Over the summer, against my best judgment, I decided that I would try the advice that certain individuals and sites gave me about caring for orchids. Listening to the advice did not feel right but for some reason advice about orchids seemed to appear everywhere. So with this nagging feeling, I went ahead and mixed up some Miracle Grow fertilizer (I have been trying to use up this big box for years now) and water my orchid. Seriously, within hours the orchid started to droop and then my new bloom stem shriveled up! I was devastated.
I immediately took the plant and ran warm water over it and rinsed off the roots and took it out of the mulch. The once healthy roots were now shriveled and the bloom stem was dead. I cried-yes I did- and my husband says “I will buy you another one”. It is not the same. For those of you who know what I mean–sometimes the attachment to the plant or the memento is really the attachment to the memory and increases the specialness of the gift. Does this make sense?
I cleaned out the clay pot and went out and got some new mulch out of the flower beds and carefully cut the dead roots off. Over the next few weeks, a leaf died and so did some more roots. However, 6 months later it has been recovering and I hope that this Valentine’s Day it will bloom again. I received this orchid Valentine’s Day 2009 and it has bloomed for me every year (until this year when I almost killed it).
It is what marketers and retailers refer to as an ice orchid or Phalaenopsis. The direction say water with ice cubes and THIS IS THE WORST ADVICE EVER! It is a tropical plant and you do not water tropical plants with ice cubes. Seriously, there are no ice cubes in nature! I have been growing plants for 30 some years and never have I seen a plant thrive with tap water or ice cubes. All you need is about a 1/4 cup of rain water or tap water that has been sitting out for a few days. No fancy dirts, fertilizers, or pots. Mine sits in mulch in a clay pot on the small table right in front of the patio door where they may be a draft and a filtered southern exposure. Once you find a spot the orchid likes, do not move it. Mine is right in front of a drafty patio door that is constantly being opened for the animals. I am not saying that this is best but since I live in the south it is not as cold as it is in some areas so the drafts may not be as bad. I also think that the cooler air signals it to start producing flowers (just like the cooler nights and shorter days triggers Christmas cactus and Poinsettias).
Using mulch with orchid is a whole lot cheaper than the special dirt they sell you in the store. The ice orchids do not need any real special care- just some water and some love. I know this sounds crazy but I believe that the energy you send out in the world affects everything around you. So if you love your plants or even have a great attitude, then you should have a much better experience growing an indoor or outdoor garden. Brown thumb? You just haven’t found the right plants and the right attitude!
Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!
If I ever find the pictures I will add them but since I see these orchids in stores, I had to share about the care.
Copyright material 2014 C Renee Fuller