Hot Tips: Orchids

Years ago, when we lived in California, friends gave us a gift of an exquisite  orchid plant, which was bred by a highly regarded specialty nursery and  arrived with a written pedigree as long as your arm.  In no time Her Orchidness checked out her new surroundings, concluded rightly that she had been adopted by peasants, and promptly committed suicide.  We were devastated and vowed  that  hereafter orchids were persona non grata.   And we  kept that vow for over forty years. 

So consider my husband’s surprise recently when, at the supermarket, an orchid waved its lovely flowering stem at him as it rolled merrily by in my cart.  I confess:  The devil made me do it.

The seductress in question is a moth orchid (Phalaenopsis), a variety now widely available, even in supermarkets, and enormously popular because it is free-flowering  and easy to grow.  Mine  flourishes with benign neglect.  And the colors.  Ah, the colors.  Magenta, buttery yellow, chocolate, white,  lime green, and bicolors with blotches and freckles and every which thing.  Who could resist?  Clearly, not I.

And now for the great  tip I read about in a British garden magazine.  For increased flowering, when the blooms fade don’t cut the entire stem; rather, cut the stem just below the lowest flower, about an inch above the next node down.  The plant should then rebloom in a month or two.  Let me know if this works for you.


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