An Orchid Nerd’s Guide to Happy Plants

Words by
Katie Cartwright
| November 18, 2014

Our favourite orchid gal, Katie Cartwright,  is back to share with us her top tips for healthy and happy orchids. If you have been considering launching yourself into an orchid obsession, now would be a wonderful time. Says us.

This is what Katie says:

  • WATER: Don’t overwater them! They generally like to be fairly dry, this is because their roots are very thin, covered by a thick coating called vellum, which soaks up the water. If you overwater the vellum will rot, and the orchid, particularly Phalaenopsis (moth orchids) will really struggle.
  • LOVE: Talk to them, sing to them, give their leaves a little cuddle, whatever you feel like. Studies show that plants enjoy sound and touch, so why not? The first slipper orchids I was ever given were crammed tight into a pot and the lovely man who gave them to me told me very very carefully that they would DIE if I separated them because slipper orchids like friends.
  • POTTING MIX:  Choose your potting medium wisely. Always research or ask the seller what to repot your plant in. Most commercial mixes are bark, little potting soil and a slow release fertilizer, which may or may not suit your orchid. For instance, lithic orchids which grow naturally on rock faces, prefer little or no growing medium and would do well in an old tree stump.
  • SHADE: You can easily burn orchids in hot sun, so be careful about where you place them. Dappled sun is usually pretty good, part shade during winter for more warmth is good too.
  • DON’T CUT IT! When your orchid has finished flowering, don’t chop off the flower stem! I know it looks daggy, but it’s full of sugars and nutrients that are very helpful to your orchid. Next years flowers will thank you for it!

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