated, drainage becomes blocked (so there is too much standing moisture), and the plant eventually dies from asphyxiation and root rot.
- There is not apparent sign of new growth. What am I doing wrong?
- This may not be the right time in the plant's growth cycle for new growth. Do not attempt to force the plant with extra fertilizer or watering. This will not help the situation. In fact, such actions will have adverse effects on the plant. Be patient.
- The plant refuses to flower. What is wrong with the plant?
- Several possibilities may have occurred: 1) The plant may not be getting enough light. If this is the case, simply move the plant to a slightly brighter location, 2) The proper growth cycle is not being observed. Find out what time of year is the blooming period in the plant's natural growth cycle. This may simply be the wrong time of year to expect the plant to bloom, 3) Sometimes, if the plant was purchased as a first time blooming plant, it may not bloom the following year. Be patient. Once the plant is older it will bloom regularly.
- There is sap on my orchid. Should I be concerned?
- No. It's normal for orchids such as Dendrobiums, Oncidiums and Cattleyas to produce honey on the flower stem. Mother nature built in the sap producing process to help the orchid attract insects for pollination. Orchids rely on insects to pollinate the flowers for the continuation of the species.
- The leaves on my orchid turned yellow. Should I be concerned?
The answer to this question depends upon which leaves are involved. Yellowing of old leaves on backbulbs is a normal part of the aging process. Therefore, this should not be of concern.
However, yellowing of newer leaves is a sign of trouble. Orchids with yellow leaves are an indication that the plant is suffering from either too much light or insufficient feeding. Increase the shading and apply orchid nutrients as directed. Other causes of yellowing include loss of roots and stress due to low temperatures.
- What should I do about the blacked area on the leaves of the plant?
Blackened area on leaves may be caused by either sunburn or bacterial or fungal disease.
The appearance of black areas on the surface of the leaves, following a hot sunny day may be the result of sunburn. Exposure to direct mid-afternoon sunlight during the late spring through early fall will scorch the leaves of some orchids. Increase the shading or move the plant to a less sunny location.
If the blackened area increases in size, this is an indication of bacterial or fungal disease. Cut off the diseased area with a sharp, sterile tool(i.e., razor blade or knife). Then treat the plant with a fungicide like Physan 20.
- What causes the tip or ends of the leaves to become blackened?
- Blackened leaf tips may be caused by hard water, overfeeding with orchid nutrients or fungal disease. Remember that the potting mix needs to be flushed out thoroughly with plain water in between feeding. Cut off any black tips on leaves to prevent the die -back from continuing to run back down the leaf. Use a sterilized pair of scissors.
- The leaves on the plant are limp and there is soft growth at the base of the plant. What is happened?
- The orchid bark mix or New Zealand sphagnum moss is waterlogged. Withhold water. Give the plant a week to dry out. Two possibilities may have occurred: 1) Orchids do not like to be left in standing water or 2) The time interval between watering is too short. For example, if the plant was watered every 7 days and became waterlogged, increase the time span in between watering to 10 days. Try to water the plants early in the day, so that the foliage will be dry by nightfall. To prevent bacterial and fungal disease, treat with Physan 20 once a month.
- There are small reddish brown spots turning black on the leaves. What should I do?
- This is an indication of a fungal infection. Fungal infections are usually the result of warm temperatures, high humidity and low light levels. Treat the plants with a systemic fungicide such as Phyton 27.
- Where should I cut off the flower spike after the plant finishes blooming?
- The answer to this question depends upon the type of orchid in question. Phalaenopsis plants may flower again for a second time. After the plant goes out of bloom, cut the stem right below the first flower on the spray. A new spray of flowers may emerge from the node below it. For all other orchids, cut off the old flower spike at the base of the plant.
- What causes deformed flowers?
If a plant consistently produces deformed flowers year after year, the problem is genetic.
However, an occasional deformed flower may be caused either flower buds that were subjected to the stress of high temperature and low humidity; mechanical or chemical damage.
- The new buds dropped off and the flower(s) wilted shortly after it opened. What happened?
- Several factors will cause bud drop and flower wilting. The flower(s) may have been stressed by a sudden change in temperature. Another possibility is the exposure of the flowers to ethylene gas. Ripe fruits have been known to produce this type of gas. Try to keep fruits away from orchids in bud or bloom. If the plant is kept in the kitchen, beware of a possible gas leak from the stove.
- There are small black spots on the flowers. What should I do?
- Black spots on flowers are usually caused by Botrytris, a fungus. The problem is caused by poor air circulation and too much moisture. The remedy is to increase air circulation and reduce the humidity.
- There are lots of root on the outside of the pot. What should I do?
- The cause of the problem is neglect. Orchids grown in fine bark need to be repotted every year. Whereas, orchids grown in medium bark need to be repotted every two years. Simply repot the orchid and put the roots back into the pot.
- A few of the root on the surface of the pot are still alive. However, most of the root inside the pot are dead. How can I stimulate the plant to produce more roots?
- Dip the plant in Rootone (rooting hormone) or Dip~n Grow to help stimulate new root growth.
- How can I get rid of the snails that are devouring my flowers and shredding up the new leaves on my plant?
- Metaldehyde is an effective agent for eradication of slugs and snails. Sprinkle Slug-N-Snail granules on top of the pot.
- What is the best way to get rid of the aphids on my orchid?
- X-CLUDE, encapsulated pyrethrum time-release insecticide is the most efficient method of pest control.
- How can I get rid of the scales and spider mites on my plant?
- Common pest associated with Cattleyas are scale and spider mites. X-CLUDE, encapsulated pyrethrum time-release insecticide or Neem Oil are the most efficient methods of pest control.
- What is the best way to deal with bacterial and fungal disease on my orchids?
- The most efficient method to treat bacterial and fungal disease is the regular use of a systemic agent such as Phyton 27. The agent will be absorbed by the roots of the plant and then carried throughout the plant. Once the Phyton 27 is absorbed by the plant it will remain in the plant~s system for months.
- How can I prevent bacterial and fungal diseases?
Orchids benefit from fresh air circulation. In their natural habitat, orchids get excellent air circulation, which helps prevent bacterial and fungal diseases. Avoid cold drafts from coming in contact with the plants as well.
Try to water the plants early in the day, so that the foliage will be dry by nightfall. To prevent bacterial and fungal disease use Physan 20 once a month.