Saturday, October 17, 2009

What I learned about orchids.

Thomas Puviance, owner of Parkside Orchid Nursery in Ottsville, PA, spoke at the Bethlehem Garden Club meeting this week.

I knew orchids were epiphytic (a plant that grows on another plant but does not depend on it for nutrition.) I knew that Phalaenopsis orchids were one of the easiest to grow. And that’s about it.

Here's what I learned:

- Orchids are not difficult; orchids are different
- Orchid roots need air
- The roots take up water – think rain – absorbed passively through velamen (epidermis of roots)
- Water only when needed – you can judge by weight of the plant or take the whole plant out of the pot and look at it. When in doubt, don’t water.
- Leaf color should be the color of a lime – buy a lime and compare
- There are orchids that need low light, medium light and high light – all orchids need proper light to bloom
- Orchids need a balanced fertilizer – feed weakly, weekly

I visited the Annual Summer Orchid Fest at Parkside several years ago and was blown away with the beauty and profusion of orchids.

As beautiful and exotic as they are, it is not an area of gardening that I am ready to try. Maybe someday.

Photos of Parkside on flickr.
Information for 2010 Parkside Annual Summer Orchid Fest TBA. Includes links to plants for sale, newsletter and more.


maría cecilia said...

Good morning Marie, thank you very much for your so sweet comments in my blog. Yes, I agree with you, definetely orchids are something that I´m not ready to try... I had one once but it was a frustrating experience, think I watered it so much that didn´t live for so long. I believe they need a very special place to bloom when they are not in their own enviroment, like in brazil for example, climate is so humid that thay grow as wild flowers in the forest, very up high in the huge and tall trees.
Have a very nice weekend
María Cecilia
p.s thank you for the lesson on orchids... maybe some time I´ll try them.

Marie said...

Mr. Puviance's talk was very interesting. I wanted to share his information. I'm so glad you liked it.

donna said...

At first, I read your second paragraph to say "a plant that grows on another planet".....! I'm fascinated by orchids but have never attempted to grow one. Your words that orchids are not difficult but different makes them seem less intimidating. Glad to hear there are orchids for low light. Are there orchids for homes with cats??? Nice post. I enjoyed it. I left a comment on your GBBD post a few minutes ago.

Marie said...

It wouldn't surprise me if I had written planet. For September GBBD I typed August (corrected later).

Given your cat's history, it's almost a sure thing that they will eat the orchids. LOL

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