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Grow the best - Orchids

Feed your Orchids every alternate wateringTo grow the best orchids is much easier that one thinks and they are extremely rewarding. There are two popular orchids that are the most freely available and a treat to grow. The Moth Orchid, Phalaenopsis have become very popular as they can flower for months on end and flower throughout the year. Cymbidiums flower in late winter through spring and provide spectacular sprays of flowers that last for ages even when cut for the vase. If you get the three key points right the rest falls into place and you will have great pleasure from these spectacular plants. The three things to consider are light, positioning and feeding.

Simple tips to grow the best Cymbidiums

Cymbidiums are spectacularOriginating in Asia and north India Cymbidiums became popular during the Victorian era. One feature that makes the cymbidium so popular is the fact that the plant can survive cold temperatures as low as 7 degrees and that they flower freely.

Where to place them: Grow them outside under trees or where they get cool shade from the house or a structure. When they are in flower move them indoors to bright light position, as long as they do not get sun through a window they will do well. Outside Cymbidiums need the drop in day and night temperature to set their flower spikes so keeping the cool particularly in autumn is important.

Watering: Indoors keep your Cymbidium slightly dry, watering only every 10-14 days and the water must run out the bottom of the pot. Do not let them stand in water. Outside through summer keep them well watered but not wet. Always make sure that the water runs through the pot to ensure that all the plant roots get sufficient moisture.

Feeding: The Orchid mix that they need to grow in provides little to no nutrients for Cymbidiums and you need to feed them regularly all year to get a good show for spring. Feed with Pokon Orchid food or Nitrosol every two weeks. When they are indoors in flower feed them every alternate watering.

Aftercare: Once your Cymbidium orchid has finished flowering cut the flower stem out totally and move the plants outside.

Re-potting: Most orchids like to be root-bound. If your plant is very full in the container you know it's about time to re-pot your orchid. However, only re-pot it if it's not in bloom. Take the plant out of the pot and remove the old bark. Cut away any dead or compacted roots from the bottom of the root-ball. If you decide to divide the plant try and keep three to five-bulb groupings. If you divide them too much they will take up to four years to come into flower again. Usually about 5 centimetres between the plant and the side of the new container is sufficient. When placing the plant in the pot, position the bulbs so they sit just a little into the surface of the Orchid Mix and so that the newest growth is in the centre of the pot, with room to grow.

Simple tips to grow the best Moth Orchids

Moth Orchids are so opulentGrowing in trees naturally in Taiwan and the Asian islands one can easily see how they have become synonymous with tropical gardens. Originally named Moth Orchids because in the region first discovered by plant collectors there where large moths at the time and the Phalaenopsis petals where shaped like their wings.

Where to place them: Medium to bright light is preferred and avoid direct sunlight though a window.  Moth Orchids need good air circulation and make sure your orchid is away from the heater.  They prefer slightly humid conditions so in our dry winter weather you can increase humidity by misting your plant foliage in the morning. Do not mist at night.

Watering: Before you water your Phalaenopsis, make sure it is dry to touch. If it is still wet, do not apply any more water. In general, your orchid plant needs to be watered every 7-10 days in summer and 10-14 days in winter. Do not allow your orchid plant to stand in water. Feed with Pokon Orchid food every second time you water.

Aftercare: Once your orchid has finished flowering cut the stem about 2cm below the first bloom. Sometimes a branch will emerge with more blooms from one of the nodes on the stem. If nothing happens in 6-8 weeks, cut the flower stem all the way back. A new spike will form after its resting period. To re-bloom place your orchid near a south window or somewhere in the house where it's warm during the day and cool at night. A difference between night and day is required to stimulate flowering.

Re-potting: If your plant is showing a lot of roots, whether inside or outside the pot, you know it's about time to re-pot your orchid. However, only re-pot it if it's not in bloom. Clean the roots and cut the dead ones off. Try to avoid hurting the healthy root tips when you re-pot your orchid, just gently wrapped the roots with new sphagnum moss or with orchid mix.