Over a month ago, I went to the bridal shower of my nephew’s bride. My younger daughter and I traveled to Chicago by car…a ten hour round trip for a 2 hour party…and well worth it! We had a lovely time and became the winners of three gorgeous orchid plants. She won one as youngest guest, we won one for traveling the farthest, and I won one for having a wedding anniversary closest to the wedding day (one day apart). We gave one to my niece, as three were just too bounteous!
I wish I’d taken a picture of the two or three…they were gorgeous cascades of lavender and purple blooms. Back home, I kept them well watered, but the blossoms fell off, one by one. I meant, really I did, to do some research on orchids so that I could keep them alive. I got busy. Busy with running, writing, work, and my younger daughter’s basketball and softball schedules. Busy with graduations , reunions, and weddings and all the ensuing celebrations. Busy with the quarter close at work. Now, here I am with a forced week off from work and time, finally, to do my research.
Here are my orchids…one has no blossoms left at all, and one has only a small, single bloom left. Finally, I looked up the care of orchids on the internet and found answers on about.com in an article by Jon VanZile entitled, Growing Indoor Orchids. Oh my, I’ve been caring for them all wrong. Fortunately, all is not lost. The normal conditions of natural orchids are as such:
- Strong light, but not direct late-afternoon sunlight
- High humidity
- Turbulent air flow around the roots
- Regular periods of drying, alternating with drenching rains
- Temperatures between 50 degrees and about 85 degrees
The article goes on to describe the normal state of a store-bought orchid, and it exactly matches the conditions of mine:
“Most store-bought orchids come packaged in cheap plastic pots with the roots packed in soaked moss. Obviously, this violates two of the main rules of successful growth. There is no air flow around the roots, and the roots are never given a chance to completely dry out.”
Fortunately, the article also cautions against repotting while the plant is blooming, giving me the reprieve I need. It also gives me the time to buy the appropriate pot and potting soil so that the roots can completely dry out in-between waterings.
So, in the midst of my busy life, I will take the time to cultivate some orchids. I will buy the right paraphernalia and pause to learn the proper care of the delicate orchid. I hope to be rewarded with a new set of cascading purple and white blossoms!
Find the Joy in the Journey and the rewards of learning a new skill!