As we are almost to indoor gardening time, and because our orchid is blooming so wonderfully we decided to pass along our “Contessa” tips for the growing and care of orchids. This pictured specimen is one year old. She is in full bloom after a 12 week dormancy. She is producing six beautiful blossoms. One more bud is forming very slowly on her stem. Given our years of growing orchids, we expect that for the next six to eight weeks she will be in her blooming stage. It has totally been worth the wait. Often we can count on a two month blooming phase so we will see….
So what have we been doing with this “lovely” over the last eight weeks? First off, she sits about one yard away from a window that produces full sun/light daily. We replenish the top of her surface with fresh orchid bark about four times in the year. Very important. Over time and with watering, the bark level recedes. Give your orchid fresh bark medium regularly. After all, this is her home. Bags of bark are available at your local nursery. They are usually rather large. Not expensive, but you can share with a friend, so pick a friend who also has an orchid and it won’t feel like you are wasting anything.
Water your orchid with tepid, not cold water, once ever seven days. Personally an ice cube or two is just not enough moisture. (you heard us right, and we will stick to this advice). Remove your plastic pot from your cachepot and carry it to the kitchen sink. (Purchase Miracle Grow Orchid Food – it’s a turquoise powder inside a box and a small spoon is provided for measuring) very inexpensive, but necessary if you want continued blooms. Fertilizer is a must twice a month if you want repeat blossoms. Mix one-quarter teaspoon to a gallon of water, stir well and pour the entire mixture over and through your orchid. Pour gently and slowly. Let the water bathe your plant. Drain all the way through. The last thing you want is a soggy wet bottom that your orchid is sitting in.
Too much residual moisture can cause disease. In between, water your orchid with tepid tap water once every seven days. Do not allow fertilizer water to touch your green leaves. Always wipe the top and under side of leaves off with a paper towel so that no moisture remains on them. This helps to avoid any possibility of pests or disease. Do Not-be afraid to water your orchid throughly. The key is to allow the water to pass through completely. Allow the plant to sit on a folded paper towel for about fifteen minutes so that any excess water can drain off. Now move your orchid back to its cachepot/container. And now you are good to go for another week.
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