Its all about the Orchids today…

 Hello again, McVitie here!

Did you all have a good weekend?  I got my walk on Ramsey Beach as promised and then slept for most of the day, despite Heidi’s cats pestering me and sleeping in MY bed!

It is a miserable rainy Monday here at Tynwald Mills, but I have a comfy cushion and steady stream of cuddles and attention from The Flower Studio customers (and the Postman, who always has biscuits in his pocket!!).

A lot of people have been buying Phalaenopsis orchids from the shop today, so I thought I would let Heidi share some of the top care tips that we give our customers…  I would tell you myself, but I have a Jumbone to finish…

 Don’t overwater them!  Orchids hate their roots to be standing in water and this is the top killer of these beautiful plants, as people tend to water them the same as they do their other houseplants.  The best way, so I’ve found, to water an orchid is to fill a large bowl with tepid water (and orchid food if you have it) and dunk the plastic pot under the water for a couple of minutes.  Then leave the plant to drain before putting it back in its decorative pot.  Let the roots dry out slightly between watering.

They love Sun… but not directly.  An East or West facing window is perfect.  The orchid leaves should be firm and green… if they become floppy, the plant is getting too little (or too much) sunshine.  I discovered this after moving from a second floor apartment to a basement flat… my orchids were not impressed!

They will re-flower!  And it is so satisfying when they do!   When the current stem has finished flowering, cut it back to just above one of the joints (nodes) in the stem.  With any luck, a new shoot will come from this.  If is doesn’t, don’t worry.. cut the stem right back down to the base of the plant, and it should send up a brand new one.

Cool nights are best.  An orchid will thrive when there is a tempreature difference of  8 – 10 degrees between day time and night time.  Putting the plant in an unheated room, such as a consevatory or bathroom is usually enough, but never subject the plant to a cold draught or warm blasts of air.

To re-pot or not?  Phalaenopsis orchids actually like to be pot bound, and their flowering performance is better if the roots are slightly constricted.  However, if you have had your orchid for a few years, it might benefit from some fresh bark and a spring clean!  Gently remove the orchid from the pot and shake off any bark from the roots.  Check the roots and cut off any that are brown, or have signs of mould.  Never plant orchids into soil… it is too moist… most large garden centres should stock Orchid Bark.  Place the orchid back into a clean pot, and start gently packing the roots with bark until the plant sits firm in the pot and doesn’t wobble.  Leave the orchid somewhere cool and out of the sun for a couple of days and then move back to its usual place.

What to look for when you buy a Phalaenopsis orchid….

  • Firm green leaves
  • Roots that are silvery/grey, with green tips
  • Clean bark, with no sign of mould
  • Flower buds that are firm.  If they are soft and wrinkled, they will more than likely have fallen off by the time you get your plant home.

That is all for today from us… we will see you tomorrow!


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