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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 – please answer these questions;

  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? How much and and how often?
  5. Does it have a drainage hole?
  6. Also a picture of your “troubled” orchid helps. If you can’t 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:)

Thanks,

Hannah

 

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,

Hannah

 

Read this FIRST!! 

Help! My orchid is potted in a non-draining pot. What should I do?

It has happened to all of us…we are at the store and there is this cute orchid, in a decorative pot. This orchid would be perfect as a last minute gift or you just want to bring it home. Once bought we realize that this orchid is in a pot with NO drainage hole (as shown below). This is wrong on so many levels! Orchids need drainage to survive. They naturally live in the jungle on a tree, with free flowing water. Unlike other plants, orchids hate being in standing water! They WILL die in this environment because they 100% will get root rot eventually. It is essential to have your orchids in a pot that allows water to flow freely out the bottom, check out my favorite pots HERE.

But what to do? Well if you just want to enjoy the blooming orchid and then throw it away go ahead but secretly I will be judging you:) If you want a potted plant, that likes standing in water, I suggest getting a mum or poinsettia. Most people think orchids are impossible to grow, which is the a myth, and they end up throwing them away. This is expensive and not necessary! Orchids are easy to grow as long as you know what to do.

So if you want to see this sweet orchid bloom again and thrive then you have another option. It can be confusing, in this case, because every website says to wait to repot orchids after their blooms have fallen…. NOT in this case! They need to escape this environment ASAP! And unfortunately they may already be lost if their roots have rotted from overwatering. This is because even if they were given the proper amount of water, their roots would be sitting in this water instead of it freely running over their roots and out of the bottom of the pot. Hopefully they have not rotted… If your plant is not dead, do this;

1. GENTLY pull the plant out of the closed container. Hopefully, inside the pot with no drainage, there is another clear plastic container with drainage. If this is the case…leave it alone outside of the “bad” pot. It may need to dry out a bit before you next water it. The next time you water it – follow these watering instructions. Once watered you may put it back in the decorative container but only after the water has flushed through it and out the bottom. I would also wait to put it back in the decorative pot until it has sat outside for an hour or so – just to make sure there is no extra water that may drain out later. Don't water it in the decorative container because the water will just pool at the bottom and not drain out.

2. If there is not an inside clear pot – you are in trouble! – soak it in a tub of water for ten minutes and see if you can gently pull it out. If it won't budge you may have to break to the pot in order to gently take it out.

Moving an already bloomed orchid from one pot to another is called “drop potting” and should only be done in extreme situations such as this. You are not going to want to fully repot. Once you have freed the orchid from the suffocating pot you will want to “drop” (place gently) the orchid, IN ITS ORIGINAL mix into a similar size pot. In extreme situations I cut off the bloom/stem when I realized the roots were so bad that they could not support this bloom and the whole plant would die. Orchids work in a balance between their leaves, blooms and roots. When out of balance they are in distress and can die.

3. Now that your orchid is in a cozy and free draining home let it rest for a bit before watering. Hopefully the new drainage will allow it to bloom happily for months, but quite often you may loose some blooms because repotting an orchid while in bloom can create “bud blast.” This has happened to me….the blooms that were not opened yet, fell off. This does not mean it's dying it is just adjusting to it's new home and is protecting itself by letting it blooms fall off.

4. Once your orchid is done blooming follow these repotting instructions because they will need completely new mix.

Note: Here are more pictures I took at local grocery stores for your reference. These are potted in non draining pots.

Hope that Helps,

Hannah

Feel free to leave comments or questions.

 

Orchid 101

So you just got a brand new orchid and you want to know what to do?

  1. The first thing I do is make sure the orchid has proper water drainage. Most orchids are sold in pots without a drainage hole which produces root rot an eventually kills an orchid as shown here… Click this link.
  2. Then I usually wait to water it till the mix is completely dry. Most orchids are overpacked with mix and then overwatered before we get them to make sure they are still in bloom for the stores that sell them. I water my orchids this way… Click this link.
  3. Then I sit back and enjoy the blooms which may not last long since it has probably been in bloom for quite some time before I got it. Orchids bloom typically for a few months but store bought ones have already been in bloom before they were shipped. These blooms naturally fall off as shown here… Click this link.
  4. Once the blooms fall off naturally I cut the bloom stem back as shown here… Click this link.
  5. I then typically repot them as shown here… Click this link.

Do you have a question? I love helping people out and answering questions!

Here is some info on that:

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 of time linking those post in my answers :)

When leaving a comment or emailing – please answer these questions;

  • How long you have had your orchid?
  • What type of orchid it is – it’s fine if you don’t know
  • What the problem/question is
  • How are you watering it? How much and and how often?
  • Does it have a drainage hole?
  • Also a picture of your “troubled” orchid helps. If you can’t take a picture that is fine.

Hope that helps,

Hannah

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. This mistake and orchids not having a drainage hole is a deadly mistake.

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.

Do you have a question? I love helping people out and answering questions!

Here is some info on that:

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 of time linking those post in my answers :)

When leaving a comment or emailing – please answer these questions;

  • How long you have had your orchid?

  • What type of orchid it is – it’s fine if you don’t know

  • What the problem/question is

  • How are you watering it? How much and and how often?

  • Does it have a drainage hole?Please read this first * (see below).

  • Also a picture of your “troubled” orchid helps. If you can’t take a picture that is fine.

Orchids with NO drainage holes.

* This is a very common thing for florist to pot orchids in pots like these but it actually kills orchids. Orchids need to have total drainage or their roots smother and die as explained here..

Look for an inner pot inside the white one. If it has one take it out and discard the white pot. If it doesn’t -find a similar size pot with drainage and place it in there until the blooms fall of naturally and then repot it.

If you totally repot while in bloom the blooms may prematurely fall off because repotting shocks and orchid.

Once you have the orchid in a pot with drainage let it totally dry out before watering it again and then when you go to water – water it this way

Note: Here are pictures I took at local grocery stores for your reference. These are potted in non draining pots.


Hope that helps and let me know if you have further questions,

Hannah

I have many orchids. I keep notes on them to stay organized. I keep them on humidity trays in a large window seat in my living room.

Here are pictures of the ones that I have the longest. This is not by any means all the orchids that cycle threw my house. I “save,” (I am given many orchids – that are done blooming and did not sell – by local florist) repot and giveaway a ton each year. So, check back because I will be updating this post, as they bloom. This post is mostly for me so I can see what my orchids look like through the years:)

1. Phalaenopsis orchid from Aldi.

2011

2012

2013/2014

2015 – bloomed 6/1/15 8 blooms

#2. Phalaenopsis orchid from Aldi.

2011

2013 – bloomed after almost three years of bring dormant!! Color changed to white – 5 big blooms

2015 – 7/19/15 – 5 white blooms
 

#3. Already bloomed orchid from Garden Heights

2013 (2/8/13) – 8 medium dark pink blooms – hasn't bloomed since 2011

2013 (12/1/13) bloomed 2x this year – 10 medium dark pink blooms – 1 stalk with two branches!!
#4. Already bloomed orchid from SHT 1/1/11
2013 (3/5/13) – 6 big dark pink blooms – hasn't bloomed since 2011
2013/2014 (12/21/13) bloomed 2x this year – 9 big dark pink blooms – 1 stalk with several branches!!
#5. My Rockstar Orchid!
2012 – 15 blooms!

2013 – 20 blooms!

2014 – waiting for it to bloom / it has spiked / I accidentally knocked the tip of the spike so it is taking longer

#6. Phalaenopsis orchid from Jesse for my birthday from Aldi on 10/29/11.

2011

#7. Phalaenopsis orchid from Trader Joes on 11/5/11.

2011

2013
2014
2015 – spiked 1/11/15 Bloomed 6/11/15 5 blooms

 

8. Phalaenopsis orchid bought from Trader Joe's on 11/28/11.

Has not bloomed since 2011
#9. Phalaenopsis orchid pink/white orchid from Aldi.
2011

2012

2013 – slightly lighter this year with 7 blooms

2014 – waiting for bloom / it has spiked

2015 – spiked 1/11/15 Bloomed 5/29/15 4 blooms

#?. Phalaenopsis orchid from Trader Joes on 11/26/11. Need to look into this…

2011 thru 2012

#10. 2013 – did not bloom
#11. Twinkle Oncidium orchid bought and bloomed in 2012.
2013 1-1-13
2013 (11-11-13) bloomed 2x this year!!
#12. Phapiopedilum orchid “Lady Slipper” from Bowood Farms
2012 – bloomed but didn't get a picture
2013
2014 – it spiked and waiting for it to open:)
2015 – 1/28/15 – changed mix
#13. Phalaenopsis for Mother's Day from Bowood Farms – this orchid passed away:(
2013
#14. Phalaenopsis orchid for Mother's Day from ProFlowers
2013
15. Phalaenopsis orchid from Schnucks for my bday 10/29/13.
2013
16. Cattleya “George Hausserman – Carl” from Hawaii for my bday 10/29/13
2013 – not in bloom when purchased – this orchid passed away:(
17. Blue Vanda “Prao Sky blue – Phathai” from Hawaii for my bday 10/29/13
2013 – not in bloom when purchased – potted in a vanda box that I will hang up
Hope that Helps,
Hannah
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,

Hannah

Please feel free to leave comments or questions

 

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