Purchacing Orchids


In Holland there are more and more orchids for sale at gardening shops or even at the supermarket. Usually these are crossbreeds that you can grow in the home. There are of course specialized green houses that specialize in Orchids. For a good “startup”-Orchid these do not have to be expensive. The flowers are usually very durable; they can last for 6 weeks or even longer. Those would be the flowers that are on the plant. Flowers that are cut off at the stem last less long, of course.
All Orchids that grow in the wild in Holland are protected by law, so only purchase them at the specialized shops! And don’t forget, don’t’ let the scientific names fool you. Most species of Orchid did not get the usual Dutch names. We have to make due with unpronounceable Latin names. Too bad, but it’s just the way it is.

 

Interesting (dutch) movie about Orchid care.

 

Maintaining


There’s an old wives tale that Orchids are hard to maintain. This is not true at all. By crossbreeding and selection they have managed to create Orchids that are easy to keep in any house and very easy to grow.
If you wish to grow your own Geraniums, then there are also Orchids that you can easily keep on your window ledge. With a little protection from sun and rain a lot of species can be kept in the summer on the balcony or in the yard. However, as soon as night temperatures get below 10 degrees you should take them back inside. There are also winter resistant species you can keep in your backyard. With a small glass house you have of course the most options. Such a glass house does not need to be in tropical temperatures; as long as it isn’t anything below 10 degrees it should be fine. In this case you should also keep in mind to first check if you have species that have the same needs. So before you start growing your own Orchids make sure you find the types that are right for you. There are a few simple things you should know to successfully breed Orchids.


Humidity

This is a very important point. There are earth-Orchids and Orchids that grow on trees or rocks. For the tree-Orchids remember: The roots need a humid environment in which they can breathe. That is why orchid-roots like to grow in a special mixture, so called "bark", they can not grow in normal earth! Especially the kinds with white roots with a green point this is of great importance.
Breathing is so important that some people put extra holes in the flower-pots. If you have a humid environment then you could try to grow an Orchid on a piece of cork, but usually this is for the more experienced Orchid-owner. Tropical earth-Orchids you can grow in general earth. Ask the sales person if the Orchid you wish to purchase is an earth- of tree-Orchid. The best thing you can do is to once a week, give your Orchids so much water that the whole flowerpot is drenched in water. You can do this by putting the flower-pot in a bucket of water and then have it leak out for a while. The advantage of this is that remnants of chalk and artificial fertilizer are being rinsed out. This is a better method than watering your Orchid the usual way where only the surface of the pot gets wet.
Take special care by spraying or watering that there isn’t too much water under the leaves. For some reason Orchids can not handle this well and the leaves will start to rot if it happens too often, specially with cooler temperatures.
Orchids like humid air. You can achieve this by spraying them often and putting them on a saucer in a tray of humid -or clay-rocks. The bottom of the flowerpot can not be constantly wet, that’s why the saucer comes in handy!


Light

Like every other plant Orchids also need light to grow. How much lights depends on the species. Some types of Orchids like the full sun, while others can do with less. Keep in mind that your plants (just like you) burn if they get too much sunlight in the spring. They will survive this, but the leaves will get ugly spots on them. If your Orchids stand outside in the summer they will, in shadowed spots, get more light than inside the house.

 

Temperature

To make things easier Orchid-fans like to talk about cool, tempered and warm species. In the house tempered species are the best. Cool species u can keep if you have a unheated and bright room. Almost all species find it most comfortable if the temperature is lower at night than at daytime. Later on you will discover that there are species of Orchids that have a cooling rest period and there are kinds that need to be dry for a few months to grow.

 

Nutrition

Orchids need a special kind of nutrition. At our club you can find more information about the use of (different kinds) of fertilizer.
To keep you at ease: Orchids are generally a strong plant, specially the Phalaenopsis, Cambria and other species that are sold at specialized shops. On top of that they are bred in large quantities, so that you won’t have to feel that bad when one of them dies. Always try to know the name of your Orchid. This way people will be able to give you the right advice about maintaining it.

 

Phaleanopsis

This is a popular plant. The name means “resembles a butterfly” and the flowers do resemble butterflies a little. They grow in nature on tree logs in the jungles of South-east Asia. The roots need to be able to breathe, so they have to be kept in a breathable mixture. They need a humid environment. After blossoming you will need to cut the stem above the first eye. Because of their tropical roots they like warmth. They need to have a night temperature of at least 15 degrees. They do not need a lot of light. There are many crossbreeds of this type of Orchid and make very good living room plants. The best thing to do is pot them in a new flowerpot once every two years.

 

Cambria

These types of plants are from Tropical South-America. They also grow on tree bark, so the roots need to be able to breathe. Cambria like a light, cool and well aired atmosphere. In the summer they can be put outside in the shadow. If the flower stem is blossomed out you can cut it way at the bottom.