Hey everyone,

I just wanted to remind everyone that I am constantly updating these post as I gather new information, so make sure to check back! If you want updates subscribe to the blog and there is a link to my orchid Facebook page to subscribe to updates as well.

If you have a question or something is not clear please feel free to leave a comment on the blog or through email. If you have pictures then please email me – myfirstorchid@gmail.com. A lot of times when someone does this I end up changing a post to make it more clear or adding an entirely new post, as I recently did when someone was enquiring about dyed blue orchids.

NOTE: most people want to know why their orchid leaves are wilted, why there orchid is rotting etc. – most of these problems are linked to how you water an orchid. Before asking check out my post on watering. Most people (very common mistake) over water their orchids which produces a myriad of problems. That link is HERE.

I welcome questions but overall if you read the other blog post first on watering, fertilizing, repotting etc. it helps both of us know what is going on a little more before you ask a question. I sometimes get people who are so excited about orchids (like me) that they ask a question before reading the other blog post and then I spend a lot do time linking those post in my answers :)

When leaving a comment or emailing it helps to know;

  1. How long you have had your orchid
  2. What type of orchid it is
  3. What the problem/question is
  4. How are you watering it and where it's placed in your house
  5. Also a picture of your “troubled” orchid helps. If you can take a picture that is fine.

Here is a quick guide of terms for you to use when asking questions:

I also wanted give a quick note here: this website/blog is intentionally ad free and I am not an expert. I am a orchid “learner” just like you. That being said I am here to answer questions and not mediate comments left by others. I do not indorse any companies nor any any comments left by viewers. I can only tell you what has worked for me and how I grow orchids:)




Social Media

Hello everyone,

There is now “share” buttons on the bottom of each article! You can now use email, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to share articles you find helpful with others. If you use another social media site and would like for that share button to be added let me know :)

Hope that Helps,



Common Orchid Questions

These are the most common orchid questions I get and a link to my previous post in regards to their answers. I am also constantly updating each post that I have already completed, as I learn more information, so check back! My answers are not exhaustive but I hope they are helpful and if you have questions or comments please leave them. Or if you have a topic that you would like for me to research and post about, please leave that as well.

1. How much should I water my orchid? CLICK HERE.

NOTE: the most common mistake of any new orchid grower is over-watering an orchid which produces root rot and a myriad of other problems. Make sure your doing this right before anything else.

2. How do I repot an orchid? CLICK HERE.

3. Why won't my orchid bloom? CLICK HERE.

4. How do I tell the difference between a root and a spike? CLICK HERE.

5. How do I stake my orchids? CLICK HERE.

6. How much light does my orchid need? CLICK HERE.

7. Am I suppose to fertilize my orchid? CLICK HERE.

8. My orchid has either gnats, fungus and/or rot on it. What should I do? CLICK HERE.

9. Why are my orchid leaves turning yellow? CLICK HERE.

10. Is it okay to mist orchids? CLICK HERE.

Hope that Helps,


Feel free to leave comments or questions.


What is a Keiki?

A Keiki in an orchid is basically a new (baby) orchid. The word Keiki is Hawaiian for, “baby.” A Keiki is going to be the same genre as the mother and will be the same color and likeness. It is very common to either have a Basal Keiki or an Apical/Ariel Keiki.

  • Basal means it is located at or near the base of an orchid.
  • Apical means it grows from the apex of the stem of an orchid….way up high.

As defined above Keiki's can grow in two different locations on an orchid and for two different reasons.

Locations (a Keiki will grow) –

  • Apical Keiki – From an existing stalk with its OWN aerial roots (shown above). These grow way up high on already existing orchid bloom stalk.
  • Basal Keiki – Along side the existing orchid, growing from its base and SHARING the same root system (shown above).

Reasons (a Keiki will grow) -

  • A lot of times an orchid will “save itself” by sprouting a Keiki because it is dying. This happens a lot when crown rot or other types of rot has ruined an orchid.
  • A dormant node on an orchid “decides” to sprout a new Keiki in an otherwise completely healthy orchid. This happens when there is a build up of growth hormones at the node.

What should you do with a Keiki?

You will want to do two different things depending in where the Keiki is located.

A. Apical Keiki – If it is sprouting from an existing sprout, way up high (as shown in the first example – under locations) with it's own aerial roots you will want to the following;

  1. Wait till it has at least three good size roots
  2. Snip it off about 1 or 2 inches down the stalk…don't clip the roots.
  3. Repot it NEXT to the existing mother plant for the first year (if it is time to repot the mother then repot both at the same time, in the same pot). After the first year you may place it in its own little pot. We do this because it's the same genre and it helps to keep it in the same mix it grew from to regulate humidity, watering and fertilization.
  4. When potting it near its mother, make sure the roots are pushed downward with the small shoot that you have cut off. Roots are not malleable unless wet…so I would recommend soaking them in water before doing this.

It may take months before an Ariel Keiki is ready to be cut off below is a time warp picture of an example.

Note: you can keep the Keiki on the existing mother plant and it will bloom but it may look a bit sloppy because it's dangling in the air and it's not grounded. But if you like that look then by all means keep it!

B. Basal Keiki – If it is sprouting from the root base, along side an existing orchid (as shown in the second example – under location), you will want to do the following;

This case is very different from the above one because the Keiki is SHARING the root system of the mother (it does not have one of its own) and therefore CANNOT be separated! In this case you will want to leave it alone. These Keiki's tend to grow really fast because they are sharing the large, already existing and established, root system of the mother.

In the case of a Basal Keiki growing because the mother plant is dying, again you do nothing. The mother plant will die back/fade away and the Basal Keiki will replace it. How cool is that?!

In the case of a Basal Keiki growing because there was a build up of growth hormones on a healthy orchid, again do nothing. The mother and baby will grow side by side and create an even bigger orchid. Again how cool is that?!

Hope that helps,


Please feel free to leave comments or questions


Paphiopedilum orchids are best known as their pseudonym, “The Lady Slipper.” They are really, really cool and unique as far as orchids go because they have one BIG bloom instead of a bunch of small to medium blooms.

The Lady Slipper is a monopodial orchid meaning it does not have a pseudobulb, like the common Phalaenopsis orchid. Monopodial orchids need to be watered more frequently because without a pseudobulb they do not have a water reserve. I treat my Lady Slipper the way I treat my Phalaenopsis orchids in that I wait for their mix to get dry and then water them. Click on this post to see how I water my orchids.

Lady Slippers also need special mix, which I get from rePotme, that helps them keep moist between watering. I also like to fertilize them in the same way I fertilize my other orchids.

  • Spring – production of late blooming and repot when out of bloom
  • Summer – production of new root and leaf growth
  • Fall – production of new root and leaf growth/potential of new spike
  • Winter – production of new spikes and blooms

Hope that helps,


Please feel free to leave comments or questions

Dendrobium Orchids


Dendrobiums are tall with elongated pseudobulbs (stems) topped by modest sized leaves. Their shoots look like bamboo canes and should not be cut back because even after the leaves fall from the oldest pseudobulbs they continue to provide sustenance to the plant. You should only cut them back, if they are shriveled.


Dendrobiums like to grow in a very small pot, often the pot looks ridiculously small compared to the height of the plant. This presents some problems because they tend to be top-heavy. You can keep them from tipping over by placing them in clay pots. You can also use broken brick, cobblestone or pea gravel in the bottom of the pot to weigh it down. Precise staking of Dendrobiums to make them well balanced is also critical. I used twist ties and tied them up around a sturdy stake.


These orchids grow quickly throughout summer and normally take a rest during winter. Dormant buds erupt into shoots from the base of the pseudobulb usually in spring. They should be repotted after blooming and sadly they often resent repotting and in extreme cases can be killed if repotted at the wrong time. Dendrobiums prefer to be repotted only as new growth appears.


These orchids are easy to grown indoors but need more light (they need to be in a bright window in your home) then the popular, Phalaenopsis.

Here's a picture of my Dendrobium that bloomed in January 2012.


Dendrobium Basics

  • Blooms: Winter thru Spring
  • Water: Water thoroughly then allow to dry out briefly between waterings.
  • Light: These orchids like bright light. You can place them near a bright window
  • Temperature: they like a minimum temp of 60 degrees and a maximum of 95
  • Fertilize: I use FEED me
  • New pseudobulbs in the Spring and Summer, rest in the Fall/Winter and Spikes following rest.
  • Natural Cues: Like other orchids they take their bloom cue from the shortening day length in the Fall
  • Repotting: should take place ususally every two years, sooner if they are trying to grow outside of their pot.
  • Potting Mixes: I use Dendrobium Imperial Orchid Mix from from rePotme.

Hope that helps,


Feel free to leave comments or questions.


Oncidium Orchids


Known as the,”The Dancing Lady” this is a beautiful orchid that is jam packed with flowers (as shown above). Their flowers tend to “fall” or cascade down and are much smaller then most orchids. Each flower resembles a tiny lady dancing, which makes them quite fun! Normally their colors range from a yellow, tricolor, or the popular “Red Sharry baby” (which, I have been told, smells like chocolate) shown below…


These orchids are easy to grown indoors but need MORE light (they need to be in a bright window in your home) then the popular, Phalaenopsis.

Don't be alarmed if it seems like your Oncidiums are growing up an out of their pots (as shown below). This is normal for this type of orchid because in nature they would be trying to grow up a tree trunk. And don't be quick to cut off their shoots because many times they will re-bloom off the same shoot! I was told to cut them back only if they turn brown or are rotting.


As far as repotting, Oncidiums like to be slightly under potted in a very free-draining bark-based potting media. I use this. Oncidiums tend to form large clumps of pseudobulbs and develop into rather large plants, which means they can easily be divided when repotting. I have been told to make sure there are at least three pseudobulbs in each division.


Here are two pics of my Oncidium Intergeneric named Wilsonara Kolibri… deep purple!!



Oncidiums Cycle and Needs;

  • Water: You need to water thoroughly then allow to dry out very briefly between waterings.
  • Light: They need bright light.Temperature: Min temp of 55 degrees, max of 95
  • Fertilize: I use FEED ME!.
  • Growth Habit: Grows new pseudobulbs every year. Bloom spikes emerge from new pseudobulbs at the base of the new pseudobulb, usually in fall or winter.
  • Look for: New pseudobulbs in the Spring and Summer, spikes in the Fall, blooms in the Fall or Winter
  • Repot every 1-2 years
  • Potting Mixes: I use Oncidium Imperial Orchid Mix

Introducing my newest orchid – A Miniature Oncidium Twinkle. Of course I named it Twinkle:)

Miniature Oncidiums, the most popular being Oncidium Twinkle, have a remarkable number of flowers for such a small plant. Miniature Oncidiums prefer to be in a small, tight pot and will dry out very quickly. It is a bit of a challenge keeping these little guys moist enough. Still, they are relatively easy to grow and have a generous bloom. Unlike standard Oncidiums, the miniature varieties are less likely to attempt to grow up and out of the pot.

These are diminutive plants, usually 6 inches or less in height.

Hope that Helps,


Feel free to leave comments or questions.



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