With a wide range of young orchid plants now on offer at local garden centres and florists, you can choose exciting varieties to grow on yourself.
Here’s how to get your orchid off to the best possible start and keep it producing blooms for many years.
Orchids are now an affordable luxury; their sensational and long-lasting blooms bringing a touch of elegance to any home or greenhouse.
You Will Need
Specialist orchid compost
Specialist orchid feed
Stand the young orchid plants in trays in the greenhouse, well out of any direct sunlight. If the compost looks very dry, water the plants thoroughly until water starts to run out of the bottom of the pot.
Orchid in a pot
Plants can be fed with a soluble fertiliser added to the watering can. Orchid fertiliser is available from most garden centres, or use a general-purpose feed at half strength every third watering.
Making a soluble fertiliser
As the orchid grows it will develop a strong, fleshy root system. When the roots fill the original pot the plant should be potted on into a slightly larger one.
Put crocks in the bottom of the pot to improve drainage. Add specialist orchid compost to the pot and put the plant in place, making sure the compost goes right down the sides of the rootball. Don’t firm down – leave the compost loose to allow water to run straight through.
Repotting an orchid
When the flowering period is over, the old flowering stem can be tidied up. Don’t be in too much of a hurry though as some orchids, such as phalaenopsis, often produce a sideshoot that will bear a second crop of flowers. Watch Alan Titchmarsh explain how to encourage a moth orchid to reflower.
Trimming the orchid stem
Don’t let orchid plants get too hot in summer: they will stop growing above 30°C, so make sure they receive adequate ventilation.