Hands up if you've killed an Orchid plant (a guide on how not to)
August 8, 2017
Orchid plants. Most people will have had one or two phalaenopsis over the years, probably as a gift, probably from M&S (eye roll) and if you have, you've probably shoved it on a window sil, admired the flowers and then completely forgotten to water the thing until one day you've got a pot with two sticks. Sound familiar?
If this is you then read on to get my 6 tips on keeping your orchid alive and kicking.
1. The old classic - brightly lit but not in direct sunlight... orchids like light but not full sun so place near a window if suitable and not in the sun but a windowless bathroom is no life for any living plant. Ever.
2. H20...There are lots of conflicting tips out there but I water my orchids by taking the plastic pot out of the decorative one and putting it under the cold tap in the sink for a good 30seconds to drench it all over. Then leave it to drain for a few minutes and pop it back. The reason I do this is because in their native countries, phalaenopsis orchids often grow on other trees so their roots get soaked with rain and dry off naturally. They never sit in water 'in the wild' and they hate it when they do. I water my orchid about once every 2-3 weeks.
3. Draft exclude... Keep your orchid away from drafts, so not right by an open window/vent or door and once you've found a good spot leave it be, these picky plants don't like being moved around either. Oh and also don't put it next to a blazing fire or radiator cuz that's clearly just murder.
4. Move on... cut off dead leaves and flowers. A half dead flower head or leaf doesn't look great and the plant will waste energy trying to keep it alive. Cut it off and the plant can spend its working hours making new buds and leaves. N.b. the leaves will take a lot longer than the buds to return, so never leave it totally leafless... photosynthesis and all that.
5. Keep Clear...If like me you like the root-exposed-look always place the clear plastic pot the orchid comes in into another clear-ish container. Pretty glass vases or translucent pots look lovely. They come in clear pots because the roots benefit from light so this is an extra health boost for your plant, although not 100% essential.
6. And finally... if your orchid really looks dead, as in no flowers or new shoots and a couple of decrepit leathery leaves and support sticks then believe it or not, if you have it in the right place and you continue watering it as normal it will come back to life! This is a patience call really, because this can take 4 months or so but if you can be bothered your little phalaenopsis will phoenix its way back from the dead again and again.
Above is an orchid I have been watering for about 2 months now and you can see the new leaves coming in, oh and excuse the dust!
Hope you found this useful, let me know any tips you have of your own.