How to make your indoor orchids rebloom

If you have you purchased orchids with beautiful blooms, but the blooms are now gone, follow these easy steps to make them rebloom to their former glory.

Water:  The easiest way to kill your orchids, and most other houseplants, is to overwater them.  The best way to water orchids is to take the pot to a sink, pour approximately 1/2 cup of water into the pot and then let ALL of the water drain out.  Do this every 7 to 10 days, letting the soil dry out in between waterings.  Of course, this means your orchids should be in a pot that drains well.

Light:  Another important requirement of orchids is the amount of sunlight they receive.  Direct sunlight is too harsh and will burn them, but too little sunlight will prevent them from flowering well.  Orchids prefer sunlight (not directly) from a south-facing window in the winter months, and an east or northwest exposure in the summer months.

Temperature:   Preferred temperatures vary between types of orchids.  Read the labels on the ones you purchase to ensure optimal temperatures for your orchids. None of them like temperatures below 60 degrees F though and none like to be near cold air drafts.  If you do not know whether your orchid is a cool, warm or intermediate type, keeping it between 65 and 80 degrees F should work.

Food:  Keep in mind that the rest periods in between blooms allow for the plants to restore their energy levels.  After the blooms have faded and fallen off, wait until the stalk has completely turned brown before cutting it off at the point where it meets the plant.  Food is important though to keep your orchids blooming their best.  There are commercial products available for orchid food which contains a higher phosphate (the middle number) level than nitrogen (first number) and potash (third number) for optimal blooms.  Feed your orchids every second watering while in bloom, otherwise once a month.

Hopefully the tips above will help you keep your orchids looking great.  If you have put off buying them because you thought they were too difficult or fussy, give them a try.  They cannot be beat for their spectacular blooms!

pictures courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

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Winter Gardening c/o Home Depot

The latest Home Depot newsletter for garden club members has some great indoor gardening ideas for these cold winter months…

The first project is a garden dish, or a mini garden, suitable for any room in your home:

for this project you will need the following items:

  • horticultural charcoal to keep the soil smelling fresh
  • gravel for drainage
  • a shallow, low sided, heavy (ceramic is good) dish, with no drainage hole in the bottom.  You can use your imagination here to repurpose an old  container.  Any shape or depth will work with similar instructions, just use thicker layers of charcoal, gravel and soil.
  • plants, such as coleus, succulents and cacti
  • potting soil
  • moss or sand to cover the soil
  • decorative items such as shells, pretty stones, pine cones etc

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle less than an inch of gravel and charcoal over the bottom of container. (thicker if container is deeper than a shallow dish)
  2. Un-pot your plants, and position them as desired, keeping in mind that you are trying to create a miniature landscape. Be sure to use plants with the same light and water requirements in one container. For example, succulents and cacti like bright light, but require very little water.  In fact they will rot if watered too frequently.
  3. Surround the root-balls with soil, including a thinner layer over the non-planted gravel areas.
  4. Add a thin layer of moss or sand to ensure soil is covered.
  5. Tuck decorative items into moss or sand.
  6. Moisten your garden with a watering can or in the sink. Let it soak for a few minutes, then carefully tip out the excess water while holding the arrangement in place with your other hand. Repeat this procedure once a week or when the soil feels dry. Make sure your garden never sits in excess water.
  7. Given bright but indirect sunlight, most houseplants will thrive for months or even years in containers. Replace any overgrown or sickly plants as needed.

The next idea is for the transformation of a sunny window into a mini greenhouse that can showcase herbs and houseplants:

You will need the following items:

  • measuring tape, ruler, electric drill, level, pencil, hand saw
  • sand paper, wood putty, paint, moulding
  • 1/2 inch thick piece of glass
  • felt dots or plastic slide

Directions:

1.  Measure the depth and width of the window frame, and subtract half an inch from the width to determine      the dimensions of the shelves.

2. Have a glazier cut a 1/2”-thick piece of glass to size for each shelf. For a more finished look, have the edges sanded. Using a level and a ruler for precision, make pencil marks where each shelf support should go, starting from the top of the window frame.

3. Make supports out of moulding by cutting two lengths of moulding for each shelf (the moulding length should equal the depth of the frame). Sand the ends smooth.

4. Drill three evenly spaced holes (just bigger than the head of a wood screw) in each support. Hold a support against the appropriate mark on the window frame, insert the bit of an electric drill through one of the holes, and drill a starter spot into the frame. Repeat for the other holes, and then countersink screws so the heads don’t show. Repeat for remaining supports. Fill holes with wood putty, sand smooth, and paint supports. Once paint dries, attach a felt dot or plastic glide to each support end, and set glass shelves in place.

Filling your home with houseplants, tropicals or locally grown, is a great way to detoxify the air in your home, especially in the winter when windows and doors are shut tight against the cold.  Read this previous post to see how this works.  To increase your collection of tropical houseplants, take advantage of Home Depot’s current offer:

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Click on this link to download and print the coupon Home depot tropicals    

There are many varieties of tropical houseplants to choose from, including the ever popular orchids.  Orchids are easy to care for, providing colorful and long-lasting blooms.  They are ideal for the indoor environment of your home and are sure to brighten up the dreary winter months.  The biggest challenge when buying orchids is what color to choose as they are all beautiful!

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