Massachusetts Orchid Soceity Show - Terrific!!

helentremont(6)November 6, 2012

I went to the Mass Orchid Society show this past weekend at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA. It was fabulous!!! All kinds of beautiful orchids - the colors, shapes and sizes were amazing!! Attended two workshops, one on repotting and one on the culture of phals.

Best of all I came home with my first orchid: an odontocidium - St. Anthony of Egypt 'Huina Road'. It's so lovely - and I'm reading about how to care for it and would welcome any hands on tips.


Helen in Malden, MA

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molie(z6 CT)

Ah, Helen --- you've caught the 'Orchid Bug' and have started with a beauty. You might want to also post on the Orchid Forum where you'll get great help, as well as from the contacts you made in the Mass. Orchid Society. I'll happily pass along what we've done with our orchids.

The first advice I'd give about raising orchids is to find a spot in your home that they will like. If you can replicate the conditions your plant enjoyed "in nature", it should do well. In the wild, orchids grow without soil and often high up on trees or rocks. In fact, on one summer garden tour we saw that a homeowner had placed all of his orchids in "baskets" of moss and then hung these from his high blueberry bushes. I thought that was pretty clever. You probably know from the workshops you attended that you can't treat orchids like you would your other houseplants.

We've been growing orchids for about 10 years and have 17, including some Odon. Intergenerics, and have found them to be tough, easy-to-care-for plants. From early spring to mid-fall, we keep all our orchids outside on a shaded, covered deck. Because we live along a small river, our orchids really benefit from the early morning moisture. In the colder months, our plants go on top of our kitchen cabinets. We put the pots on trays or dishes that have small rocks in the bottom. This is done so that they don't get too dry --- heat rises and we have a gas fireplace nearby. The trays will catch any water that drips out from the plants, which helps to keep the plants moist. Orchids don't like wet feet. They like light, but not direct --- warmth, but not dry heat --- they'll tolerate lower temps, but be careful. Also, be patient when they're not blooming or when they start to look ragged. Some of ours that appeared to be close to death really perked up over the warmer months outside!

We spritz our orchids every other day or so and water them at the sink, letting most of the water drain out before putting them back on the cabinets. When a particular orchid is blooming very strongly, we might bring it down to a table or desk for a closer view, but mostly they all stay up high in the colder months. One thing that we hardly ever do is to fertilize. Crazy, I know, but it works. As the plants mature, their roots move out and up in waves and it's these roots that capture moisture and nutrients. We find that our plants bloom very well when we put them outside and then to a lesser degree in the winter months.

Oh, I forgot to mention that one reason why we placed our orchids up high is that we have skylights on the roof and a clearstory window; the light is indirect but bright on the cabinets. So I guess an important factor would be for you to look around your home for an ideal spot.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 3:06PM
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Thanks so much - your message is so helpful to me,especially the parts about watering and humidity.



    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 4:23PM
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