Helpful tips for orchid plant care

Cymbidium Orchids:

These orchids are prized for their long-lasting sprays of flowers, used especially as cut flowers or for corsages in the spring. There are two main types of cymbidiums – standards and miniatures. Where summer nights are warm (above 70 F), only miniatures can be recommended, because many are more tolerant of heat and able to flower in warmer weather.

Display in a cool spot out of direct sunlight while in bloom. Keep plant at 50-60 degrees F at night until buds are mostly open; 65-75 degrees F during the day and after buds open. Plants can tolerate 45-85 degrees F, but blooms fade sooner at higher temperatures.  Place plants outdoors after risk of frost. Plants tolerate full sunlight if placed outdoors in early spring, otherwise, place in partial shade during mid-day.

Water/Fertilizer: Wait until the soil is dry before watering your orchid- usually 7-10 days. Saturate soil and allow to drain- do not let the plant stand in water. Instead of fertilizing at full strength once a month, many experienced orchid growers use the weakly, weekly method. Apply a 1/4 strength fertilizer each time you water and apply the fertilizer after watering. Putting fertilizer on dry soil can burn the roots.

Humidity outdoors is usually sufficient during the summer, except in dry climates, where evaporative cooling in a greenhouse is necessary. Keep humidity at 40 to 60 percent during the winter, especially if plants are in bud. Keep the air moving to prevent fungus (Botrytis) from spotting the flowers. During hot, dry weather, spray foliage in early morning to allow it to dry by evening.

Plants must be subjected to a temperature change of at least 20-30 degrees F between day and night during summer to set the buds for the next season. Plants will bloom at about the same time each year.

Potting is usually done in the spring after flowering, usually every two years or when the potting medium decomposes. Shake all of the old potting mix off the roots, dividing the plant if desired. Pick a water-retentive potting mix; medium-grade fir bark with peat moss and perlite is a common mix. Select a pot that will allow for at least two to three years of pseudobulb growth before crowding the pot, while planning on placing the active growing pseudobulb(s) of the division farthest from the side of the pot. Spread the roots over a cone of the mix in the bottom of the pot and fill the container with medium, working it among the roots, tamping firmly. Single backbulbs need not even be placed in mix until new growth and roots are noted. Keep shaded and warm until new growth sprouts, and pot as above.

 



One thought on “Helpful tips for orchid plant care

  1. Pingback: Gorgeous orchids have arrived for Valentine’s Day « Dandelions Flowers & Gifts

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