FOTD – September 28 – Orchids

I always found orchids interesting but I had heard they were very difficult to grow, so I never tried. When Garry’s brother send him a pot of them as a birthday present, I had nothing to lose. I had the orchids. All I needed was a little guidance. I decided to give them a try.

I looked up basic instruction on Google, discovered that growing orchids is not unlike growing other “dry soil” plants, like cactus and other succulents. I needed slightly different fertilizer — weaker — and special orchid soil.

It took a year, but those birthday orchids came back. Garry bought me another one for my birthday — the bright purple (magenta? deep violet?) orchid and Owen brought me a miniature for my next birthday. Meanwhile, Garry’s brother sent two more orchids on subsequent birthdays, so by the end of lockdown, I was maxed out on window space. A year ago this past spring, I got up the nerve to repot all the orchids that were finished flowering. Repotting slowed their growth by a few months, but by now, they have all flowered again.

Miniature orchids had the most delicious colors. Unfortunately, these died after I repotted them

The last of them collection is flowering now. When it finishes flowering, I will repot it. Hopefully, I won’t have to repot any of them again, as long as I use orchid fertilizer at the right time. Orchids don’t develop huge root systems. These just needed to be in pots with proper drainage and fresh earth.

I’m thinking of building one more shelf across the upper part of the window for some trailing plants, but I’m afraid that will make taking pictures of birds more difficult, so I’m just thinking about it for now.

Categories: #Flowers, #FOTD, #gallery, Anecdote, Cee's Photo Challenge, orchids

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20 replies

  1. They all look so lovely, Marilyn, and well done for keeping so many alive. I’ve heard they’re really tricky to look after too, and that’s what has always scared me off getting any. Looks as though you’ve acquired the knack now though, and you’ve captured them all beautifully. 🙂


  2. Oh what beauties you have on display this week 😀 😀


    • Thanks Cee. From one plant, I now have orchids blooming almost all year. There are a couple of months in the late fall when they are making new buds, but I have more orchids than I imagined possible. Good thing I learned to take care of them!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. These are so perfect


    • That is one of the joys of growing them. They look perfect from when they open and for months after that. Very durable once they settle in and decide they like the light and aren’t being watered too much.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You certainly seem to have the magic touch with these orchids, Marilyn! I can never get them to rebloom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You need the right light – not full sun all day, but a few hours in morning or afternoon – and the restraint to NOT water them until they are completely dry. If you water them more than the minimum, they wither which makes most people water them again — after which they die.

      We have an instinct to water plants that look withered, but “dry soil” plants like orchids only need a tiny bit of water. The withering isn’t a sign or not enough water but rather a sign of too much water. Honestly, that’s the hard part. Even one watering too many will often kill the plant. They are incredibly sensitive, so a little too much will usually kill the plant — FAST, too.

      You need a lot of restraint with orchids. All those “water me” instincts are exactly wrong for all dry-soil plants. They thrive in dry, loose soil full of pieces of bark, bits of rock and not much more. The less you do, the more those plants will love you. I’ve taken to writing on the calendar when I last watered them because I know between waterings they need at least a week or 10 days before you even think about watering them again and if you forget to water them, they are much happier than if you water them too soon.

      If ever there was a “less is more” plant, orchids are it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I used the special soil, and my plants stayed alive. They just didn’t bloom. Probably a lighting issue. Maybe I’ll try again someday!


        • If you have an east-facing window, that has been the best light I’ve found for almost everything. It works for almost every kind of plant with a nice balance of sun in the morning and bright light the rest of the day. BUT I only have ONE window with the right light and it’s full. NO more room!

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          • Nope, I’ve only got west. Some plants do okay there, although I have to close the blinds in the summer afternoons.


            • Not perfect. Decent light, minimal water (PUT DOWN THAT WATERING CAN!)(Yes, Ma’am)/ A pot with good drainage — and remember ALL plants need good drainage because nothing grows in mud. Protection from extreme heat and burning sun. If you live in a hot region where the sun shines most of the time, orchids are not a great choice but there are millions of plants that would love tons of sun and heat.

              I only started growing orchids because one day I had one and I was either going to figure out how to grow it or throw it away. I didn’t want to throw it away and I didn’t think I had anything to lose by seeing if I could make it grow. I know a lot of other people are growing them because I’ve seen their pictures. They live all around the globe and I doubt anyone has perfect conditions.

              Mostly, if you have partial sun and you PUT THAT WATERING CAN DOWN, you can probably grow just about anything. That IS what I learned over the years. If you pot things in the right soil and water only when the plant is dry, there are very few things you can’t grow.

              Perfect hardly ever happens but good enough is easy.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Most orchids that we grow in pots don’t like hot weather or too many hours of sun. But — it doesn’t need to be perfect. You can shade a plant with another plant, for example. You can create the right light by moving plants around. I do that anyway because when a plant is in a growth period, it needs more sun than when it’s resting. I start to juggle stuff when I see buds being set. I only have one window. It’s a big window, but only one, so I do the best I can with it.

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