Valentine’s Orchids

Orchids have become essential for Valentine’s Day. If your celebration of love includes a gift orchid, check the care tips below.

Miltonia, red yellow and white orchid flower, Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco, CaliforniaCattleya hybrid, purple yellow and white flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2014, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne, yellow red and white orchid flower, Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco, California

Dendrobium hybrid, purple and white orchid flower, Santa Barbara Orchid Estate, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum, Lady Slipper orchid flower, Orchid Mania greenhouse, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis Taisuco Anna, pink white and yellow Moth Orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2014, San Francisco, California

What kind is it? –  Identify your orchid to learn more about its care needs. Phals, or Moth Orchids, are the most common types. Other popular varieties include Cattleyas, Cymbidiums, Dendrobiums, Oncidiums, and Paphs.

Light – Place your orchid in bright light. Many kinds enjoy some direct sun, especially while light levels are low in winter.

Humidity – Orchids hate dry air, which can wilt flowers, damage leaves, and attract pests. Raise humidity by grouping plants together, or placing plants in a humid area, like a bathroom or kitchen. To increase humidity, use a cool mist humidifier, or a spray mister. Balance flowerpots on pebbles in trays of water, always keeping the pots raised above the water level.

Water – Use room-temperature water to soak the pot, and then let all excess water drain out. Don’t let plants sit in water for too long, or their roots may rot. If wrappers, ribbons, or decorative containers block the holes in the bottom of the flower pot, remove them to allow drainage and air flow.

Cut flowers – Give orchids the same care as other cut flowers. Place them in lukewarm water, and keep out of direct sun. Change the water every couple days. High humidity will help the flowers last longer.

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