Orchid Flowers and Bud Blast

Orchid, Orchids, Bud BlastOrchids are sensitive to any sudden changes in their environment – and they’re particularly sensitive to rapid changes in temperature.

One of the most common reasons why a newly purchased orchid will suddenly lose its flowers is because the plant goes through “shock” when it is suddenly introduced to a new environment – namely your home.  Healthy orchid plants with buds that shrivel and fall off the stem before they have a chance to open suffer what’s called “bud blast.”

The photo to the left is of a phalaenopsis orchid suffering bud blast.

You can prevent bud blast and flower blast by closely monitoring your orchids temperature changes (see my special post, Orchid Care and Maintenance Tips : Temperatures for Orchids for more info.)  Protect orchids from sudden cool and heat temperatures changes like strong air conditioning/heating or drafts from windows/doors.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

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Growing Orchids Indoors for Beginners : Bringing Your New Orchid Home

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post (Growing Orchids : Selecting a Healthy Orchid, read it here), today I’ll be sharing a tip I learned from Ryan’s Orchid Care email tips that saved my entire orchid collection from death!

I don’t want to keep you in suspense too long–especially since I know it will help save your orchids too!

Now, this orchid care tip is incredibly simple, but I can’t emphasize how important it is to follow.

Growing Orchids, orchid care, growing orchids for beginners, growing orchids indoors, orchid care and maintenanceALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS quarantine your new orchids from your existing plants for at least 3 weeks.  I don’t care if you bought it from the most reputable orchid dealer in the world!  NEVER place a new orchid near your other indoor/outdoor orchid plants.  Separating your plants for at least 3 weeks will help you inspect them for any signs of orchid pests or diseases that might not have been visible when the plant first arrived in your home.  Remember to pay close attention to the underside of the leaves, 3 weeks is just enough time to see if any insect eggs have hatched.

If you’ve ever dealt with orchid diseases and orchid pests you will realize how frustrating and difficult it can sometimes be to have to care for orchids that are “sick”.  Keep your orchids healthy by providing them the ideal care environments : temperature, humidity, light, water, etc.  AND REMEMBER, always quarantine your new orchids!

For more detailed information, I recommend you read Chapter 2 in Ryan’s book Orchids Made Easy.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

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Growing Orchids Indoors for Beginners : Selecting a Healthy Orchid

I ran into a good friend over the weekend.  We got to talking about growing orchids (of course!) and how popular they’ve become in recent years.  Here in Florida, you can find orchids at the supermarket, Walmart, even the Home Depot!

It is extremely important to note that while the employees may mean well, most don’t know how to look after orchids properly.  They care for orchids the same way they care for all of the other plants or flowers in the store–and as we all know, orchids require a special kind of care!

It is easy for orchid problems, diseases and pests to spread when orchids are not happy in their environment.   So, how do you go about selecting a healthy orchid from the bunch?  Here’s what I would recommend.

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Growing Orchids Indoors for Beginners : Selecting a Healthy Orchid :

1. Orchid Flowers : Examine the flowers for any sign of wilting.  Damaged flowers could mean there are bigger problems (like damaged root systems) lurking.  I personally buy orchid plants with healthy buds (if possible).  I know the plant has not experienced any bud blast and I can watch my new orchid baby bloom (which I love!). :-)

2. Orchid Leaves : Avoid plants with damaged leaves–leaves should be stiff and deep green–not yellowing, soft, wrinkled or spotted.

3.  Orchid Roots : Healthy roots = a healthy orchid  plant.  Avoid plants with black, squishy roots.  These orchids have been overwatered and will require immediate attention and special care.

4. Orchid Plants : Examine the overall plant (leaves, stem, flowers, roots) and even quickly inspect the plants nearby for orchid pests and diseases.  Look for unsual spotting on leaves and flowers caused by fungus, bugs lurking underneath leaves, or other signs of disease.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s post Growing Orchids Indoors for Beginners : Bringing Your Orchid Home — I’ll be sharing a tip I learned from Ryan’s Orchid Care email tips that saved my entire orchid collection from death!  See Chapter 2 in his book Orchids Made Easy, for detailed information.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

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Orchid Care and Maintenance Tips : Keiki Orchid Propagation

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

Today’s orchid care and maintenance tip post is about keiki orchid propagation.  You might remember seeing the word keiki in my post about orchid anatomy diagrams and terms.  Did you miss it?  Not to worry, you can check out that post here:-)   (The photo above is of a phalaenopsis keiki that has grown so large, it has fully bloomed while still attached to the mother plant.  Amazing isn’t it?!)

I’ve propagated a few keikis from my phalaenopsis orchids over the years—each one has gone on to flourish into a full-size plant using the orchid propagation method below. Phalaenopsis grown this way should reach flowering size 18 months to 2 years after they first appeared.

(Proceed only if the roots of the keiki are longer than at least 2 inches.)

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Phalaenopsis Orchid, Orchid Propogation

Carefully remove the small plant from the flower spike by cutting the stem 1 to 2 inches either side of the plant, this will ensure that you don’t damage the roots of the keiki.

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

Assemble the potting ‘kit’ which comprises of a pot large enough for 12 months of growth, a medium grade potting mix, a label with the variety and of course the keiki – see photo.

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Carefully pot the keiki in the pot—keeping the roots in tact below the orchid potting mix.

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

Protect the keiki from direct sunlight and water and fertilize regularly.

Here’s the keiki on June 30th – it has produced a new leave and roots

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

The same keiki on October 15 – it has another new leaf and a flower spike emerging from the base!

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

The keiki in full bloom on April 24

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

Want to learn more tricks of the trade?  Sign up for Ryan’s Free Orchid Care Email Tips–he shares his best secrets with his readers.  You’ll learn about all the secret orchid care techniques expert growers use to super-charge their plants!  Sign up for his tips HERE.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

+ Courtesy of angel orchids

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Cymbidium Orchid Care Instructions

Follow these simple cymbidium orchid care instructions to keep your cymbidium babies happy, healthy and blooming!

Cymbidium Orchid Care, Orchid Care, Cymbidium Orchids

Cymbidium orchids are prized for their long-lasting sprays of flowers, used especially as cut flowers or for corsages in the spring.

Cymbidium Orchid Care, Cymbidium Orchids, Orchid Care, Orchids

Light is important for growing cymbidiums. They need high light but cool temperatures. Leaves should be a medium to golden green in color, not dark green.

Temperatures are another critical factor in flowering cymbidiums. Cymbidiums requre day temperatures of 75 to 85 F (or more) and night temperatures between 50 to 60 F. (Day and nighttime temperatures can be 5 degrees lower during the winter.)

Water to provide a constant supply of moisture to cymbidiums. Water heavily during the growth season (spring and summer), keeping the potting material evenly moist. Reduce water when the pseudobulbs complete growing in late summer. (The pseudobulb is a storage organ derived from the part of a stem between two leaf nodes.)

Humidity should be kept at 40 to 60 percent. Keep air circulating to prevent orchid pests and diseases.

Fertilizer should be applied during the growth season (spring through late summer), high nitrogen fertilizer (such as 30-10-10) is used. In late summer, use a high-phosphorus, blossom-booster fertilizer (such as 10- 30-20), to help form bloom spikes.

Potting is usually done in the spring after flowering, usually every two years or when the potting medium decomposes. See pages 55-61 in Orchids Made Easy for clear step by step instructions and illustrations to show you how to repot an orchid.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

These cymbidium orchid care instructions are taken from my AOS guides and from a series of Orchid Care Cheat Sheets I received for free from Ryan.  They’ve come in so handy when I just want a quick refresher on orchid care!

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Orchid Problems : Overwatering Your Orchid

One of the most common orchid care problems beginner orchid growers typically face is overwatering.

Here’s a question I received via email from Bev :

I have a Phalaenopsis Orchid. I think I have over watered it and now all the blooms have fallen off except one.  It’s in a plastic pot with moss and it is damp. What should I do?  Look forward to hearing from you.  Regards, Bev L.

Here’s a photograph of an overwatered phalaenopsis :

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Orchids can become sick and even be killed when overwatered. Therefore, it is extremely important to determine whether improper watering is damaging your orchid. Don’t know if you are watering your orchid plant correctly? Check out my special Orchid Care and Maintenance post to learn how to water your orchid.

Diagnose

What are the signs of  an overwatered orchid?

Pleated, soft, yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering. Your orchid may also suffer bud blast (all of the buds fall off before they open). When examined out of the pot, orchid roots may be soggy, mushy and black.

Troubleshooting

What should I do if my orchid has been overwatered?

If the damage on the roots in limited, you can simply repot your orchid in a clay pot and fresh orchid potting mix (bark based if possible) and adjust the frequency of your watering schedule—making sure to water only in the mornings. Don’t forget to adjust temperature and humidity levels if necessary.

On the other hand, if the damage of the roots is severe, you will need to remove the diseased portions of the roots with a sterilized blade and carefully repot the plant in a clay pot and bark potting mix (otherwise you rise losing your orchid.) I recommend you refer to Ryan’s “My orchid has been over/underwatered. Now what do I do?” section in his book Orchids Made Easy, for detailed information.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

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Carol’s Orchid Care and Maintenance Tips : Humidity for Orchids

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Today’s orchid care and maintenance tips will help you provide an “orchid-friendly” humidity level in your home.

Most orchids thrive only when maintained in HIGH humidity conditions – think 50% relative humidity or higher (rainforest levels)!  Unfortunately, most homes typically have a relative humidity level in the neighborhood of 10-20%.  This will not keep your indoor orchids happy for very long. :(

Giving your orchids the humidity conditions they enjoy can be done fairly easily (and inexpensively).  Here’s how to care for orchids:

OPTION #1: Humidifier (Most expensive option)

Your first option is to use a household humidifier, and run it in the room where you keep your orchids.

In case you’re curious, here’s the orchid humidifier I use specifically for my indoor orchids – pretty cheap, super-easy to clean, and so far I have no complaints:

Orchid Care, Humidity for Orchids, Orchids, Orchid, AU-400 NewAir Humidifier

OPTION #2: Misting (Time consuming option)

You can also produce a similar effect by lightly misting them several times a day. Just be sure not to mist your plants late in the day—leaving them wet at night or in cooler temperatures makes them susceptible to disease. (Read about how I mist my orchids in this earlier post about watering your orchids.)

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OPTION #3: Humidity Tray (The perfect balance!)

One of the best, low-cost ways to raise the humidity level of your orchid’s environment is to grow your plants over what’s called a “humidity tray”.  Remember, you never want to let your orchids sit in standing water.

A humidity tray is something you can either make yourself, or purchase from an orchid specialty supplier relatively cheaply. One of the main benefits of using a humidity tray is that you can increase the humidity directly around your orchid – while keeping the rest of your home at normal levels :-)

And if you’re curious – what the heck does a humidity tray look like exactly?  Here’s a good example of one (with a good explanation on how it works):  Humidity Tray for Orchids

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You can even DIY a humidity tray for your orchids using a shallow container and clean pebbles.

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchids Care, Humidity Tray, Pebble Tray

Those are just a few of my humidity orchid care and maintenance tips.

Of course, everything you need to know to achieve the perfect orchid humidity level is covered in Ryan’s Orchids Made Easy book. (Including a few VERY important things you need to watch out for when using a humidity tray — and one thing even experienced growers often overlook.)  Sign up for his Free Orchid Care newsletter HERE.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

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Growing Orchids : Anatomy & Terms

I’ve given several copies of Ryan’s Orchids Made Easy book to friends as gifts over the years.  They’ve thanked me time and time again for giving them an easy-to-follow orchid care book written by a truly wonderful expert orchid care grower.  Ryan’s book and Free Orchid Care Tips (sign up now) have shown Vic that “even after 50 years of orchid growing, there is still lots to learn about orchids!”

Personally, I love how systematic and clear the book is–it is well laid out, jam-packed with information and well illustrated.  It’s my treasure trove of information and I refer to it often!

But, it doesn’t stop there.  I even had a color page from his Ebook professionally printed and hung near my work sink as art.  I tried taking a picture of it this morning, but there was too much glare from outside (I’ll have to add it later for you)!  Since, I can’t share the page with you now, I did the next best thing and found a similar image online.

Here are a few diagrams and terms every person growing orchids should understand.

Please note : These images are of a Phalaenopsis Orchid and while your orchid may be a different variety, you can still use these diagrams to learn about the anatomy of your specific plant.

Orchid Diagrams:

Phalaenopsis Orchid, Orchid Care, Orchids

(click on images to enlarge)

Phalaenopsis Orchid, Orchid Care, OrchidsOrchid Care, Orchid Flower

Orchid Terms:

  • Bloom – the actual flowers once they are open.
  • Bud – the flower before it is opened.
  • Column – the tiny, rounded, column-like extension between the two largest petals. This little guy is the central reproductive organ of the orchid flower.
  • Inflorescence – the flowering part of a plant.
  • Keiki – a small plant growing from a node on the flower stem.
  • Leaves – located above the roots.
  • Lip – the part of the flower that is almost completely divided from the rest of the flower, however, it is connected by the column. The lip is specialized to aid in pollination.
  • Medium – the material added to an orchid’s container, which can range from varieties such as soil to bark.
  • Node – a distinct joint or notch on the inflorescence from which a secondary flower stem can emerge from after the primary inflorescence has finished blooming.
  • Roots – located just below the leaves.
  • Sepal – the outer segments on an orchid flower. Similar to petals, sepals are the three smaller segments of the flower that create a triangular shape.
  • Spike/Stem – a flower stalk.
  • Stake – a wooden stick to support the orchid spike.
  • Throat – the inner portion of a tubular orchid lip, often quite colorful.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

+ Diagrams & Terms courtesy of JustAddIce Orchids

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Orchid Care Lady on Twitter

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Categories: Orchid Care

Follow OrchidCareLady on Twitter

Now that I’m getting the hang of writing on this blog (I have lots of ideas for future posts!), I decided I’d let my oldest grandson Josh help me set up a twitter account so I can promote my blog and stay in touch with other orchid lovers.

I’m happy to report that it is finally up and running!  You can see my lastest tweets over on the right.  Like the content on the blog, I’m hoping to tweet about all things orchids!

Click HERE to ‘follow” me, Carol the Orchid Care Lady, on Twitter!  :)

Click HERE to sign up for Ryan’s Free Orchid Care Email Tips!

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

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How to Care for Orchids Video for Beginners

A friend alerted me to this great video showing just how easy it is to care for orchids.  Enjoy!

Orchid care is easy according to award winning orchid breeder, Dick Wells, and he should know. Wells owns the very successful company Hilltop Orchids where he grows and breeds thousands of beautiful orchids each year. One step into his greenhouse, and you’ll be amazed by the seemingly endless sea of orchids in front of you. As you look closer, you’ll notice that every one of Wells orchids are incredibly healthy and vivacious. How does he do it?

That’s what Meghan wanted to know. So she spent an afternoon with Wells talking about how to care for orchids, and she was surprised by what she learned. While orchids look high-end, they don’t require high maintenance. Isn’t that wonderful.”

If you enjoyed this video, click HERE to sign up for Ryan’s Free Orchid Care Email Tips!

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

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