Do's and Don'ts!
Did you ever notice a warning label on the side of a container? Most times, those warnings are the results of people doing things that were never intended with a particular product, and probably ended up either injured (or maybe even worse!) or damage to property! So, I thought I would give you a few really good things that you should do, and also, some things that either I have done, or have heard from someone that has tried this and....well, shall we say, didn't have the results they intended!
If you have some items you would like to add, send them along and we will see if we can add them. If you would like, I will be happy to tell EVERYONE that you tried this and it did/did not work! Just send them to me HERE.
Whenever you are dividing, trimming, or in any way cutting on an orchid, ALWAYS sterilize your cutting instrument before you make your cut. Also, remember to sterilize the instrument before cutting any other orchid.
Orchids can have plant viruses. These viruses can be spread from plant to plant in the plant fluids that come in contact with the cutting tool. By sterilizing the cutting tool with a flame or other approved method, you will minimize the chance of spreading a plant virus.
Try your hand at orchids! People tend to think that they are difficult to grow. Most orchids that you can pick up at the local grocery store or home improvement store are easy to grow and bloom in the average house. The secret is to make sure the planting medium is correct for the orchid. I have picked up many orchids on the discard rack for a buck or two that only needed to have the planting medium changed. Within a couple of weeks, the plants were again vigorous and sporting new bloom spikes.
Do buy orchids from ME! Well, this IS my website. Surely, you can understand my desire to have you buy from me!
Orchids like to have a planting medium that is well drained. In our region of the country, we use either bark or cypress mulch, sponge rock or shipping PNuts, sometimes small stones, sometimes charcoal, depending on the type of plant. The shipping PNuts can be a problem with size, so they need to be broken up into smaller pieces. I have a friend (honestly, this DID NOT happen to me) who decided to use a leaf shredder to break up the PNuts. Well, to make a long story short, the Styrofoam PNuts have this characteristic of becoming highly charged with static electricity when they are rubbed together. When the PNuts are dropped into the feed hopper and proceed through the chopping mechanism, they tend to demonstrate this characteristic. Steve said that they covered his greenhouse like a snow storm, sticking to the plastic covering on the green house. For years, he said he found the residue from this experiment. Oops! Did I say Steve? Well to be honest, I had the idea to try this and said something to Steve about it. That is when he told me this story!
There are usually two ways to kill an orchid. Over watering and Under watering. Most orchids like to have high humidity but dry feet (roots). People tend to over water the orchids more often than not supplying enough water. The potting medium should be well drained, in other words, the water should run through the mixture quickly. A healthy orchid will show white roots. These roots are covered with a velvet like coating that will turn green when watered. This is when the orchid takes in the necessary moisture. If the roots are allowed to sit in a wet medium, they will go from white to green, then from green to black. When they are black, they are dead. I like to use a mixture of cypress mulch and sponge rock for my orchids. It allows the water to drain quickly from the orchid pot, but lets it stay long enough to thoroughly wet the roots. Then the roots can dry and continue to grow. Unless the temperature is high, I generally water the orchids every few days, but keep the humidity around 70 to 80% in the greenhouse for the orchids.
The other thing you should watch for is direct sunlight. Orchids, especially those with large, thick leaves, can sunburn in a matter of only a few minutes is left in direct sunlight. The shade of a large tree is about perfect for the majority of orchids grown by most people. Now, there are some orchids that love direct sunlight, and others that require a much deeper shade. But, those are best left for the professional grower, or by the adventurous novice!