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.
Now that we’ve settled into our apartment in DC, I thought I would share my new orchid growing setup here. We’re rending a condo on the top floor of a 4-ish story building (the bottom floor is an English basement). Our apartment gets mostly northern exposure, which is not great for orchids, but one room has a brighter, eastern-facing window…and we have a loft and several skylights!
So you have a beautiful Phalaenopsis orchid, but its blooms are starting to wilt and fall off. What do you do now?! First of all, don’t freak out and throw your plant in the garbage; fading flowers are totally normal and they do NOT mean that your orchid is dying! Orchids can live for years and years and years with the proper care. Part of this proper care is knowing when and where to cut the flower spike. This is one of the most common questions I get in the comments section of my blog posts, so I thought it would be helpful to write about how to proceed once your Phal (the most widely available type of orchid) has finished blooming.
I have a bunch of good news about my orchids and one bit of bad news, so I’ll start with the bad news first: I lost my Paphiopedilum Wizard of Oz ‘Hausermann’s Toto’ AM/AOS x [Paph. Candy Apple x Paph. Pulsar]. It had been doing very poorly for quite some time, and just didn’t seem to want to recover, so two weeks ago I sent it to the great orchid farm in the sky. 🙁 Orchid kill count: eight (I think??).
In much happier news, I have a lot of good growth going with a bunch of my orchids! Let’s take a look:
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted any updates on my orchid collection because there hasn’t been a whole lot going on other than the blooming of the mystery dendrobium, which, by the way, now has two blooms. Each has taken on a more pinkish and greenish tinge in the throat than when they first opened. The faint coloring is a little hard to capture in a photo, but you get the idea: