Are you up for nudging the winter blues away? I am. Lately, I’ve been orchid stalking at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Conservatory. January in Minnesota can be brutally hard unless you know the right places to hang out. For orchid lovers, or those who just need the sight of a bloom or two (or more) to make it through their week, the Minneapolis Twin City Area provides many options. Luckily, the indoor orchids are stunning right now and nudge those winter blues right out the door!
Cheery and gorgeous, winter blooming orchids wash away that drag-me-down, depressed-weather feeling. Their free-spirited, funky orchid colors and shapes always rejuvenate me. I wish I had a favorite, but I don’t. I honestly haven’t met an orchid yet that I couldn’t appreciate in some way.
For years I’ve been an orchid gazer, quietly lurking about at exhibits and shows. I’ve been content to take in their beauty and then leave…..
Okay, that isn’t the whole truth. While I’ve happily taken in their beauty, I’ve also always wanted to grow one or two (or more), but shied away because they seemed difficult. You know, that kind of temperamental difficulty that makes you think you don’t want to go there. I’ve thought others may be more equipped to handle the obvious quirkiness an orchid brings. I’ve always thought my growing talents lent themselves better to tomatoes, peppers and typical garden varieties.
BUT…. if you’re like me and you’re seeing more orchids at your grocery store, larger box garden centers, and smaller gift shops, it’s because breeders have been busily creating hundreds (thousands??) of different hybrids of a more easily grown Phalaenopsis orchid.
I know. I know. Sometimes hybrids get a very bad reputation. But many orchid species and the lands they naturally exist on are endangered (see Orchid Daze). It’s more responsible for us to grow hybrids rather than raid natural orchid growing terrain. Not only that, hybrids are great choices for beginning orchid growers like me. Maybe you, too? The Phalaenopsis orchids love the warmer environment of a home, they do not need a dormant period, the blooms last for many weeks, and they come in absolutely stunning colors.
All of the orchids I’m displaying in this post are Phalaenopsis. They’ve been developed to be easy houseplant style orchids. They’re the best choice for beginners.
If you’d like to grow an orchid or two (or more) and have hesitated, this is the year for you to bring one home. These types of orchids are everywhere right now so it shouldn’t be too hard to find one. If you do decided to join us orchid growers, here’s a few helpful tips to keep your new Phalaenopsis growing.
Tips to A Happy Phalaenopsis Orchid
Keep your Phalaenopsis orchid healthy by:
- Managing its daily light. Place your orchid in a bright window that doesn’t get direct sun light such as an east or west facing window.
- Watering sparingly. (More orchids are killed by over-watering rather than under-watering). Allow your orchid to dry out between watering. Remove the top layer of sphagnum moss and feel if the roots are drying. When they are, or if they are turning silvery white, it’s time to water. (I’ll post a picture of this in the near future.)
- Monitoring room temperatures. Daytime temps should be kept between 70-85° F and evening temps shouldn’t dip below 65° F.
- Fertilizing in small doses. If you feel it is necessary during the spring and summer months, a weak solution of any 20-20-20 fertilizer may be used. You needn’t spend money on specialized orchid fertilizer.
- Waiting to repot. Be advised your orchid will send roots up and out of the pot. This is normal and do not be alarmed. Repot your orchid every 2-3 years (in the spring) using a fast draining medium such as bark.
If you purchase an orchid, be sure to let me know by connecting with me via Facebook or Instagram. I’d love to see a photo. The above photo is my new ‘Mad Milva’ Phalaenopsis orchid. I purchased it from my local IGC. I’m loving the deep redish-purple blooms.
If you’re interested in orchids, please check back. I have some lovely photos of Nuns-hood and Rabin’s Raven Phauis orchids that I can’t wait to share. I’ll be posting them later this week. Until then, stay warm!