Thursday, March 10, 2011

Here Comes the Fun

Tah Da! Re-Blooming Orchid
Do people listen to you when you give them advice?

Perhaps that's jumping the gun. Do you even bother to give people advice?

Happy bunch of Orchid buds.
In my 30's, I was the go-to gal when friends needed help. Perhaps there's a psychotherapist inside of me. (Psycho being the key word.) Because I enjoyed dishing out all sorts of advice.

Right up until the day I noticed how no one ever followed through on the great ideas we cooked up during those now what should I do? discussions.

Orchid flowers open slowly. I've been enjoying her progress all week.
Having learned the hard lessons that people don't change. And, that shelling out advice to them = exasperation for me, nowadays I simply shrug my shoulders, take supreme advantage of my blonde locks, and say, "I dunno." 

Except when it comes to Butterfly Orchids.*

Do you grow them? While traveling, I was heartened to discover that Italians, just like Americans, have Orchids coming out their ears. Seems everyone has developed a soft spot for these beauties.

At last! My Polkie Dot gal is back in action. :)

Orchid care is essentially the same, wherever I go, and polar opposite of how I do it. Hence, this post. Because no matter how hard I try to keep from meddling in people's orchid affairs I just can't stop myself! I think Moth Orchids need sunshine.

While in Italy, I encouraged my friend to move her sad sack Orchid from the dim top of the refrigerator to the warmth of a sunny window. [I felt so sorry for it, suffering up there.]

The flowers promptly fell off and her hubs accused her of killing it. But, here's the deal. Those flowers were ready to say bye-bye.

And, in just a matter of days, the skinny stems had started the exciting process of gifting her with a brand new set of blossoms.

Only they couldn't see that. They thought it was dead and were planning to toss it.

Orchid buds start out so tiny. Little bumps along the stem. In the beginning... you really need a nut bag like me just to locate them. But if you show a little patience and give them what they need. Ahem. Sunshine. This beauty can go from dead to dazzling in about 2 months.

So? Am I off my rocker? Wouldn't be the first time. How do you care for your Orchids? Inquiring minds want to know.

* Carol of Flower Hill Farm coined the nickname Butterfly Orchids for her Phaleanopsis Moth Orchids ~ a much nicer name for such a pretty flower so I decided to follow her lead.

Tip: 
Moth Orchids: Try soaking the entire pot (immerse the roots) once a week, for 30 minutes, in a bucket of water. Allow pots to drain in the sink before placing back on the window sill. Roots will slowly dry out over the course of the week and that's a good thing. When I water mine, I include approx. 1 teaspoon basic fertilizer, dissolved in a gallon of water. Other orchid varieties require different care and more frequent watering.

29 comments:

In The Orchid House With Amy said...

Beautiful orchid I love the color!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

I kill them, sad but true. I have only tried one though and should try another since I am a stubborn gardener. I did not think they liked sun either. That is great information Kate and if I get another orchid I will remember it. LOL!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Amy
Well, you didn't say I was wrong. But, you didn't say I was right. And, I know you know tons about orchids. So, plz spill. I can take it. [Maybe.]

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Lona;
They certainly brighten my day. Try your luck with a cheapy? All of mine were marked down bargains at the local supermarket.

Alison said...

I just bought two butterfly orchids about a month ago. So far I haven't killed them. I have them sitting on a bed of wet rocks in a sunny window. Even so, I still have no idea what I'm doing with them, so if you have any more advice, let it rip!

I know what you mean about offering advice that no one bothers to take or follow through on. I don't bother any more.

Titanium said...

Awright, that first one made me gasp out loud! These are *gorgeous*, Kate.

Tufa Girl said...

I would love to try orchids now that I have sunlight and bright areas too. Does your technique apply to all types? Sometimes I see the cheaply priced dying ones at the big box stores and wonder if I should try to revive them.

One said...

Kate, Your orchids are gorgeous. I would take your advice on orchids anytime.

I've been to a counselling course and learnt not to give advice. We are supposed to lead the other party to come up with the solution. Something like sowing a seed in them and they thought they grew it. :)

A Garden of Threads said...

I have my orchids in a southeast window, behind white sheer curtains. Of the four, three are doing well.

jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Hi Kate, Based on your opening photo I think that it is fair to say that you know what you are talking about when you advocate sunshine for moth orchids.

Grace Peterson said...

I don't grow orchids but enjoyed your post anyway. I think advice is great if it's asked for. Most people just want someone to listen, I think.

jan said...

I just got back from a visit to the Philadelphia Flower show and it was an orchid extravaganza! I think orchids are becoming a 'standard' for a lot of folks! I didn't buy any, but the girls with me did. They are really smitten with them!

William said...

I have tried to grow butterfly orchids in my garden but without any luck. I love these flowers and Iwill definitely give it another try.

Cecily said...

Orchids are my favourite flowers. I really love them. Fortunately, I don't have any green fingers:(

Snowcatcher said...

You've almost completely given me the courage to try... And I absolutely adore that photo of the orchid against the snowy mountainscape. What a great contrast!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Kate girl , one day when I have a window that the "girls" don't bother with .. I am going to try these orchids again .. I killed two a couple of years ago and the guilt was terrible .. house plants in general unless they are "Snake" plants .. well .. they usually disappear .. so I consider them like bought flowers .. it is easier on my conscience that way ?
I'll keep your advice in mind though girl : )
Joy
PS .. I have to stop ordering plants now............ eeeeeekkkkk!!

Gail said...

They are all attractive flowers~but, with a plant destroying cat and a gardener who forgets to care for indoor plants; they haven't a chance to survive! So I'll enjoy yours! gail

debsgarden said...

I have never grown orchids, but yours are gorgeous! You obviously know what you are doing. Regarding advice, I have learned to keep my mouth shut, most of the time, unless someone asks. It is true you can't make another person change attitudes or habits!

Marguerite said...

I love orchids, so beautiful. But I can be awfully ditzy when it comes to caring for house plants. Having killed a moth orchid that was gifted to me some 5 years I'm terrified of spending the money on one now. I do like your idea of buying a grocery store mark down though. Perhaps I'll give it another whirl yet.

Janie said...

I love the last photo. I've never grown orchids, but if I ever did, I'd listen to your advice!

Ramona said...

Beautiful orchid, Kate. I will keep your orchid care tips in mind if I purchase a Moth orchid. I guess you've arrived home safely from your Italy trip?

zombieballerina said...

To all commenters.

I can testify that Kate's advice works. They really like the spaced out soakings and bright indirect light. My moth Orchid sent out a flower stalk recently and the buds are getting HUGE! I can't wait for them to pop and have pretty butterfly flowers too :)

Rose said...

I've never tried growing orchids--afraid I'd kill them--so I'll just admire your beauties, especially against the backdrop of the snowy mountains--gorgeous! Your advice makes perfect sense, to me, though, Kate.

sweetbay said...

Ha ha, very funny and true post. :) Orchids are way beyond my indoor plant growing capability, so I will just enjoy yours. Although I do respect your advice!

Gloria, Dakota Garden said...

Kate, I just love scrolling through your blog! Such beautiful pictures and witty words. We went out to California on March 1st. We drove by to Heber City and I thought of you! Snow everywhere. We returned the day after the big snow.

Carol said...

Dear Kate, Lovely photos of your beautiful orchids and especially love the one with the background of your mountainous view! Even with the snow. Giving advice can me daunting at times . . . hard when someone asks for it . . . sounds like encouraging your Italian friend to move her orchid into sunlight was a good idea. What kind of a life can it have on top of a refrigerator? I find that orchids do not need so much direct sunlight but love lots of light even indirect light. I must confess that I did not coin the word 'butterfly orchid' but you are so kind to give me the credit! Thank you for linking to me dear Kate!

Wanda said...

Those flowers look absolutely amazing! You do have green fingers!

Bonnie said...

Marguerite from Canoe Corner sent me to your blog because I posted that I just bought my first orchid and was asking for tips. The directions that came with mine said to give it 3 ice cubes once a week and keep it in bright light but not direct sunlight. I will do my best not to kill it!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Bonnie;
In my house, I've found they'll flower longer with indirect bright light, they'll bud faster with sunlight.

As far as the ice cubes... I'll be interested in hearing how this method works for you. I've heard of this before and wasn't all that motivated to try it. Ice cold can be a shock to roots. Keeping them moist (IMHO) seems to encourage weaker roots. But I'm open to any new ideas to keep these beauties blooming!

So, please keep me posted. I'd love to hear what you think of this method. And, thanks for paying me a visit! :))