Taking Orchid Notes

Updated 2/27/17

I have a lot of orchids. Once I started this blog everyone kept giving me their orchids once they were out of bloom or if they were dying. I love these orchids and I had to create a system to keep track of them somehow. With so many orchids it is hard to remember when I last watered, fertilized and treated them. I found that taking notes on them is the easiest way stay organized.

Here is some background on my orchids. I repotted 13 of them so far. The other 5 were bought in bloom, off cycle, and I am waiting for them to lose their blooms so I can repot them. And around another 5 were bought in bloom earlier this fall, again not in their normal bloom cycle, and they were repotted but will probably wait till next fall to shoot new spikes.

5 of the 18 shot up new spikes this fall and are about to bloom! Not all my orchids re-bloomed this year, for a variety of reasons. That might not seem like very good luck but most of my orchids were in really bad shape when I got them (rescued from friends etc.), three actually died due to under watering and lack of repotting from a previous owner.

I number each of my orchids and keep track of their habits. Number 5 is my rock star! I successfully repotted it last year and it has spiked beautifully! Here is a picture of it on January 5, 2012.


It has 15 little blooms off it, including a shoot that sprung from another node. I found this plant abandoned and because it was not in bloom, I can’t wait to see what color its blooms will be!

Here is an example of the notes I take on it…

5. Already bloomed orchid Last bloom unknown before Aug. 201. Repotted on Aug 17, 2011. Went up a pot size. Good condition/Healthy roots. Detected spike Sept 15, 2011. Detected new root on 9/29/11. On 10/4/11 and 10/18/11 set bigger spike on stick. 10/27/11 no new dev except spike is bigger. 11/1/11 2nd spike shot off from 1st spike/node!

I also keep track of when I water, fertilize and treat my orchids. Each orchid has a plant label that I number and then write down everything I do to it. This helps with having so many orchids because I lose track of when to fertilize etc.

FOR EXAMPLE: 1/11/11 15, 16 and 17 Got the works (9 day watering difference) 2 and 5 just watered (19 day watering difference)

5, 15, 16, 17 are different orchids I have.

“Got the works” means I watered, fertilized, cleaned the leaves and treated my orchids.

“Just watered” means it’s the 4th time I have watered my orchid and I don’t use fertilizer (or any other product) so as to flush out the salts built up by fertilizing.

And finally, I also like to see how many watering day difference there is which is shown in the parentheses above. I find this helpful because sometimes I can tell by moving my orchids where the dry spots in my house are or if I need to increase humidity etc.

Hope that Helps,


10 Comments on “Taking Orchid Notes

  1. I’m quite the amateur when it comes to fertilizing orchids. I have no clue when is an appropriate time to fertilize depending on the state of the orchid, like if it’s growing new spikes/roots or if it’s already blooming flowers. Do you have a blog post on this subject?

  2. First of all thank you for this awesome website . I liked your idea of keeping track of all you do with each plant .So I made an excel spread sheet . I have 8 Orchids each one has a page complete with photographs and a history of everything that happens to them. Though, I think they are just too pretty to be called 1,2,3 etc so I gave them all girls names , the last Orchid I bought a Catleya is called Hannah . Thanks once again for all you do.

  3. Thank you for your quick response. I was thinking of putting water with pebbles in separate pots NEXT to my orchids in clear pots not in the pots the orchids are in. What do you think?

    • Hi,

      I think it would be easier and more efficient to put them in a tray or platter below the orchids because the water will evaporate up, into and around the orchids instead of beside them contained in a pot that only allows for upward evaporation.

      But you could always try it?


  4. Can I just put pebbles in a ceramic pot with water around my orchids for humidity instead of putting the orchids on the pebbles?

    • Hi,

      Well the point is to have water in and around the pebbles because it evaporates and the water never touches the orchid which could cause root rot (if the orchid is sitting in water). This creates humidity and is helpful for orchid growth.

      Putting pebbles at the bottom of the ceramic pot would create better drainage but that’s about it.


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