Archive for the 'Problems' Category

When You’ve Killed Your Weight in Orchids

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

There’s a saying that you become an orchid expert when you’ve killed your weight in orchids. Some people wince in horror when I repeat that, but orchid lovers usually just laugh and nod. Growing orchids means sometimes making mistakes and killing plants. I’ve grown them for over 25 years, and earned my expert status a […]

Orchid Post Mortem: Oncidium

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Orchid casualties are inevitable in any collection, even for experienced growers. My latest loss was this adorable mini Oncidium species, a victim of some devilish raccoons. I bought this plant many years ago, and always grew it outdoors. It’s been a stubborn species, and only bloomed for me twice. A couple weeks ago, I found […]

Water Conservation

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

With California struggling through another drought, water conservation is essential. For orchid growers, droughts can be a problem. Orchids need moisture, both for watering and for humidity. Even growers who enjoy abundant water should treat it as a precious resource. Some orchids need a lot of water. Lady Slippers and Masdevallias have heavy demands. Cattleyas […]

Orchid Post Mortem: Myoxanthus

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Every now and then, I’m reminded of the adage that you’re not an orchid expert until you’ve killed your weight in orchids. I passed that milestone long ago, and while I kill fewer now, occasionally a weight is added to the scales. For example, I lost this Myoxanthus over the past winter. It died after […]

Ice Cubes and Orchids

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

The Oregon Orchid Society has a helpful webpage about the problems of watering orchids with ice cubes. They offer the same advice as me: don’t use ice with orchids! Their article debunks arguments made by the pro-ice set. Proper orchid culture doesn’t involve freezing. It includes thorough drenchings with room-temperature water and great drainage. Orchids […]

Cutting Off Orchid Roots

Monday, January 20th, 2014

As air plants, many orchids grow roots outside their pots. Popular varieties like Phals and Vandas prefer to grow this way. However, some people find exposed roots unattractive. “Can I cut off my orchid’s roots?” is a common question. Usually the query includes an explanation that the roots stick out of the pot, look ugly, […]

Orchid Light Levels

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Autumn is a good time to check orchid light levels. As days grow shorter and the sun weakens, natural light levels fall sharply. Low light can prevent orchids from blooming. To compensate, growers in temperate latitudes should increase illumination during fall and winter. Your orchids will reward the extra care with strong growth and blooms. […]

Adjust Your Latitude

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Orchids can grow just about anywhere, but growers need to consider their latitude. Degrees of latitude show distance north or south from the equator. Sunlight levels and day length vary greatly at different locations, and knowing your latitude helps you understand how much or how little sunlight is available over the seasons. Find your latitude […]

Shrinking Orchids

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Are your orchids shrinking instead of growing?┬áChanging your orchid care can help your plants grow larger. Healthy plants expand over the years. Added leaves can translate into added flowers. While bigger isn’t always better, it’s often an indication of vigorous plants. Address any of these potential problems which can cause orchids to shrink: Low light […]

Orchid Urban Myths

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

Orchid myths are nothing new. Some myths cause problems for growers, so I’m going to bust these common misunderstandings about orchid care. Myth: Orchids are only suited for gardeners with greenhouses or tropical climates. Growers who have an understanding of basic care can make orchids thrive anywhere. With diverse choices from cool growers to warm […]