In October, David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that you should also now be planning ahead for next year.
Orchids in pots, especially the ‘Moth Orchid’ or Phalaenopsis, are widely available and popular gifts. Placed on a window sill, they bloom for long periods when pruned, watered and fed correctly. In this article Nathan James Dodd share some important orchid plant care tips.
Good drainage is essential, orchids like a drink but don’t want to be drowned. Water your orchid sparingly every week or 10 days to keep the plant moist but not waterlogged.
There are many orchid care products and you can use Orchid Myst (pictured left) that is inspired by the orchid’s natural habitat, a nutrient rich liquid feed that is sprayed onto the roots and is formulated to support long lasting flowers.
Pruning takes place when the flowers have fallen off and the spike or stem starts to turn brown. Some experts recommend cutting the spike off at the base, so that the plant regains its energy. Others say cut back to the highest ‘node’ allowing the plant to bloom again sooner on the same spike.
On a young plant it might be advantageous to cut back to the base, on older plants prune to just above the highest unflowered green node.
Then move the orchid to a cooler room and apply an specialist orchid feed from Baby Bio or Orchid Focus. Make sure your secateurs are cleaned before pruning another plant to prevent the spread of disease.
Some orchid species including Violacea will bloom successively on the same stem for a considerable time and therefore should not be pruned until eventually becoming unsightly. The general rule with orchid plant care is that if the stem remains green, do not cut it.
When the node begins to swell move the plant back onto the windowsill and a new flowering stem will emerge. After all the nodes have flowered the whole spike can be removed to the base.
Before a new flowering stem grows is a good time for re-potting. Remove the plant from its current pot and untangle the roots, cutting out any old or dead ones.
Place in a slightly larger pot using a moist specialist orchid medium such as Orchid Focus that’s mix containing free draining graded bark, blended with coconut fibre chips. There’s also a re-potting kit available that contains all you need including new pot, mix and clips.
With warmer weather and an early Easter, the garden centre is busy at the moment with customers stocking up on summer bedding plants - snapdragons, cornflowers, cosmos, verbena, phlox, petunia, As well as filling planters, hanging baskets and borders with colour that will last all summer, there are always plenty of jobs to do in the garden during April and David Coton has these suggestions.
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