Home Gardening Blog

You Can Grow Orchids in Your Home

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You Can Grow Orchids in Your Home
Here it is February, and it is somewhere between winter, spring and an arctic blast.    It is comforting to see flowers in bloom at this time of year.   The Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show happens this time of year because that is when the orchids bloom.  That is why orchids can also be such great plants to grow in your own home.    Here in Kemper’s east window, where the plants enjoy very bright morning sun (without getting too hot) , we have several orchids growing.  We have a Phalaenopsis or moth orchid, Odontobrassia ‘Santa Barbara’ spider orchid, and a Brassolaeliocattleya ‘Mari’s Glory’ a small corsage orchid.  The spider orchid is not blooming but it does have a new pseduobulb, showing potential for future bloom.  The moth orchid has just finished a two year bloom with seed pod developing during this time.  And 'Mari’s Glory' has just opened with two more inflorescences in sheath (getting ready to bloom).  ‘Mari’s Glory’, has been quite a poster child with flowers and or buds present for the past two years and also producing a seed pod during this time.

Many orchids grow on branches of trees in rain forests with their roots out in the very humid air.  Between central air-conditioning in the summer and central heat in the winter time, the low humidity situation of a home can make orchids very uncomfortable.  In order to “fool” the orchids into thinking they are at home in a rainforest we have been growing our orchids in long fiber sphagnum moss.   However, it is not just a question of moisture.  To balance out the moisture you must use the moss in porous terracotta flower pots or orchid pots with lots of holes allowing good oxygen circulation at the same time.

We have been growing our orchids in porous, terracotta, flower pots filled with long fiber sphagnum moss. The orchids seem to consume the moss even drawing nutrients from the moss, for we have to add more moss from time to time.  We use a fertilizer with micronutrients and calcium every few months and occasionally a potassium silicate supplement to help strengthen the plant cell walls for a nice healthy plant. If you would like to learn more about orchids you can grow, check out 10 Best Orchids to Grow in your Home on the Missouri Botanical Gardens Gardening Help website.

We can help answer your gardening questions. By phone, call the Horticulture Answer Service (M-F from 9-Noon @ 314-577-5143) or visit the “doctors” at the Plant Doctor Desk (Monday-Saturday from 10-3.) in the Center for Home Gardening.

Jane Roth, Kemper Horticulture Assistant

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