Tending Orchids: Don’t Kill Them With Kindness

| 4/4/2011 12:14:58 AM

Tags: orchids, Mary C.,

A photo of MarySomeone just gave you an orchid as a gift. It’s a tropical plant so it needs plenty of moisture right? Wrong. Orchids don’t like wet feet and the easiest way to kill an orchid is over watering. I was hesitant to get an orchid. I didn’t think I had the proper conditions in my house for orchids. Orchids like day time temperatures around 75 and night time temperatures around 65; just what us humans are comfortable with. When I got my first orchid as a gift my first thought was that I didn’t have room among the fifty or so African violets. After I got that first one I did some research and found a site that recommend using 3 ice cubes a week to water them. I’ve been using that system for my original orchid plus the 23 or so I have now.


During bloom season which starts in January to February and lasts for months, I use vermicompost tea for fertilizing my orchids every other week. Vermicompost tea is a fancy term for earthworm compost pee. This tea is the only fertilizer I use on all of my house plants. It’s natural and won’t burn your plants and doesn’t have the salt build up that you get with commercial fertilizers. Whenever I find my ice cube trays, I’m going to make vermicompost ice cubes and use those during bloom season. One worry I have is that a visitor one will think they are frozen tea and use them in their ice tea.

orchid 2


One thing that I would recommend after receiving a new orchid is to repot it as soon as blooming is over. Some are in a clear container inside an outside container which allows you to see how healthy the roots are. Pull the plant out of the pot and if you see Styrofoam or nothing but the Spanish moss, repot it. I bought one in full bloom recently and it did not have a single speck of potting bark, only a pot full of moss. People get these things as gifts, then they die on them, and they get the attitude that they just can’t grow orchids. You can replant it in any type of decorative container. You just have to be careful not to overwater. This is the beauty of using 3 ice cubes; they slowly melt and you don’t have to worry about drowning your orchid. If your orchid starts looking wrinkled, it is an indication that it is not getting enough water. Increase your ice cube by one. Larger pots may need 5 ice cubes. Place in bright, indirect light; direct sunlight will result in sunburned leaves and bloom drop.


5/11/2014 3:03:21 PM

thanks for visiting and commenting, here is a link for care and orchid problems. http://www.justaddiceorchids.com/frequently-asked-questions

5/8/2014 11:54:17 AM

Comments: You cannot use "almost any" decorative container to repot orchids. You need a container that provides good drainage or the roots will rot. You did not mention what type of orchid you water with ice cubes, please do not do it with Phalaenopsis or any warm growing orchid, you will shock the roots and new growth. Wrinkle leaves are not a sign of underwatering. Just the opposite, it is generally an indication of root damage from overwatering, and if you continue to water you will kill the plant. Fact check before you give more bad advice.

Mary Carton
4/17/2011 10:36:24 PM

Sounds like scale to me also. Put some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and wipe off the leaves. Repeat in 3 or 4 days. Mary

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