Answer to: Orchid Question…

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I’ve just had a question from Denise on Facebook: phally-orchid

“… two years ago I bought a Phalaenopsis orchid and it was flowering, but it has never flowered since! What do I have to do to get it to flower again?….”

Phalaenopsis orchids are gorgeous when they are in flower…..but so many people can’t get them to flower again….or worse KILL them!

Sound familiar?

TOP TIPS for keeping them alive (AND flowering!)

1. Temperature – Phalaenopsis orchirds like a warm climate, so keep them indoors.

2. Light – They don’t like direct sunlight, more filtered or dappled light. I have 4 of them in pots on the north facing window sill of my kitchen…..but there is a verandah that shades the window so the orchids don’t get direct sunlight. A SOUTH or EAST facing window sill would also work well.

Killed your phalaenopsis???

3. Feed them!! Have you seen the boring potting mix they are growing in?? It doesn’t hold much nutrients, so food is very important ESPECIALLY if you want flowers.

There are basically 2 types of orchid foods out there – a powder or liquid that needs to be dissolved/diluted before application and solid pellets that can simply be sprinkled on the surface of the pot.

I like the solid pellets – Strike Back for Orchids – as there is no messy mixing required and you only need to apply 3-4 pellets each month from now until summer.

4. Watering – they like to be kept moist, but HATE wet feet, so make sure they aren’t sitting in a pool of water. Once a week watering should be plenty.

Plastic pot INSIDE a decorative pot

5. Pots – keep them in their plastic pot, but feel free to have this sitting inside something more decorative. They like to be a bit pot bound, so don’t panic about any roots that try and escape the pot. In the wild they often grow in between branches of trees in tropical rainforests, so their roots have a tendency to wander!

6. Flowering – they flower from autumn through to spring – if you are lucky (and nice to them!) you might get 2 rounds of flowers from the one plant. Once a flower stem (or spike as they are called) finishes flowering – cut it back to the first or second node (raised bump on the stem), a second flowering spike will often grow from here.

I hope these tips help Denise!!

 

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About the author

In 2003 I completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at The University of Melbourne. And I am experienced at gardening in all conditions, having lived – and gardened – on a small farm, in tiny apartments, in crowded share houses and on your average suburban house block. I now work full time in the horticulture industry and I’m a presenter on The Garden Gurus, channel 9. I would like to show, particularly the younger generations, that sustainable gardening, and growing at least some of the food you eat – is possible no matter where you live!

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