SO Gardening May 17

Style Observer

SO Gardening May 17

Sunday, May 17, 2020

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Dear Orchid Doc:

What's the best orchid for beginners?


Dear Beginner:

It's generally agreed that the best orchid for beginners is the Phalaenopsis orchid, also known as the “moth orchid”. These plants are resilient against beginners' mistakes and have a short time to blossom. But, nevertheless, they produce brilliant blossoms that you'll love.

They're also quite abundant and inexpensive, so you could even buy several in case you accidentally kill one of them (which does sometimes happen, sad to say). In general, they're just great plants to practise on when learning about growing orchids!

Dear Orchid Doc:

Is there anything I can do about sunburned leaves?


Dear Kayon:

Sunburn just doesn't affect humans — orchids can be vulnerable to the effects of the sun's rays, too.

Sunburned orchid leaves start out with a yellow spot, and eventually, the spot will turn white. There's not much that can be done when a leaf has suffered sunburn, but you can check the colour of your orchid's roots to make sure it hasn't become dehydrated as a result.

Healthy, well-watered roots will be plump and green, but roots that need more water will appear white or grey. If you notice your orchid's roots could use more water, either increase the watering frequency or amount until you notice the roots have reclaimed their green colour.

Dear Orchid Doc:

My orchid isn't exposed to a lot of natural light. Can I use a grow light?


Dear Chantal:

You can use one even though the grow light isn't as strong as sunlight. Just be sure to supplement it with sunlight, and don't keep the grow light on the orchid all day. Do check the leaves of your plant, however, to ensure they're not receiving too much light. Healthy leaves will be strong and are a medium to light shade of green.

Dear Orchid Doc:

When the blooms are finished on my orchids, I have been told to leave them alone. But they are unsightly. What do you suggest?


Dear Kay:

It depends on the type of orchid:

If it is the Phalaenopsis, or the Epidendrum, then I suggest you just snip them a little at the top to help reproduce new blooms or, in the case of Epidendrum, baby plants.

In the case of the Phalaenopsis, if you are not living in the cooler areas of Jamaica, and you wish to have another bloom before the winter months, then cut above the second node (joint) this will encourage new blooms and in some cases, plantlets.

In the case of Dendrobiums and most others, I suggest you snip them off totally.

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