Are orchids difficult to care for? Tips from Maurice Wynne
There are few things say more about the personality of a home and its owners than a statement flower arrangement. If you see a selection of cactus and succulents, you know that you’re in a place where practicality rules, while a pretty bunch of wildflowers adds a sweet and delicate touch to any room.
In fact, every plant brings some level of comfort and boosts the décor, but nothing is more luxurious and modern than a beautiful vase of orchids.
For this reason, Maurice Wynne, multi-award winning Dublin florist, has replied to some of the most frequently asked questions about Orchid Care and How to Look after your Orchid.
Are orchids difficult to care for? There are a few varieties that are quite difficult to grow. However, contrary to popular opinion, most orchids are surprisingly easy to grow as long as you are aware that they are not like regular potted plants. In their natural habitat, most orchids do not grow in soil. When growing orchids, you will notice long grey worm-like roots coming over the top of the pot. Don’t cut them off. They are aerial roots, and these roots absorb a lot of the plant moisture and nutrition. They are also essential to the plant for stabilisation.
If and when an aerial root becomes dry and brittle it may be removed. Orchids hate drafts and direct sunlight so don’t place them on window sills or near open doors.
Which orchid fertiliser to use? There is plenty of specific orchid fertilisers on the market, but for the most part, a good general fertiliser which is designed for encouraging flowering is quite sufficient – and a lot less expensive.
Are orchid plants poisonous? Absolutely not, they are harmless to cats, dogs and farm animals. Orchids are harmless to humans too. Actually, in fact, the fruit from one orchid in particular “the vanilla bean or vanilla pod” is a great favourite for cooks and chefs alike. In many Asian and Polynesian countries, little orchid varieties like dendrobiums, are used as a garnish to brighten a dish.
Are orchids edible? Yes! Orchid flowers are edible although the taste has to be acquired.
How to care for orchids after flowering? Best tip I can give after the orchid plant has finished flowering is to put it in a semi-shaded place, cut back on watering, and wait until new shoots appear. Then, bring it back to its original spot and both water and feed as before. You’ll be surprised how quick it will reward you with new blossoms.
How to take care of orchids indoors? Water generously but make sure the plant does not become waterlogged. A regular misting or spraying with water is an excellent way to boost the orchid as it takes most of its moisture and food from the air around, not from the soil like most of our regular indoor plants.
Can orchid roots be trimmed? They can but only when they become dry and brittle. Try to remember that the roots of an orchid (at least the ones we see) are not only there to stabilise the plant in its natural habitat, but they also gather most of the plants’ moisture and nutrients.
Why do orchids die? There are many reasons, however, the main reasons are:
1- Too much water (the plant becomes waterlogged)
2- Too little water
3- Too much direct sunlight
4- Too hot
5- Too cold
6- Lack of nutrients
7- Old age
I know it sounds like a lot but really when you think of it, they’re pretty similar to us.
What causes orchid leaves to wrinkle and/or turn yellow or brown? Healthy orchids will have light green leaves. A reddish colouring is a clear sign the plant is in a location of extreme light and has as much as it can handle. Very dark green leaves indicate the plant is not getting sufficient light and will stop flowers if it remains in that location. Yellowing or browning of the leaves usually means the plant is lacking in nutrients.
With all these useful tips on how to care for an orchid, we are pretty sure that you will have amazing arrangements at home!