Gardeners' World: Orchid expert talks caring for Phalaenopsis
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Phalaenopsis, or moth orchids, are the most popular indoor variety of orchid. They are known for their exotic, long-lasting flowers, which come in various different shades including pink and white. They are relatively easy to look after and grow well in bright light, blooming at any time of the year.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) said: “Their delicate and unusual beauty has captivated us for centuries, and now they’re cheaper to buy than ever before.
“But don’t throw away your orchid after it has flowered, with a little care they can bloom for years to come.”
Before owners bin their orchid after flowering, they should consider RHS’ five top tops for growing moth orchids.
This includes using the right water when hydrating the houseplant as well as how to mist an orchid properly.
1. Flower buds drop if exposed
According to the experts, flower buds drop if exposed to extreme temperatures. They are especially sensitive to cold draughts and like to be kept above 16C.
The gardening experts added: “Don’t buy plants from outdoor market stalls or supermarket foyers during cold weather.”
If the houseplant is exposed to these cold temperatures often found in supermarkets, the plant could sustain damage or could die.
Instead, orchids can be purchased from garden centres or online. Britons should check them over before purchasing to make sure they are healthy.
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2. Look at the roots
Most orchids have aerial roots reaching out into the air, rather than digging down into the potting media.
This can make it easier to identify if there is a problem with the plant. According to the experts, if the orchid has grey, shrivelled roots, this means the plant is too dry.
However, orchids are extremely susceptible to being overwatered, a common issue with houseplants, especially heading into the winter months.
To avoid this, the experts recommended misting them regularly to give the plant a boost of humidity.
3. Avoid tap water
The RHS experts said: “Use rainwater or boiled water for misting and watering, they don’t appreciate the chlorine in fresh tapster.
“Also, make sure water is at room temperature.” Rainwater, as it passes through the air, dissolves and absorbs many substances such as organic matter.
This enriched rainwater contributes to the nourishment of the plant. Other houseplants which enjoy rainwater include the peace lily.
Watering indoor plants with cold water can shock them, so it is always best to leave it to warm up a little.
4. Don’t mist the flowers
When misting the plant to boost humidity, it is important to avoid the beautiful flowers. According to the experts, this can lead to unsightly spots on the petals.
Instead, aim the mist towards the roots to help keep them green and healthy and not grey and dry.
It is important to do this job regularly because they are from the tropics, and thrive in warmer temperatures.
Owners could also place the orchid on a tray of wet pebbles if they do not have enough time each day to mist their houseplant.
5. Job to do when it has finished flowering
The RHS said: “When they’ve finished flowering, cut the flower spike back to the highest node, and they may well re-flower.”
Houseplant experts at Baby Bio® added: “Their nutritional needs are unique and need fertilising both when in bloom and dormant.
“Once your plant’s flowers have fallen, you can encourage it to re-bloom the following season by pruning the whole flower stem and continuing to care for it as usual while it lies dormant.
“Remember there are many pieces of orchids, so each should be treated according to its requirements.”
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