Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Orchids Are Back Outside

As a novice orchid grower I nearly killed my Phalaenopsis orchid last winter.  The poor thing was brought indoors to keep warm but was left to languish in the back bedroom.  It was out of sight and out of mind.  Without regular watering and subjected to the drying heat, it lost nearly all its leaves.  There were no blooms last year. 

The leaves are still pretty sparse and have damaged areas but there are blooms this year.  I'm hoping it will gradually make a comeback and grow more leaves as I take better care of it.

Even though I should have my orchid buying privileges revoked, I purchased two Paphiopedilum orchids this past fall.  One put up a bloom spike and has rewarded me with a blossom.  There are two more buds up there yet to open.  I really like the mottled leaves of these orchids.  These two are native to Viet Nam and like to stay moist but not soggy. 

Somehow a Dendrobium found my shopping cart as I circled the 'rescue rack' at Lowes.  It has done well and has rewarded me with blooms.  In reading about my various orchids I have noted that they are each a bit different as to water and light requirements. 

A dancing ladies Oncidium  is just now putting up a bloom spike.  Having to bring the orchids inside during cold spells seems like a small inconvienence now that these blooms are making an appearance.

With the orchids back outside hanging on the backporch, conditions should be more to their liking.  It's also easier for me to remember to water them when they are more visible.  Their blooms come through at a time when color and life are much desired from the garden.


  1. Knowing nothing about Orchids I say these look pretty darn good to me.

  2. Ha! I did have my orchid buying license revoked! My twenty or so plants were attacked by spider mites last spring and summer. I let it go too long because I blamed the damage on having to bring them in during the super-long cold stretch last winter. By the time I noticed the webbing, the damage was far gone. In the end, I lost two or three plants, and a few are still slowly reviving. Some have bounced back just fine and are finally sending up bloom spikes. Anyway, hubby did tell me "no more orchids." He had no faith that they would make it, but we are proving him wrong! I did buy an oncidium right before Christmas from a roadside stand. Had to hide it from hubby. ; )

    Your orchids are beautiful! I have that purple dendrobium 'Holly Wood.' It hasn't bloomed since 2009 though. Love your lady's slippers.

  3. NanaK: Orchids could be very additive :) I have been adding more and more orchids, and some even ordered from the internet. I love it can flower for a very long time, and after all, as long as it is in right outdoor environment, they don't require too much of care. Your lady's slipper is very beautiful, that is one kind I don't have :)

  4. Since my Dad taught to relax with the orchids,and just let them do their thing,They have rewarded me.And I am madly in love with them.Your's look stunning!

  5. Orchids are so much more resilient than people give them credit for! Mine didn't like being inside for so long but they're already getting ready to push out new roots! must be the humidity and rain.

  6. Hey, Nana: I agree with Steve, orchids are much more resilient than is generally recognized. In last year's Big Freeze, I had phals growing on trees that did pretty well (but I don't think it actually got to freezing in my garden), and I talked to an orchid grower who did get a freeze and he said his orchids growing on trees did pretty well, too. Also, once an orchid has attached itself to a trunk, it takes care of itself except if you feed it, it flowers better.

  7. Kay,
    Your orchids are a cheery view in February. I think you are just getting going good on this love of orchids and your license should be expanded to see what else you can add and have fun with. :-) Me? I have one lone orchid and it stays outside under the oaks. It didn't get any damage this winter. What I say I'm going to do every year is put some in the trees. I have a vision for it but haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe this spring????

  8. I've found that orchids are actually very hardy. Yours are so pretty and happy they're blooming for you! Like you said - it makes it all worth while! I'm still waiting for growth from my dendrobium cuttings. It was my first attempt so who knows?!?! I think I killed two phals this winter...left them leaves at all on them. Hmmm...again, we'll see. I'm excited to see your dancing lady blooms!

  9. Darla - Thanks. Your seed sowing is rubbing off on me. I just started some parsly, basil, fennel, oregano seeds. Also some gallardia, alyssum, tithonia seeds. I just love seeing the little sprouts.

    Floridagirl - Thanks for the name of the dendrobium. It came nameless. Spider mites, oh my. I sure hope all of yours will come back. What do you do about spider mites?

    Ami - Your orchids are always so inspiring to see. I agree that the long bloom time is one thing that makes orchids so wonderful.

    ChrisC - Well, after seeing your dad's orchid, I would definitely take his advice. That man knows how to grow 'em. I don't know if I can be relaxed exactly, but I've been known to be lazy.

    RFG - I'm happily finding out that orchids ARE much more resilient than I ever thought. Makes me love 'em even more.

    Terra Mirabilis - I would love to have my orchids in my trees. I'm planning some tree plantings of bromeliads and orchids in my head. Maybe someday it'll happen in the garden.
    I bet your phals look very exotic in your trees.

    Meems - I have the same vision. Orchids and broms in the oak branches. I have a tillandsia a bird must have planted high up in an oak. I would like to bring it down where it can be seen better and add some other epiphytes. That would just be so Florida garden.

    Kimberly - I hope your phals are going to be OK. Cuttings? That sounds interesting. Be sure to show us when they 'take.' I can't wait to see those dancing lady blooms either.

  10. Hi Kay...It looks like your orchid has forgiven you...and rewarded you with lots of pretty flowers. Mine are still inside this week, and they are not happy with me at all! Congrats on your beautiful blooms.

  11. Oh, my! I think my orchid buying privileges were revoked years ago! I've had the same problem, if they are out of sight... they'll be sorely neglected. Orchids are amazing though. They won't bloom after being neglected, but they'll continue on living, and I've managed to bring some back to bloom after being on the brink of death...

    I love that you also shop the rejects cart at Lowes. That reminds me that I need to go there and check out what they've got, since I haven't done that in a few weeks.

    I love orchids, and I'm thinking of a plan. I should have an orchid in a spot where I know I'll always spend a few minutes every day (with a dedicated spray bottle). I think next to my computer might be best... ;)



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