A special bunch!

GARDENING

A special bunch!

Strange, yet beautiful and long-lasting. Orchids are flowers that are loved by many. They grow in special climatic conditions, yet you will find them in many household gardens. There are four popular orchid types including cattleyas, phalaenopsis, paphiopedilums and oncidiums. These orchids are not only beautiful, but are also among the easiest to grow.

“When you say orchids, people mostly talk about its beauty. To me, orchids are a challenge to grow. Growing them is a hobby that will not allow you to get bored and you will never know all there is to know about these beautiful flowers,” says Phillomena D’Costa, an orchid enthusiast.

Orchids are exotic plants, and their presence in City households conjures up the ambience of wild rain forests with emerald mosses and lacy ferns giving your backyard the most natural designs. Orchids have many different shapes, sizes and colour. Some of the orchids are available in colours such as green, purple, red, white and yellow. The foliage is usually green, but some of them have beautiful leaves with intricate mottling and variegation. When it comes to fragrance, some may smell like rotten meat, some have fragrances such as lemon, hyacinth, watermelon and coconut.

These flowers are delicate and graceful. Each coloured flower carries with it a special meaning. Orchids are offered during celebrations, from birthday parties to anniversaries, wedding parties, ceremonies and even during illnesses. A bunch of orchids can be a part of all significant and special moments.

Once considered the hobby of the rich, today, orchids have become popular as flowering houseplants thanks to some recent advances in propagation techniques, improved cultivars and affordability. With a reputation of being difficult to grow, orchids are quite resilient, and can survive for many years in a City house with proper care.

With respect to growth, the requirements within the orchid family vary greatly. The ideal location for the plant in a house is on a windowsill. A south-facing window is the best location for optimum results. If a south-facing windowsill is not available, the next option can be an east-facing windowsill, then west and finally a north-facing window. In case there is no sufficient natural light, artificial light can be used. For best light transmission, keep the windows and foliage clean from dust. Orchids that do not get sufficient light will be dull and dark green. The ones receiving sufficient light will have a light medium green colour.

Most often than not, death in houseplants is caused by overwatering and orchids are no exception. There are several methods to determine when a plant needs water and when it does not. The most common way is to insert your finger near the centre of the flower pot. If the soil is dry, the plant is in need of water. If it is wet, then wait.
Fertilisers for orchids in a household environment depends largely on the type of plant being grown. A good general rule would be to use fertilisers once a week while the plant is producing new growth, at other times the use of fertilisers must be kept to a bare minimum.

The most common mistake orchid growers make when choosing their first orchid is to purchase the showiest plant. Unfortunately, the showiest orchids are often the most difficult to grow.

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