treat your orchid after flowering:
have an orchid which has not flowered for several years
since I bought in bloom, how can I make it flower again?
do I cut my Phalaenopsis stem to make new flowers?
I have a baby plant growing on my Phalaenopsis stem, what
should I do with it?
do I cut my flower stem off when it finishes flowering?
do I do with my Cymbidium when it finishes flowering?
do I do with my Dendrobium when it finishes flowering?
often do orchids flower?
often do I water my orchid?
I use rainwater?
How do I feed my orchids?
My orchid seems to be losing a lot of leaves, is this correct?
The flower buds on my cymbidium have suddenly dropped off,
There is a sticky substance on the leaves beneath my orchid's
what is this?
I have a tiny, white, fluffy bug on my phalaenopsis, how
can I get rid
I have crinkling on my leaves, what causes
How do I know when my Dendrobium has finished growing?
have some black marks on my Cymbidium leaves, what are they?
do I know when my orchid needs re-potting?
What type of potting compost do I use?
Do I have to use transparent flower pots?
What do I do with the aerial roots?
I have to tie the stems upright with canes, I like the natural
do I create humidity in the home?
I grow orchids in my conservatory?
I have an orchid which has not flowered for several years
since I bought in bloom, how can I make it flower again?
A: This is a common problem, especially with the Cymbidium.
These orchids are naturally cool growing and when people
have them for the first time they usually do not realise
this and tend to keep them too warm. This promotes too much
leaf growth and not enough flowers. The best remedy is to
place outdoors in the summer and in the coolest, lightest
position during the winter. Also do not over-feed as this
too will promote leaves.
With a Phalaenopsis
that is shy flowering, move to a slightly cooler, lighter
position for a while and use the high potash, bloom promoting
fertiliser to encourage the flowers to come.
Q: Where do I cut my Phalaenopsis
stem to make new flowers?
A: Look along the length of the flower stem and you will
see small ‘eyes’, each of these is capable of
branching out and producing more buds. When the existing
flowers are nearly over cut the stem off above one of the
higher ‘eyes’ and within a few weeks it should
start to shoot out a new stem. If all of the flowers have
dropped then the stem may have started to die back and may
not branch out. If it dries up then cut it right back to
the base and a new stem will grow within a few months.
here for more information on Phalaenopsis
Q: I have a baby plant growing
on my Phalaenopsis stem, what should I do with it?
A: This is known as a keiki, and often occurs with plants
grown in the home. It usually happens purely by accident
and is a fun way of obtaining another little plant from
your existing orchid. Let the keiki grow until it has several
leaves and a good few roots, then it is strong enough to
survive on its own. Simply cut the flower stem just under
where the plant sprouted from so as not to damage it and
pot up into a small pot with the usual bark. If the keiki
is left on the mother plant it may prevent it from flowering
again until it is removed. Having said that I have seen
the main plant and keiki both flowering away happily at
the same time!
Q: Where do I cut my flower stem
off when it finishes flowering?
A: The vast majority of orchid stems will simply die back
when the flowers have faded so trim them back to make the
plant look tidier. The only orchid that will re-flower from
the same stem is the Phalaenopsis, so with these you can
trim the stem back to just above one of the eyes along the
stem and this eye should soon branch out and produce more
What do I do with my Dendrobium when it finishes flowering?
especially the 'nobile' type, grow with tall cane-like pseudobulbs
with flowers along the length of the canes. When the flowers
drop do not cut off this tall cane as it
is the food store for the plant and helps it to grow more
new canes which flower next year.
How often do orchids flower?
A: Orchids, as
with most plants, generally flower once a year when their
season comes around. With bulbous orchids, new growth (pseudobulbs)
need to grow before the next flowers are produced. The old
pseudobulbs remain on the plant for many years as a food
store. With Phalaenopsis no bulbs are produced so the plants
can flower at any time of the year, all year round. These
also have the longest lasting flowers.
Q: How often
do I water my orchid?
A: Orchids like
to dry out in between waterings so you may water once a
week or even once every two weeks depending on the time
of the year and the individual conditions that you have
for your plants. Check 1-2 times per week to see how
quickly they are drying out. Always water fromthe top of
the pot and allow to drain through. Never stand the pot
in water for a long time.
Q: Should I use rainwater?
A: Orchids do
not like the lime in hard water so if you are in a hard
water area then it is best to use rainwater. If you have
soft water then that is fine but rainwater is always the
better option if you collect it anyway.
Q: How do I feed my orchids?
A: Orchids are not heavy feeders as in the wild they live
high in the trees where they only receive extra nutrients
from the rain washing over decomposing leaves etc further
up the tree. So we give them a weak feed, high in nitrogen
whilst they are growing new leaves, roots and pseudobulbs
(usually spring and summer); and a high potash feed in the
autumn which is good for finishing off the growth and encouraging
the flowers. We use and recommend Orchid Focus ‘Grow’
and ‘Bloom’ formulas, please ask for details
or check the online shop.
Q: My orchid seems to be losing
a lot of leaves, is this correct?
A: There are some deciduous orchids but generally orchids
should not lose a lot of leaves at once. Some leaf loss
of old foliage in natural, especially in autumn but excessive
leaf loss will usually indicate that the plant has been
kept too wet. Orchids do not like to be kept too wet, should
not be allowed to stand in water and should therefore always
be watered from the top and left to drain. A plant in this
state should be allowed to dry out, all dead foliage removed
and encouraged to start growing by being kept warm and humid.
Hopefully then new leafs and roots will be produced. Of
course in severe cases over watering will kill the plant.
Q: The flower buds on my cymbidium
have suddenly dropped off, why?
A: Cymbidium flower buds develop best in cool, light conditions
and if the plant is moved in this state, for example from
the cool greenhouse to the warm lounge, the shock of the
change in temperature can put the plant under stress and
make it abort its flowering. Make sure that the buds are
allowed to open in the cool before moving the plant.
Q: There is a sticky substance
on the leaves beneath my orchid's flowers, what is this?
A: The flowers naturally produce a sugary nectar that encourages
insects to pollinate the flowers in the wild. Some types
make a lot of this, which then can drip onto the leaves.
Simply wipe in off with a damp cloth so and not to encourage
mildew which can grow on it. This nectar can also encourage
aphids to the flowers, which will breed quickly and spread
amongst your plants. Wash these off too with slightly soapy
Q: I have a tiny, white, fluffy
bug on my phalaenopsis, how can I get rid of it?
A: This is known as mealybug and is easily killed by dabbing
it with a little methylated spirits. This will not harm
the orchid so fell free to allow it to run into nooks and
crannies where the mealybugs may be hiding. You will need
to repeat this several times to make sure youi get rid of
all of the pests. They are particularly well camouflaged
on the pure white phalaenopsis flowers and if they get too
out of control then it is easiest to just dispose of the
flowers, clean the plant and it will soon reflower. You
may need to repot the plant into fresh, clean bark compost
and even spray with a systemic insecticide.
Q: What do I do with my Cymbidium
when it finishes flowering?
A:As the cymbidiums come to the end of their season in the
spring, when their flowers have all gone, cut the stem back
to the base to make the plant look tidier. At the end of
May, or when the frosts have gone, then stand them outdoors
for the summer months. This will help to encourage the flowers
for next year. Feed them through the summer with high nitrogen
feed to boost their growth. In autumn bring into a cool
room with plenty of light, then change feed to high potash
to help the flowers grow.
Q: I have crinkling on my orchid's
leaves, what causes this?
A: When new leaves are growing, if the atmosphere is too
dry then the leaves have a tendency to stick together as
they grow up. This causes them to grow in a distorted fashion.
Mist the leaves more regularly to give them lubrication
and they should not get stuck in future. Unfortunately you
cannot get rid of it once its there but you can prevent
it in the future.
Q: How do I know when my Dendrobium
has finished growing?
A: Dendrobiums make tall, cane-like pseudobulbs with leaves
all along the length of the cane. When the cane has reached
its maximum height then it makes a ‘terminal leaf’
at the very end which signals the end to its length. The
cane often then still has to swell a bit more and when the
sheaths around the cane turn papery then it has done al
the swelling it is going to do. This usually happens in
autumn and at that point you can start to reduce the watering.
Q: I have some black marks on
my Cymbidium leaves, what are they?
A: Black marks on leaves can be many things. The marks themselves
are caused by a bacterial infection which sets in when the
cells die. The breakdown of the cells is usually connected
with a cultural problem, most often over-watering or overfeeding.
Too much direct sun in summer can scorch the leaves causing
a brown and black burn mark. Pests can cause black marks
too, cymbidiums are most prone to red spider mite which
makes a fine, silvery web on the underside of the leaves
and as they eat away at the leaves, the cells will die and
cause the spots. Lastly, plant viruses can cause the marks,
often in patterns, but this is actually quite rare and growers
should not automatically jump to the conclusion that marks
are virus related. Badly effected plants should be discarded
or at least quarantined to prevent it spreading and sterilised
cutting tools should be used as a matter of course.
Q: How do I know when my orchid
A: When the pot is full! With orchids that produce pseudobulbs,
they will grow new ones each year and the plant will gradually
increase into a large clump. When the bulbs are right to
then edge of the pot, it needs a larger pot and new compost.
This is usually every couple of years. With the Phalaenopsis,
these grow upwards and sometimes over the edge of the pot,
with many aerial roots. These are not necessarily a sign
of needing re-potting, aerial roots = happy plant, but there
comes a time when the plant is likely to fall over if it
is not straightened up and given a slightly larger pot.
The Phalaenopsis only need potting every 2-3 years. Click
here for repotting information
What type of potting compost do I use?
A: Orchids like
to be in free-draining material and chipped bark is the
best substance. It has plenty of air spaces between the
chips which allow the roots to dry out well inbetween the
waterings which is just what the orchids like. As long as
the compost contains a high proportion of bark then it should
be fine for most orchids.
Q: Do I have to tie the stems
upright with canes, I like the natural look?
A: The species that grow in the wild hang their flowers
down for the tree tops so it is natural for them to arch
over gracefully. Many of the plants that we grow, though,
are hybrids, with larger, heavier flowers and need some
support, otherwise the stems can break under the weight
over the blooms. So, some support is helpful but by all
means stake them at an angle if you wish, to create the
Q: Do I have to use transparent
A: The clear pots are seen mostly with Phalaenopsis and
the major continental growers started using them to encourage
the plants to grow more roots inside the pot rather than
lots of roots outside, so making them easier to pack and
transport. Clear pots are not essential, but they are very
useful for the amateur grower to keep on eye on the health
of the roots. If too much water is given then you can see
if the roots are rotting. By all means stand the plant in
a more attractive container if you don’t want the
roots on show all the time!
Q: What do I do with the aerial
A: Many orchids produce aerial roots outside the pot, this
is due to how they grow in the wild, on trees with their
roots exposed to the moist atmosphere. If an orchid such
as a Phalaenopsis makes lots of aerial roots it is a sign
that the plant is happy in its environment and the roots
should be sprayed regularly. Healthy roots have a grey covering
and often green growing tips at the ends. If the roots turn
brown and die it is a sign that the environment may be too
dry for the plant. On the other side, it can also mean that
the roots inside the pot have rotted if the plant has been
overwatered. Check the state of the pot roots to monitor
Healthy roots = healthy plant!
How do I create humidity in the home?
A: The home can
be a dry place with central heating but by growing your
orchids over a humidity tray filled with damp pebbles, this
will help to raise the humidity around the plants. Make
sure the pot is not stood in water or taking it up through
the base at all. Also mist the foliage regularly on the
bulbous orchids, avoid this with Phalaenopsis, wipe their
leaves often to keep dust free. Grow other houseplants alongside
yuor orchids to create a better overall environment.
Can I grow orchids in my conservatory?
can have extreme environments as they can be very hot in
the day and cold at night, this is not ideal for orchids.
To make it 'orchid-friendly' shade it and keep well ventilated
in summer and provide warmth and insulation for winter.
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