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Yogabliss

Orchids

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I was lucky enough to recently visit an orchid farm and take the tour of the green house , and what an eye opening it was, one of the many things I learned is that it take the plant 4 years before it is ready to be sent and sold at the stores where we see them and after realizing this I can't look at an orchid the same way , and after realizing that and asking some questions to our guide she explained to me that the number 1 killer of orchids is over worry , yes she explained that when we start worrying too much we start either over watering or under watering and that made a lot of sense.

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I was lucky enough to recently visit an orchid farm and take the tour of the green house , and what an eye opening it was, one of the many things I learned is that it take the plant 4 years before it is ready to be sent and sold at the stores where we see them and after realizing this I can't look at an orchid the same way , and after realizing that and asking some questions to our guide she explained to me that the number 1 killer of orchids is over worry , yes she explained that when we start worrying too much we start either over watering or under watering and that made a lot of sense.

That's so interesting! Although I feel like I kill all my plants that way! :( I can't even keep a basil plant alive because I never know how much water to give it.

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I was lucky enough to recently visit an orchid farm and take the tour of the green house , and what an eye opening it was, one of the many things I learned is that it take the plant 4 years before it is ready to be sent and sold at the stores where we see them and after realizing this I can't look at an orchid the same way , and after realizing that and asking some questions to our guide she explained to me that the number 1 killer of orchids is over worry , yes she explained that when we start worrying too much we start either over watering or under watering and that made a lot of sense.

The only thing I could ever do with an orchid was have it whither and die. I recently switched over to succulents, which are much more forgiving. They endure my abuse of going long periods of time with no water. I love seeing them all around the house, I think I have a small pot of some type of succulent in every room of the house.

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The only thing I could ever do with an orchid was have it whither and die. I recently switched over to succulents, which are much more forgiving. They endure my abuse of going long periods of time with no water. I love seeing them all around the house, I think I have a small pot of some type of succulent in every room of the house.

Yes!! So far my two succulents have lived for 3 months! I feel so proud I haven't killed them because I seriously kill everything! Haha

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Once your indoor orchids have finished losing their blossoms, cut just above the joint and tap some cinnamon to seal the wound. In 6 months new blossoms will form. 

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Once your indoor orchids have finished losing their blossoms, cut just above the joint and tap some cinnamon to seal the wound. In 6 months new blossoms will form. 

 

May be a silly question, but which joint do you mean? Thanks, Katie

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May be a silly question, but which joint do you mean? Thanks, Katie

Not silly at all Katie! Cut just above a 'nub'/'spike'/'node' near the top of tech stem. They are the ridges along the stem where new growth can start aka the little 'leafs'. Keep the orchid in less sunlight while dormant. Best of luck! 

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Orchids are so beautiful! I saw one the other day and thought i might give it a try. I had one several years ago and it lived a full 3 years before I finally did it in! Poor thing!

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Not silly at all Katie! Cut just above a 'nub'/'spike'/'node' near the top of tech stem. They are the ridges along the stem where new growth can start aka the little 'leafs'. Keep the orchid in less sunlight while dormant. Best of luck! 

So... am I screwed if I already cut the entire stem from the base?  When one died, I trimmed just the top, but I didn't seal the opening, and the entire stem eventually dried up.  So that's why when the second spike's flowers fell off, I just trimmed at the base.  The other orchid plant I did this for eventually grew a new one, but I don't know how. Does it just take faith and patience?

 

Is it OK for the roots to extend outside of the pot? They're just randomly curling around the top of the pot, and if I try to shove them back in, the roots will break.

 

Last question - once I had such a prolific orchid branch of flowers that it snapped off due to its own weight.  What kind of support or other methods could I have done to prevent that?  The funny thing is that when the orchid fell onto the floor, my rabbit got a taste of how delicious the orchids were.  So later when the same orchid bloomed for a second time, I had the orchid sitting on a window sill, close to a couch.  Well, my rabbit has such a great sense of smell that she jumped onto the couch, onto the arm of the couch that was very close to the window sill, and reached over just enough to tip over the orchid plant onto the floor. So, she had a second feast. I am just glad that orchids are completely edible and safe.

 

One last story about orchids on how tasty they are - I hope this tale will help some!  To save water, I stored water I used to wash vegetables in a container. However, it was a few weeks before I used it, so I watered the orchids inside, and oh dear, there was an awful smell.  The water had gotten moldy or something, so, I left the orchids outside in my backyard to "air out" and have the sun kill it.  I left it out overnight because I was so afraid of the smell, and then, the next day, I found half eaten orchid flowers and an almost entirely eaten orchid leaf!  Then, I peered inside one of the plants. and I saw some round, somewhat translucent pearls.  I remember seeing a lot of slugs come out at night, so I go google what slug eggs look like, and, ugh! Not only did a slug eat most of my orchid flowers, she also laid eggs as a calling card.  I then got some disposable chopsticks and picked out each one.  Luckily, there was no more smell and no more eggs, so the orchids are back happily indoors. So, please let this be a warning to never leave your orchids outside, or if you do, make sure you check for eggs. Or don't store stagnant water.

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There is no harm in keeping the plant despite being chopped off, unless you need the pot for a thriving plant. I am interested in finding out whether it will still grow? Though it will be a long wait. It was my husband's grandmother from Norway who initially told me about pruning your orchids and tapping cinnamon on the wound to seal + prevent bacteria growth. Next time we speak I will have to see if she has anything to add on. Next orchid do not trim to the base, typically trim just before the curve begins at the top. Otherwise youtube and google can be your best friend!

 

The vegetable water would of been filled of bacteria etc that you initially wanted removed form the veggies. Always discard - especially for indoor plants :) Sounds like you have had quite the relationship with orchids, and bunnies! I hope it is smooth sailing from here on out!

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I was explained at the orchid your that in nature orchids actually grow upside down , their base would be up on a tree and grow downward to the ground , that is why the vines are so skinny and we need to support them to gro up, the roots are ok to be outside of the pot since that is true nature, they are seeking oxygen and they will grow out of the pot we just need to leave them alone , another fact is that your orchid is growing in moss and after the completist ion of the blooming cycle it should be repotted and its recommended to do this annually to promote new roots.

It would have to be repotted after the blooming cycle and transferred to a grow mix that you can buy at a home store it contains the food that the orchid needs and bark to keep the moisture in

Also everyother watering should be done with a mix of water and orchid food to keep you r plant healthy

I know , there are a lot of little details to follow and orchids should definitely come with an intruction manual :)

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Thank for all of these more specific tips! I do have some orchid food but wasn't sure how often I should be using it.  I need to look up a video for repotting because that sounded like too much work for me at first.

 

After learning from your original post that it takes 4 years, how do you not let that add to the "overworry" that is probably killing the poor plant? I hope my crazy anecdotes don't suggest I've been torturing them, it's all been purely accidental!

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Hi Kupo

I know right ! That is how I felt after learning all the background information on orchids, it just helps you see them in a different way :)

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Thank you everyone on this thread for encouraging me to be patient with my orchids. I stuck with caring them for 1-2 years even without any flowers.  I wanted to give an update that orchids will still rebloom, even if you sabotage them like I did! :) 

There is no harm in keeping the plant despite being chopped off, unless you need the pot for a thriving plant. I am interested in finding out whether it will still grow? Though it will be a long wait. It was my husband's grandmother from Norway who initially told me about pruning your orchids and tapping cinnamon on the wound to seal + prevent bacteria growth. Next time we speak I will have to see if she has anything to add on. Next orchid do not trim to the base, typically trim just before the curve begins at the top. Otherwise youtube and google can be your best friend!

 

The vegetable water would of been filled of bacteria etc that you initially wanted removed form the veggies. Always discard - especially for indoor plants :) Sounds like you have had quite the relationship with orchids, and bunnies! I hope it is smooth sailing from here on out!

It took 1-2 years to regrow (based on my grand sample size of 2) a new spike. In comparison, it was 6 months to grow a new branch (side spike) when I cut from the node. My apartment faces north, so it only gets more direct sunlight during spring / summer, which is when I would usually see the new spikes or branches come out.

Luckily I took some pics with the date, so here are some data points.  

Spike = stem that grows from the bottom of the plant

Branch (my definition) = a stem that grows sideways from an existing spike out

Purple Orchid Timeline:

  • May 2013: New orchid - starts to bloom so much, the stem breaks off from too much weight.  (First picture: Holding the broken stem in my hands. I sure was sad then!  Meanwhile, my bunny was ecstatic to eat the flowers later)
  • Fall 2013: Flowers die off, I cut the ENTIRE spike #1 off. Oops.
  • Spring 2014: Brand new spike #2 grows.
  • Oct 2014: Flowers fall from new spike #2. I follow Oak's advice and cut off above the highest nub and seal with cinnamon
  • April 2015: A new branch #1 starts to grow off spike #2, right underneath the sealed cut!  (Second picture: spike #2 with cut off branch on right, old, dried out spike #1 cut off on the left)
  • June 2015: Flowers bloom off spike #2, branch #1.
  • Aug 2015: Flowers fall off, a brand new spike #3 is growing on its own!  I need to cut off branch #1 and see when branch #2 comes.

White Orchid Timeline:

  • July 2013: Receive as gift with two spikes!
  • August 2015: Almost fully bloomed brand new spike, after cutting off both original spikes. (Last picture: interesting to note that the roots are longer outside of the pot than the other orchid - but both seem to be the same type?)

Anyone still have an orchid that is still thriving? :) Hopefully, these two examples can help lessen the worry!  

Caveat: I have not repotted these even though I have gone through multiple blooming cycles, so it appears that my time duration may be longer than others.

IMG-20130528-00415.jpg

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There are a few problems trying to cultivate orchids.

Most mass commercial growers will pot the plant in peat moss. Peat will hold moisture for an incredibly long time freeing merchant (think Home Depot) from having to water it on a set schedule. Peat is an excellent short term solution (especially  if the plant will be shipped or placed for sale in a poor location for hydration), but not a good long term growing medium. Eventually it dries out. Once dried, paradoxically, it can't be rewet to its former superior  moisture holding state. Further, unlike the proper potting soils, it doesn't provide the appropriate nutrition for a growing or flowering plant.

Most people get their orchids and keep them in the plastics pots they came in. While each plant variety has different moisture needs, plastic pots hold in excessive moisture, damaging the plant in the case of over watering. Clay pots will wick excess moisture. Some (few) plants prefer plastic pots, though. I focus on cacti and succulents, never bothered with orchids, so I'm not sure...a quick internet search can vouch for the proper pot need for an orchid. As such, it's always a good idea to repot plant after you get them, removing as much of the peat from the roots...repottng them in the proper soil mix (each variety prefers a different mix of soils with other "stuff") into an appropriate pot. Finally, the repotting is traumatic for the roots and most plants will require you to wait until they heal before watering, generally a day or two. 

Plants outgrow pots and need to be repotted to allow the roots to spread. Many plants should be repotted annually to maintain appropriate soil nutrition 

of course the biggest problem is too much...too little...or the wrong type of water (rain water is much better than tap...collect it next time it rains...but don't let it sit in the summer sun...unless you love Mosquitos)

Many get orchids as gifts purchased from (how do I put it gently) inferior merchants. Home Depot is great for hammers and nails, but they don't necessarily offer hearty, healthy, well cared for or mature plants. They do offer a few thousand plants trucked in from mass growers tended by inexperienced cultivators, nurtured by fluorescent bulbs and misters. Plants with different needs sit adjacent to each other on the racks. They offer inexpensive plants, but like everything else, you get what you pay for.

Orchids are difficult to grow,  because it's nearly impossible to recreate their natural environment. They flourish naturally on the side of  Central American mountains (went to an orchid show at Rockefeller Center and talked to a grower to learn this). The mountainside is characterized by searing heat with bright sunlight during the day, followed by the cool moist misty evenings. Few can provide that in their apartments (thus the commonly passed around advice "take it in the bathroom with you when you shower).

Web forums are excellent sources of advice, but I've found that best advice come from hobby specific forums. You might find someone with some (limited) knowledge of orchids at a yoga forum, but you will probably get better (excellent) information at orchid specific forums, populated by seasoned growers, all providing top notch advice based on years of successful cultivation (after all, I guess you can go to an orchid oriented forum to ask about increasing hamstring flexibility, but you'd probably get better advice here :) )

Two final tips, search youtube for "orchid cultivation", there are tons of instructional videos. Also, if you're lucky enough to live near an orchid show, find one and attend. You'll meet enthusiasts, many of whom will share their knowledge with you.

Last point, orchids are notoriously the most difficult plant to grow...caveat emptor 

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Mother just keeps them on the windowsill in the kitchen and they seem to do fine, just have to water them once in a while. Though I guess the humidity is generally higher in the uk given how often it rains.

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There are a few problems trying to cultivate orchids.

Most mass commercial growers will pot the plant in peat moss. Peat will hold moisture for an incredibly long time freeing merchant (think Home Depot) from having to water it on a set schedule. Peat is an excellent short term solution (especially  if the plant will be shipped or placed for sale in a poor location for hydration), but not a good long term growing medium. Eventually it dries out. Once dried, paradoxically, it can't be rewet to its former superior  moisture holding state. Further, unlike the proper potting soils, it doesn't provide the appropriate nutrition for a growing or flowering plant.

Most people get their orchids and keep them in the plastics pots they came in. While each plant variety has different moisture needs, plastic pots hold in excessive moisture, damaging the plant in the case of over watering. C

Web forums are excellent sources of advice, but I've found that best advice come from hobby specific forums. You might find someone with some (limited) knowledge of orchids at a yoga forum, but you will probably get better (excellent) information at orchid specific forums, populated by seasoned growers, all providing top notch advice based on years of successful cultivation (after all, I guess you can go to an orchid oriented forum to ask about increasing hamstring flexibility, but you'd probably get better advice here :) )

 

Larry, don't downplay your own knowledge!  

To me, the purpose of these off topic forums are not to get the most expert advice but to talk about similar interests casually in an open community.   I've seen other internet forums rip newbies apart, and here at YBC, everyone is respectful and welcoming, and no one gets impatient answering commonly asked questions. I'm not a serious gardener / orchid owner, so, expert advice is intimidating because, honestly, I am not going to do all those things. Me on an orchid / gardening forum would be equivalent to someone coming on the YBC forum saying, "I want to touch my toes," but refuse to do any forward folds.  I am definitely pushing the limit, but I wanted to reinforce Yogabliss's first post - too much worry can kill the orchid.

I also realize I'd get lectured  on an "expert forum" for not repotting - you can see in my first picture I have left the orchid in the same plastic pot, and the moss has dried up.  But, Larry's post explained to me why it can be easy to overwater after the moss dries up whereas before all I heard was that I was "supposed to repot every year" and never understood why. Thanks!  I need to hold off on repotting since I have new spikes growing, but I will mitigate my watering schedule to compensate now.

 

 

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Larry, don't downplay your own knowledge!  

I've never fooled with orchids, I've only been trying to grow cacti and other succulents  for a few years now (with mixed success). Other than that, I have a beautiful natural garden of weeds around my house.

 

 I've seen other internet forums rip newbies apart, and here at YBC, everyone is respectful and welcoming, and no one gets impatient answering commonly asked questions. ...

 

I've only noticed bad behavior at 'fanboy' forums (usually high tech stuff where there's a school yard, combative mentality...with younger members..., for example iPhone versus Android, or Windows versus Apple).

On the contrary, hobby forums (gardening, exercise, model building, audio visual, etc. or anything else populated by enthusiasts, are almost always filled with super friendly and exceedingly helpful folk (the kind you get here!). I've yet, and I've been to a lot of forums, to see an enthusiast forum member flame a newbie for asking the proverbial dumb question.

Me on an orchid / gardening forum would be equivalent to someone coming on the YBC forum saying, "I want to touch my toes," but refuse to do any forward folds.  

I'll bet you that if someone did show up, they'd be given kind, gently advice and there'd be folks here holding the newbie's hand helping them to the next step forward. 

When folks show up to learn, it can be intimidating, but in the end they'll learn

 

Back on topic. if repotting with the choice of pots and the mix of soil is intimidating, I'm sure any local nursery can have someone do it for. you. If it were me, I'd visit a local center and have them repot it and provide watering tips. Why not set a yearly reminder to bring them in for repotting?

 

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This all so interesting! I have an orchid and it has just now lost it's last blossom. I was afraid to do anything to it until I found out how NOT to  kill it! Thanks everyone. I'll try some of these ideas and see how it goes.

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I really had no idea how to take proper care of an orchid, I was gifted a little potted orchid and last year after it dropped its blossoms and the stem started drying out and looking quite dead, I cut it off from the very base of the stem (without proper knowledge of where to cut it off) because the leaves were still so alive, green, and beautiful I didn't want to just throw it away. I put it on a shelf in my bathroom (of all places haha) without expecting it to ever be more than just pretty leaves, and some time later I was shocked to see that a new stem was growing and even more shocked when eventually it bloomed again! It was one of the most rewarding things knowing that I didn't just give up on the plant because it lost its flowers (arguably the most desired part of a flowering plant) and it came back to life for me. After those dropped and the stem seemed lost again I cut it and now I'm hoping that maybe it'll happen again. I definitely should re-pot it and do more research about how to take care of it, but I was surprised it liked my bathroom so much! :P

Also, it seems there is some kind of a green root that has grown out of the pot and kind of sticks out from below the leaves. It's still green after being like that for quite some time. I'm not sure what to do about this growth, any ideas? (Especially for when I put it in a different pot, should I cover it with dirt or keep it out?)

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