Keeping orchids - what not to do!

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Orchids are often thought of as impossible to keep - but most of the time people kill them with kindness and trying to look after them.

If you are the kind of person who never waters your plants and forgets about them for months at a time - then they would suit you beautifully,

Orchids hate standing in water, so if you water them (I water mine every 12 weeks or so) stand them after on kitchen towel to absorb as much water as possible, do not under any circumstances leave them overnight with wet feet!

They love being pot bound, with the roots spilling over the top of the pot!  Seriously, if you desperately need to repot them, you need a bark mix (soil is too rich) and only pot them on to a pot no more than 1cm wider than the one you have.  I have had some of my orchids 6 and 7 years in the same pot and they flower every year.

Warning signs of overwatering include mushy bulbs and browning of the pods at the bottom.  At this point cut them off in half to the green bit under the brown, and do not water!!! The plant will think it is dying and put all its energy into the regrowth of a new pod.

When your orchid flowers, it will stay in flower for 6 weeks, ignore it, do not mist, (talk to it if you must) but do not water, when the flowers wilt, gently tease them off, if they do not come straight off, do not pull they will drop in their own time.  Let the flower stem they were one wilt right the way back - before chopping it off,

Orchids can stay dormant for 6 months easily, and then all of a sudden surprise you, they are mainly found in hot places, so an orchid flowering at Christmas in a warm (not hot) airy kitchen (not in a draft) is not a rare thing.

I have found this to work well with Oncidiums, Phalaenopsis and Dendrobiums

Good luck with your orchids
Suz xx
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