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By Raquel


My orchid’s blooms have long since faded and dropped, but even though the orchid now looks like this:

I’ve been assured it’s still very much alive and should at some point flower again. The leaves are pretty glossy and green, and actually they have doubled – the orchid has four now and when I bought it it had only two.

Last week I noticed a green shoot that had appeared out of the moss that surrounds the orchid and it startled me, because it reminded me of a claw! It looked so…ALIVE which is silly in a way because it is alive, but it almost reminded me of an animal kind of awereness:

I peered under the leaves and that’s when I noticed even longer shoots there, apparently seeking the light.

I called my mother, who loves orchids and has quite a few, and she told me they were either shoots or roots.

Anyway, it just leaves me wondering whether I should fertilize it, maybe it’s missing something, and if so, what I should fertilize with?

Another quandary of mine is deciding where to leave it for the holidays – I will be in El Salvador for awhile – right now it’s in my office which has lots of indirect light (but has turned very cold now that the weather has changed so much so that I think I should bring it home where it’s warmer) but the light I get here is almost direct sunlight. I hope Larry can take it home but I don’t know, am not sure whether he will feel like plant sitting again!

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I've tried a few times but had no success with orchids. I hope it survives for you.

8 Dec, 2008


Yes, they do need feeding. I get a pot of orchid food and add a tiny amount to my litre can - I feed them every two weeks while they are in flower. The roots should be misted with tepid rain water every so often, but don't let any water stay in between the leaves, as they will rot.
You can cut that stem back to ab the bottom scale on the stem, or else leave it as a new stem may grow from it or from between the leaves.

If one doesn't appear, take the plant to a room where the temperature is a few degrees lower and leave it there for three weeks This 'shock' treatment works for me!

If your office is cold, then do please find it a warmer home - or you will lose it!

Good luck.

8 Dec, 2008


As always good advice by Spritz, and just to add, these funny little shoots coming out from the base of your plant are air roots, the more of these that grow the happier your plant is, so don't cut them off unless they shrivel up and dry out which they do from time to time, but obviously you are doing something right! follow Spritz's advice and it will be back in flower before you know it.

8 Dec, 2008


Thanks Hywel, it's the first time I've tried having an orchid, so we'll see how it goes. One plant I have never been able to grow are African violets, and I love them! =(

Thanks Spritz for the great advice - I will heed your words and take my orchid (and the bromeliad) home. For some odd reason we still have air conditioning on at the office! Have to look for orchid food, hope Wabash has some. I know orchids don't flower often, my mom has some that flower only once a year, but I don't know how often my kind flowers. We'll see!

Thanks Majeekahead, glad to know they're air roots and that if they show up the plant is happy!

8 Dec, 2008


If yours are phalaenopsis - which they seem to be they should flower for a good part of the year.Perhaps they need repotting. Also transparent pots are better because the roots need light. Some of mine have made new flower stalks and others not as yet.
If you Google phalaenopsis you can find nice sites that tell you how to care for them - with illustrations. I have found them very useful. Hope they flower again soon1

9 Dec, 2008


Thanks Celandine, I'll try googling...hadn't thought of the transparent pot, maybe that's why the roots are peeking out from among the moss! Re-potting scares me but will do if necessary.

10 Dec, 2008


sorry Celandine, but i would strongly sagest that you don't repot, they actually don't need this at all, not too mention you will find it hard to find the correct growing medium, Phalaenopsis Orchid's of which yours is, actually naturally grow from branches of tree's, they attach themselves and then sort of hang, sounds strange but true. Bromeliad's too. P. Orchids do not need soil to grow, and actually like to be pot bound, this will increase the amount of air roots that come out of the pot. the important things for this plant have been layed out for you Raquel. i would stop feeding now that your plant has finished flowering, i grow all of mine in the bathroom, because it is very humid in there, but others have said they find that too damp to grow in the bathroom and the plant rots, as Spritz has said they don't like water sitting inbetween the leaf and base of the plant, but they do like moisture on air roots, this is how they take in mosture and neutrents in the wild. so my advice is this, keep well away from central heating as this drys the air and will damage the plant, mist the air roots as often as possible, preferably with rain water, if you do this regually you will not need to water the base of the plant hardly ever, but can pour a bit of water in ever so often if particually dry, but the worst thing you can do is over water. defused light is best, but does need some natural light. as i said before stop feeding now, as the plant will go dormant for a while, cut down the flower spike as Spritz has said, and once the next flower shoot appears start feeding again. they do flower once a year to 18months, but the flowers last anything upto eight months of the time on the plant, so well worth the extra effort, Good luck Raquel.

10 Dec, 2008


Thanks Majeekahead, you're right I do feel a lot better now about taking care of this orchid and feel maybe I won't kill it now! It seems to be doing well, I think a shoot has appeared on the branch, or maybe it's another air soon as I can i will bring it home where it's warmer but didn't want to take it out today, the temp was only 41 F (5 C) at its warmest! Thanks for all the great advice!

11 Dec, 2008

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