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Bloomers

A new pal and I were discussing Phalenopsis orchids last weekend, and she was frustrated at her inability to encourage those little suckers to rebloom after bringing them home from the grocery store. 

This is a common frustration.  After years of trial and error and asking fellow orchid fanciers, this is what I figured out about growing Phalenopsis:Image

1)  Come September, put them outside in a filtered-sun place, and let them chill (literally and figuratively) for several weeks.  Once you have a hint that the weather is going to fall below about 40, bring them inside again.

2)  Make sure not to overwater Phals.  Kiss of Death.

3)  They are happiest in filtered light.  East or south exposures seem to work for me.

4)  Mealy bug = Satan.  I don’t know how or why the darn things invade my Phals and African violets, but they do.  I’ve tried every solution known to man.  The most practical solution is the one offered by the grower of the largest orchid farm in our area:  Throw them out.  They’re inexpensive.  Start over. Yes, he and I shared a chuckle over his self-serving advice, but he’s right.  My years of orchid hospice are over.  Unless the plant is one that I really adore and want to spend tons of time fretting over, it hits the recycle bin.

5)  What do you do about those old bloomstalks?  I’ve read that you’re supposed to cut them all the way down to the bottom; down to a node; or leave them alone.  I’ve done all three.  I don’t recommend the first option.

 6)  Don’t let your dog get to the orchids.  Bailey destroyed about a third of them until we found a solution.Image

This is for my pal, V from Aromas

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