Tips from the orchid growers!
Help! My orchid is suffering from aphids. How do I get a Dendrobium to bloom again? What should I do if my Cymbidium’s leaves are drooping? Our growers are happy to answer these and other questions!
My orchid is pestered by mealybug or aphids
Mealybug or aphids. There are definitely beasties that are not welcome on orchids. Unfortunately, they are a common pest in many plants. Mealybugs and aphids often appear in the winter months when the humidity indoors is too dry and the pot and roots are too wet. Draughts can also contribute. Alongside the products that you can buy at garden centres, there is also a home remedy: mix green soap with methylated spirit in a 1:1 ratio and spray this on the plant. You usually need to repeat this a couple of times, because these pests are stubborn. And be careful of the flowers, because it can cause staining on them.
My orchid is drooping
Oh no! My orchid’s leaves are drooping. Don’t panic! The most common cause of this is watering. First look at the roots. If they’re nice and green, your orchid has enough water. So don’t give it any more water now. If the roots look a bit greyish, that means that your orchid is too dry. The best thing is to soak your orchid. Ideally, you should immerse your plant in a bucket of water for a few minutes (5-10 mins). Note: don’t take the plant out of its inner pot. The roots will now fill themselves with water. Leave the orchid to drain thoroughly after soaking it. Now it can go back into its cachepot. Orchids need less water in winter.
Don’t catch a cold!
One essential tip from the grower: when you buy an orchid, make sure that it isn’t left in the cold car too long. And make sure that the orchid is wrapped up well when you buy it in order to take it outside. Orchids don’t like the cold. It’s a good idea to bear this in mind, particularly in the winter months. The cold causes the buds to dry out more rapidly and flowers to fall from the branch. When you get it home place your orchid in a light spot, but not in direct sunlight. And don’t place an orchid directly over a radiator.
My orchid has shoots
You might find that there is a new plant growing from your orchid. You can leave the new shoot to develop as a plant in its own right. But if you don’t want to do that, you can take the gamble of cutting the plant away from the mother plant. Wait as long as possible to do this. Allow the root to develop a bit more first. You then place your new plant in a pot with orchid soil, called bark. This is available from most garden centres.
How do I get my orchid to flower again?
If your orchid is no longer producing any new flowers on the stem, it’s time for a trim. To get your Phalaenopsis to flower again, you need to cut the branch above the second ‘node’. These are thickenings on the branch. Start counting from the bottom. If you have a Cattleya, Cambria, Cymbidium, Dendrobrium, Miltonia, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum, Vanda or Zygopetalum you can also cut the entire branch off, so that a new branch can grow from a leaf joint. Once you’ve cut the branch off, put the plant away in a cool and light spot. Water once a month. After two months replace the plant in its normal spot. Now water once a week again. After about six months the plant will form new attractive long branches with stronger blooming. This varies according to the species.