Orchids used to be considered so exotic and rare. Now, you can’t go to the hardware or grocery store without being bombarded with thousands of these beauties begging for you to take them home. After the flowers fade, however, the plants are not so lovely and many of them are tragically thrown away. Have you done this? Do you feel guilty?
I’ve been growing orchids for over 15 years, and let me tell you, when you get one to re-bloom for you, it’s a special feeling – well worth the few weeks of waiting. There is no secret method (forget the ice cubes). In fact, I do a lot of things that the complicated “How To Grow Orchids” books warn against, and I think the pictures are proof that my orchids are happy.
So here is my method: I have 12 orchids of various types, sitting in front of a south facing window on top of a radiator. Yes, a radiator that gets hot in the winter, in front of a drafty window that gets intense sunlight. I know…the orchid police are on their way! I usually leave the orchid in the pot in which I received it, sometimes placing it inside a more decorative planter. The exception is if the orchid’s roots are rotting. In which case, I remove it from the pot, clip off the rotted roots and re-pot it in a clean pot.
Once a week, I take each plant to the kitchen sink and give it a shower, totally soaking the whole thing (not the flowers) with cool, not cold water. In the winter when the radiator is heating, I also place rice bowls filled with water all around the plants to increase humidity. I also water the plants a bit more if the radiators are really pumping. If a plant is not flowering, it gets a drink of Miracle Grow at its weekly watering to encourage flowers. If it’s blooming or budding, I hold off on the plant food. That’s it!
Roots gone wild! Orchid roots can be fascinating, too. This one looks like it’s trying to escape! Look at the lower left of the plant in the close-up, near the base of the plant. See the little green shoot? That will be a stalk of flowers in a few weeks. The silver shoots with green tips are new roots.