If you’re new to orchids and you’re thinking of starting a collection, check out Orchid Magic. It’s a fun read and the writer asks you to take an oath: I will not kill my orchids.
|Phalaenopsis equestris (Click on pic to enlarge)|
|A plantlet growing at the tip of the spike|
A friend gave me my very first orchid. It was a baby phalaenopsis equestris. I knew I was not doing anything right because for years and years the orchid had only three leaves. Every time a new leaf appeared the oldest leaf would dry up and drop. Then one day the plant decided to bloom and reward me for my patience. Lucky I didn’t cut off the spike after the blooms dried up because a new plant grew on the spike. From one orchid I soon had several new plants and still had many to give away.
|A new spike on the cymbidium aloifolium|
|The spike grows to about one metre|
|Close-up of the cymbidium aloifolium|
The cymbidium aloifolium I got from a colleague who lived a few houses away. I was admiring the plants outside her rented house while waiting for her to get ready for school—we car-pooled—when I noticed this blooming orchid in the dirt under a mango tree. 'Poor orchid,' I remember thinking, 'you should be up in the tree, not crawling on the ground.' Zuraidah let me tease out a plantlet (or keiki—Hawaiian word for baby) from the mother plant and I stuck it in the branches of one of my bushes. One day it bloomed and it has been blooming once or twice a year ever since.
|My cattleya bloomed recently|
I love cattleyas too but I find them very fussy. A few years ago I saw a spike forming in one of my orchid pots and was so excited and looking forward to the bloom. For no apparent reason, the spike refused to let the buds cut through the sheath enclosing them. Then it withered, shrunk and turned brown. There was no flower show. Of the cattleyas, I have only three colours: pure white, white with yellow lip and purple. The pure white cattleya bloomed three weeks ago and the flowers still look fresh. The purple blooms don’t last as long.
I bought one dendrobium anosmum at
Gaya Street several years ago. This plant multiplies quickly, grows very easily and produces a spray of scented, light purple flowers. I dream of my dendrobiums developing multiple spikes so the flowers will look like a thick curtain of lilac stars but I guess that’s asking too much.
|I was so excited when a freak appeared recently!|
|I dream of having a shower like this! (Google pic)|
Orchids don’t need much room and are easy to take care mainly because they are off the ground and weeding (or digging!) isn’t necessary. But you’ve to keep the slugs and snails away otherwise they'll climb up and make your orchids their permanent home. They’ll have no reason to leave when succulent leaves and pretty flowers make ready food.
I sprinkle ‘siputox’, which comes in tiny pellets, under my orchid shed. The snails party on these and ignore my plants. The ‘organic’ method is to put a little left-over food in a bowl/container, add some water (so the solid food is swimming) and leave in your yard. The slugs and snails will have a swimming party and drown! Oh, they love beer too!
Maybe you have orchids and would like to share something about them?