Home & Garden

Expert tips on how to make orchids bloom and thrive

Here’s a few tips for those interested in growing orchids. (Dreamstime)
Here’s a few tips for those interested in growing orchids. (Dreamstime)

Orchids can intimidate budding and experienced gardeners alike.

Joan Connors, a retired greenhouse manager of the American Orchid Society, has a few tips to help keep plants healthy, happy and blooming.

“I love growing orchids, because there is always a new flower to surprise me,” says Connors, of Deerfield Beach. “They give me joy every day.”

Connors, who retired in 2011 when the AOS headquarters moved to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, also was past president and is a trustee of the Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society. She helps organize the club’s annual orchid show and saleeach winter.

Q: What is the easiest orchid to grow?

A: Phalaenopsis. It requires little maintenance. Just water it once a week and it should flower. Phals will be in full bloom now through March, and hybridized versions of the plants bloom a few times a year. Also, ask the grower you purchase plants from for culture instructions and visit AOS.org for more tips on commonly grown orchids.

Q: What is the biggest mistake most gardeners make with orchids?

A: Over-watering will kill a plant faster than anything else, because the roots rot. Generally, water plants once a week and keep them in indirect light, and they should do well.

Q: Is fertilizer necessary?

A: Orchids get hungry, and fertilizer is their food. They expend a lot of energy producing those beautiful blooms. Try generic Miracle-Gro plant food. You must be very careful to follow package instructions when fertilizing so you don’t burn the leaves, roots and blooms. There is one rule: Water with fertilizer, weekly and weakly.

Q: Where is the best place to keep orchids?

A: Most orchids, especially phals, do not appreciate direct sun, so keep them in indirect light on a patio or strapped to a tree with a dense canopy or dappled light.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.