I recently updated my post on how to water orchids, and because fertilizing orchids goes hand in hand with watering, I thought it would be a good time to revisit this topic as well.
Like all living things, orchids need nutrition in order to thrive. Feeding orchids is an important part of caring for them and eventually getting them to rebloom. This post will focus specifically on fertilizing Phalaenopsis (moth) orchids because Phals are the most common orchids for beginners, available everywhere from your local florist to Ikea and Trader Joe’s.
It’s been a long time since I blogged about basic orchid care! Because I often get questions regarding how to water orchids, I thought it was high time I revisited my original post on watering these beautiful but sometimes challenging houseplants.
I’m back! I know, it’s been awhile since my last post (as usual). My orchids are still adjusting to our new apartment, and though I’ve lost a couple that were doing poorly even before our move, most of them seem to be pretty happy here. I’ve also achieved my first African violet bloom in about two years!
Lately, I’ve been attempting to revive my Mule Ear Oncidium, which I grew mounted on a slab of tree fern for years. After our move I un-mounted it from the slab, which was beginning to disintegrate, and cut off a whole hell of a lot of rotten roots. The plant has put out many new growths over the years but it has never really thrived or bloomed, and it had become clear to me that it was time for a change. I mean, look at the base of this poor thing:
A few of the most common questions I hear from readers are:
• “My orchid’s leaves are wrinkled/turning yellow/drooping/falling off, what does this mean?”
• “My orchid’s roots are brown/mushy/hollow, what should I do?”
• “My orchid is sick, how do I save it?”
So I thought it was high time I wrote a post with advice on how to nurse an orchid back to health. Please note that these tips specifically refer to Phalaenopsis (aka Moth Orchid) care, because that is the most popular type of household orchid. Also, I’m not going to discuss how to treat orchid pest or viral/bacterial problems in this post…we’ll save those for another day.
Fall isn’t traditionally the time of year for new plant growth; fall is the season in which the leaves on many outdoor plants start to turn all manner of fiery colors and drop off. On the other hand, certain types of household orchids, such as the ever-popular Phalaenopsis, often begin to put out spikes in the fall that lead to spectacular blooms in the winter and spring. When left to grown on its own, an orchid spike can become heavy with blooms that droop down over the side of the pot, so I highly recommend staking your orchid’s spike to secure it and to make for a lovely cascading spray of flowers like so:
The only materials you’ll need to stake an orchid spike are a bamboo flower stake [paid link] and some flower clips [paid link] or twist ties, all of which are readily available in gardening shops, big box home improvement stores, and online. Oh, and a little patience helps too. 🙂
Happy Almost Friday, orchid lovers! Just wanted to drop a brief update here: I’ve added an Orchid Care FAQs tab to the main menu up at the top of my website. I’ve been meaning to collect and organize these blog posts in one location for some time, because I know not everyone can quickly or easily find my blog’s Orchid Beginner Tips category (and I fully admit the category is not super organized once you’ve navigated there).
So here the Orchid Care FAQs are here: click on overto find a list of links to my orchid care tips for newbies.