Friday, February 10, 2012

Sphagnum Moss and Orchid Care

Potting Orchids in sphagnum moss decreases the chance of over-watering. If you water your orchid on the same schedule as plants in more common media such as bark mixes or coconut husk, the sphagnum or peat moss will keep you from over-watering.

Many Orchid sellers deliver some or all of their orchids to customers potted in sphagnum moss. Unfortunately, most orchid buyers are given no information on how to care for the plant in this media. As a result, some buyers have negative experiences that could be avoided. 

The key to success with Orchids is good soil or sphagnum moss and a good location. An orchid is sturdy and can last a long time, and bloom year in and year out, if it likes its location/environment.

Keep your Orchid out of direct sunlight. It likes partial sun and a temperature between 60 and 75 degrees. I did not obtain this particular information from a book, it comes from my personal experience with the Phalaenopsis or Moth Orchid that I'm looking at in my office as I blog on the subject. I've had the orchid pictured above left for a little over a year and this is the second time its bloomed.

In a day or two I will purchase a Blue Orchid from Publics, saw it a couple of days ago as I was grocery shopping. It is a breath-taking plant that symbolizes peace and strength. Once I buy it, the image below will be replaced by my prize possession.

A Blue Dendrobium Orchid, in a nice pot will last for months or even years with proper care. Blue Orchids are often used as part of a wedding bouquet.

It is important to keep in mind that Blue Orchids need water frequently. Take care of it otherwise it will soon wither away. This type orchid can be a challenge for a beginner to cultivate, but with willpower, patience and the correct information, your Blue Orchid will bloom three times in one year.

Humidity is very essential for the growth of Blue Orchids. At the beginning of growth, the plant needs plenty of water. But after that, keeping your Blue Orchid moist is enough to promote grow. Blooms can last 4-6 weeks. My Moth Orchid is in a self-watering pot. I still water it from the soil but I also water it from the bottom, or pour water into the tray. This insures that the plant will maintain the necessary moisture without over-watering.

Orchid Care:

Common Types: Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium, and Cymbidium (outdoor Orchid that can be brought indoors for the blooms).
  • Choose an Orchid with half buds and half blooms.
  • Place the Orchid where it will receive bright, indirect light.
  • Water thoroughly every 2 weeks.
  • When watering, make sure the water runs all the way through the Orchid.
  • Always fertilize when you water your Orchid.
  • Once the Orchid has bloomed, cut the spike about a half-inch above the leaves. Continue to take care of the plant to ensure future blooms.
  • Orchid Plant Food, look for high middle number because it promotes blooming. For example, 19-31-17 = 19 is Nitrogen, 31 is Phosphate, and 17 is Potash. 
More information on Sphagnum Moss and Orchids:

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