Monthly Archives: April 2017

Winter Composting the 3-Bucket Way


It’s cold outside and the compost pile is frozen. Do you really feel like hauling kitchen scraps out into the winter wasteland only to have them picked through by scavengers when there isn’t enough bacteria available to break them down? Fortunately, there is an alternative. Keep your kitchen scraps cooking this winter and producing buckets of black gold for the garden next spring while you stay warm and cozy. Try the three-bucket system in your basement or heated garage – no odor, no pests and very easy!

The 3-Bucket System

Try these easy steps for the 3-bucket composting system in your basement or heated garage, where there is just enough warmth to keep the system operating without the microbes and outer layers of the compost freezing. Five-gallon painter buckets with lids work great or plastic trash cans with lids make the job a cinch. Even better are cans with wheels, so you can easily move your compost out to the garden for spring use!

  1. Fill bucket #1 with sawdust or peat moss mixed with equal parts dry soil. Add a little limestone and cover with lid.
  2. On the bottom of bucket #2, place about one inch of dry straw, leaves or shredded newspaper. Dump your kitchen scraps on top as they become available, each time sprinkling on some of the sawdust/soil mixture from bucket #1 to absorb odors and excess moisture. If you have a lot of scraps to add all at one time, portion them out and add as smaller amounts, covering each addition with the sawdust/soil mixture. Replace the lid after each addition. If there are any large pieces of scraps you may want to chop them smaller before adding to help speed the decomposition process. If your scraps are holding excess water, let them drain well before adding them to the bucket.
  3. When bucket #2 is full start filling bucket #3, using the same process you used with bucket #2. By the time bucket #3 is full, the contents of bucket #2 should be well on the way to becoming compost. Despite calling this the 3-bucket system, you can actually keep adding as many buckets as you need through the winter, but number them appropriately so you can keep track of which ones are most composted to be used first.
  4. Use and enjoy in the spring!

While the 3-bucket compost system won’t replace your compost pile, it’s still a great way to continue composting through the winter so you have plenty of rich, organic material to add to your garden in spring. Don’t let the scraps and waste from winter days be lost in the trash – turn that trash to treasure for your garden!

Bloom Phalaenopsis, Bloom!


Elegant Phalaenopsis, or moth orchid, is said to be the easiest orchid to coax into bloom. Although this is true, you must first be aware of the basic needs of this plant in order to be successful in cultivating it.

Understanding how the moth orchid grows in its native environment is helpful in replicating optimal conditions at home. Phalaenopsis have thick roots and grow not in ground soil but above the ground on tree branches and rocks. They receive filtered sunlight under the jungle canopy and are accustomed to high tropical humidity. So, how do we imitate a jungle in our living room to coax these plants to bloom their best?

Light

Inadequate light is the most common reason that Phalaenopsis orchids fail to bloom.

Moth orchids prefer bright, indirect or filtered light. Too much direct light and this plant’s leaves will burn; not enough light and it will not bloom. In the summer, this is easy – we can place our houseplants outside in a location selected specifically for the plant’s light optimal requirements. Phalaenopsis flower spikes, however, begin to form in the late fall to early winter when sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere is not as bright and days are shorter. Place your orchid in a south or southwest-facing window with a sheer curtain between the window and the plant. This should be enough of a filter to prevent sunburn. If a southern exposure is not possible, consider supplementing the winter light with a full spectrum grow light.

Temperature

In nature, lower temperatures trigger Phalaenopsis to bloom. Leaving your moth orchids outside for at least two weeks in the fall is generally sufficient to initiate a bloom spike. Do not allow your orchid to experience temperatures lower than 58 degrees Fahrenheit, however, or the orchid will be damaged or may even die. After this short period of cooler temperatures, a room that is comfortable for people, between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, is best.

Soil

Orchid roots need oxygen to survive and should never be planted in soil. Often, Phalaenopsis orchids come planted in long fiber sphagnum peat moss. You must be very careful using this medium as it holds a great deal of water, which creates the perfect environment for root rot. The best growing medium for moth orchids is a quality orchid mix consisting of bark, perlite and charcoal. This mixture drains quickly yet holds adequate moisture for optimum root health. Bark, like all natural materials, breaks down over time and must be replaced with a fresh mixture every couple of years. Repotting should be done in late spring or early summer after blooming is complete.

Water

Orchid bark should be allowed to become almost dry, but never fully dry, before watering. To test, stick your finger into the planting mixture up to the first finger joint. Bark that feels almost dry at this depth should be watered. Hosing plants off in the bathtub or sink is a good way to water and allows you to rinse dust from plant leaves at the same time. Be mindful to drain any water that accumulates in the leaf crown after watering to prevent disease.

Humidity

Winter heat and summer air conditioning rob moisture from the air in our homes, which makes the environment more like a desert than a tropical rain forest. Low humidity can cause your orchid to abort its flower buds. Setting your orchids on humidity trays, grouping plants together and misting your orchids are all helpful methods in creating a more humid environment. You may also want to consider a humidifier in the same room as the orchids to promote an even more orchid-friendly environment.

Fertilizer

Phalaenopsis orchids should be fertilized regularly to promote plant health and good flowering. When the orchid is not in bloom, apply one-half the recommended dose of a complete fertilizer, 20-20-20, weekly or with each watering. During the winter months, reduce the frequency of fertilizing to once a month using a houseplant fertilizer labeled as a blossom booster at, again, one-half the recommended strength. Be certain to read the fertilizer instructions fully before using and never apply at a higher rate or with greater frequency than recommended as you may burn tender plant roots and perhaps kill your orchid.

Pruning

When your moth orchid has finished blooming, cut back the flower spike at the base. This will give your plant a rest and allow it to build up energy for its next bloom. You may also prune back to above a node in the flower spike, forcing the plant into a second bloom that will have smaller flowers and fewer blooms.

Once you understand the unique needs of Phalaenopsis, you may find these orchids even easier to grow than you’ve believed, and you’ll enjoy their beauty and distinctiveness all year long.

Vegetable Gardening With The Seasons


Want to grow vegetables in every season? Generally, vegetables can be divided into cool-season, warm-season and hot-season crops. The key to extending your gardening season to the limits is successive garden planting and planning. Planting cool-season crops in early spring, followed by warm-season plants, then ending in the fall with cool-season crops again will help you make the most of your growing season. At the same time, your planting should include staggering plantings every two weeks along with selecting early, mid-season and late varieties so the harvest is equally distributed.

Cool-Season Crops

To begin, you will want to plant your cool-season crops: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage (early and late varieties), Brussels sprouts, and others (see list below). Many of these crops can be started indoors, then transplanted out to the garden when the conditions are best. To extend the season even more or to get an early start, you can try some season-stretching devices that protect plants until the weather warms up, such as Wall-O-Water, cold frames and row covers.

  • Wall-O-Water is an innovated, insulated frame fits over top of the plants to form mini-greenhouses.
  • Cold frames are boxes with translucent tops that allow sunlight in, but keep the cold winds out.
  • Row covers, like remay fabric, are put over top of the plants to keep them protected.

Warm-Season Crops

After getting your cool-season crops planted and transplanted into the garden, you may want to start seeds indoors for your warm-season crops such as cantaloupes, squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and pumpkins. Starting the seeds indoors will extend the growing season, letting you enjoy these crops even if the “warm” part of your season may not be long enough for them to fully  mature. Set out warm-season crops just after the last spring frost. These types of starter plants will also be available in late April and May.

Hot-Season Crops

Hot-season plants like lima beans, okra, snap beans, sweet potatoes, watermelon, corn and eggplant cannot tolerate frost or cold soil. These crops should not be planted until three weeks after the warm-season plants. Season extenders can make conditions more favorable to plant these crops slightly earlier, but they can be more delicate if planted too early. Like warm-season crops, however, it is possible to start these seeds indoors so the plants are more mature and more resilient to be planted outdoors as soon as possible.

Back to Cool-Season Crops

In early fall, cool-season crops can be planted again so they grow into fall and winter. Brussels sprouts, cabbage, some varieties of lettuce, parsley and spinach tend to be the most cold-hardy vegetables and can even recover from a hard frost late in the season.

With care and planning, it is possible to enjoy your growing season for far longer than the weather may dictate, and you’ll have a much more bountiful, varied harvest to show for it!

Sow & Grow In Cool Spring and Fall Soil:

  • Artichoke
  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage (early & late varieties)
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Collards
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce (head and leaf varieties)
  • Mesclun
  • Mustard
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Parsnip
  • Peas
  • Potato
  • Radicchio
  • Radish
  • Spinach

Start Indoors & Transplant or Sow Seeds In Late Spring:

  • Beans
  • Cantelope
  • Corn
  • Celery
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

Variegated Solomon’s Seal


If you don’t already grow variegated Solomon’s Seal in your shade garden, this is the year to start. This charming, visually appealing perennial is similar to hostas, but has its own unique character that will add beauty, texture and interest to your landscape. Furthermore, it is deer-resistant, making it perfect for a yard that may lose a few too many plants to wandering wildlife.

About Variegated Solomon’s Seal

Variegated Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum falcatum ‘Variegatum’) is a low-maintenance plant native to Europe and Asia. A landscaping favorite for its overall beauty and visual richness, it sports 2-3-foot tall gracefully arching, reddish or burgundy stems. The stems are lined with narrow green leaves streaked in pure white. Beneath the stems, in pairs, from late spring to early summer, drip tiny, fragrant, bell-shaped white flowers. In the autumn, small, round, black fruit replaces the flowers and leaves turn golden yellow. Overall, these clumping plants grow 2-3 feet tall and wide, making them a suitable size for many different landscape designs. As clumps grow, they can be divided every 2-3 years in spring to give you even more of these lovely plants to work with, or you can allow the colony to naturalize in your landscape for a lush carpet of foliage and flowers.

This plant is quite hardy and is not seriously bothered by either insects or diseases, though snails and slugs can be a problem. Leaf spot and rust are very rare problems and easily overcome with diligent care.

Variegated Solomon’s Seal in Your Landscape

These are versatile plants that can do well in any full or part-shade area of your landscape. Add Solomon’s Seal to a woodland garden or shady border, or beneath a broad, spreading tree. This is a great plant to anchor rain gardens, because it likes moist soils and is not overly sensitive to too much water. At the same time, it will also tolerate drought and drier soils, making it an ideal addition to add growth and greenery to rock gardens.

Variegated Solomon’s Seal can look stunning on its own, or adds even more texture and interest when planted with hostas and ferns or when filling in spaces between other shrubs or ornamental grasses. Plant it in fertile, moist, well-drained soil, preferably in fully shade or only minimal dappled sun. Amend the soil with compost as needed, especially while the plants are young. Water well until the plants are established, then enjoy the beauty as this low-maintenance wonder takes good care of itself.

Colorful Clematis – America’s Favorite Flowering Vine


When it comes to flowering vines, few can rival the excellent performance clematis provides with its profusion of colorful blooms, and this plant is largely pest-proof and disease-free. With a few tips, you can successfully grow America’s favorite vine in your garden this spring!

Selecting a Variety

Clematis comes in a wide variety of colors: purple, pink, red, lavender, mauve, blue and white as well as blends of more than one color. There are over 200 varieties in all, and most plants bloom for several weeks in May and June with a few sporadic flowers in fall. Others bloom in summer, and a few varieties flower from late summer into fall.

Choosing a Location

Clematis performs best in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day – this is especially true with later blooming varieties like ‘Lady Betty Balfour.’ They also need moist, well-drained soil. Because clematis climbs by curling or twining leaf tendrils, stalks or stems around a support system, a location with a trellis, arbor or fence is essential to provide adequate structure so the plant can show off its full beauty.

Planting

To give clematis a good start in your yard, dig a hole slightly deeper than the rootball of the plant and twice as wide. Add about one-third peat moss, compost or other organic matter to your soil to provide sufficient nourishment. Clematis prefers a neutral pH, so you may need to amend the soil with lime if your soil is acidic.

Without handling too much, plant the clematis rootball slightly above the ground and water well with plant starter fertilizer. Next, add about 2-3 inches of mulch, but keep the mulch away from the stem of the plant so as not to encourage stem rot. This layer of mulch is important because clematis prefers cool, moist roots. The mulch will also discourage weeds while the plant is getting established.

Maintaining Your Clematis

To assure full, healthy plants, you will want to prune your clematis back to about 12 inches the first and second spring. After then, you should refer to specific pruning instructions for each variety. Generally, the following pruning practices should be followed:

  • Type 1: Early Flowering Clematis (macropetala, alpina and montana types) – These plants produce flowers on wood that was grown the previous year and should be pruned within a month after flowering in the spring. Thin out weak or dead branches, lightly prune side branches to 1-2 buds and leave the main branch alone. Train or guide branches as required.
  • Type 2: Early Large-Flowering Clematis – These varieties bloom on the previous season’s wood and on new shoots, blooming from early to late summer. These varieties should have one-half of the previous summer’s growth pruned back in late winter before new growth starts. Remove dead or damaged stems and cut back all other shoots to where strong leaf-axil buds are clearly visible. Immediately after flowering, cut one-quarter to one-third off the main shoots to within a foot or so of the base. Water and feed well. Train or guide new growth as required.
  • Type 3: Late Small- and Large-Flowering Clematis – Cut these types back hard to the lowest pair of strong buds on each stem (usually about two feet) in late winter just as leaves begin to open. These varieties will bloom on wood produced in the upcoming spring months.

Clematis should be fed monthly during the growing season with 5-10-5 fertilizer or in early spring and again in early summer with a slow-release fertilizer. You will also want to check the pH of the soil periodically to keep it neutral, and refresh the mulch as needed to protect the roots. With just a little care and appropriate pruning, these lovely vines will bring gorgeous color and structure to your yard for years.

Winter Interest in the Garden


Many gardeners think of the fourth season as a time for rest, but winter can be interesting and fun to plan for a bold, appealing landscape. While most of us plan our landscapes for bloom times in spring and summer, there are many plants offering color and texture appeal for the cold season landscape.

Winter Beauty in Your Landscape

Winter is a time of special beauty and interest. Berries sparkle on shrubs under a layer of frost and ice, while other shrubs have shades of bronze leaves that cling and rattle in winter breezes. The leafless branches of larger trees cast dramatic shadows across the freshly fallen snow. Bark hidden by the leaves of summer stands out gorgeously in the winter. Barks of silvery gray, white, green, yellow, purple or red hues add a burst of color when the landscape is covered in white. Even barks that are deeply fissured, sleek as satin, peeling in thin layers or curiously pocked by a pitted surface give interest to a wonderful winter landscape. Dried grasses stand out in bright contrast against the backdrop of dark evergreens, shaking snow off their delicate heads. There is even the surprising yellow ribbon-like blooms of witch-hazel which flower in mid-winter or the delicate lavenders and blues of tiny species of crocuses under the snow. Pansies are also a great addition for late-season winter color in your flowerbeds. Everywhere you look, there can be beauty in the winter landscape.

Top Plants for Winter Interest

Many different plants offer interesting features that reach their full potential in the winter landscape. Popular options include…

  • Paperbark Maple (Acer grisium)
  • Threadleaf Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum dissectum)
  • Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifalia)
  • Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)
  • Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’)
  • Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’)
  • Winter Dephne (Daphne odora)
  • Common Snow Drops (Galanthus nivalis)
  • Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
  • Christmas Rose (Heleboris niger)
  • Chinese witch-hazel (Hamamelis mollis)
  • Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata) Need female and male plant for berries
  • Christmas fern (Polystichun acrostichoides)
  • Common Camellia (Camellia japonica)
  • Heathers/Heaths

Not sure which plants will offer the beauty you want to see all winter long? Our experts are always happy to help you plan the best landscape design for all four seasons, so come in and share your ideas today and we’ll help you be prepared for an amazing winter landscape.

Size Up Your Site: A First Step in Planning Your Landscape


Whether you plan your garden from start to finish or use a professional designer, a few simple steps can help you assess your property’s potential to develop the landscape of your dreams. By getting involved in the landscape design process, you can address practical problems, structure your outdoor living space and develop a plan that will reflect your taste and lifestyle.

Surveying Your Site

Every yard, garden and landscape site will have differing light conditions, grade changes, varying soil conditions and existing plants and structures to consider when planning changes and expansions. Using a loose-leaf binder, take notes on each of the following:

Overall:

  1. What are your favorite spots in your yard and why? What your least favorite and why?
  2. In landscapes, do you generally prefer open on enclosed spaces?
  3. What existing plants do you want to preserve, and which do you want to remove?
  4. What is the architectural style of your home? What is your decorating style?
  5. Are you planning any additions to your home that may take away yard space?
  6. Do you want special areas for children, entertaining, pets, recreation, vegetable gardening, water features or composting?
  7. What is your time frame? Do you want a short-term or long-range plan?
  8. Which building materials do you like – brick, wood, stone, pavers, etc.?
  9. Is your outdoor lighting adequate for your use?
  10. Do you need to screen an area for wind, noise or an unwanted view?
  11. What is you landscaping budget (both short- and long-term)?
  12. How will your landscape use change over time, such as when children grow up?

Specific Areas:

  1. What is the light condition of the area? How does it change seasonally?
  2. How is the soil – well-drained, poor, heavy clay, poorly drained, etc?
  3. What are the dimensions of a confined area that could affect plant size?
  4. What are your favorite plants or types of plants?
  5. Would you like a garden accent or other feature in this area (trellis, arbor, sculpture, bench, pond, etc)?
  6. What is the pH and general condition of the soil?

Once you have taken adequate notes, you’ll have a much better understanding about the overall layout of your landscaping site. This can help you plan the best options without making costly or time-consuming mistakes, such as planting the wrong tree that will outgrow a corner in a few years, or choosing building materials that won’t stand up to your climate.

More Tips for Landscape Surveying

You can never have too much information at your fingertips when you are surveying your site for landscaping changes. More techniques that can give you all the information you need include…

  • Photographing your property. Snapshots can reveal what the eye may overlook, and can be useful to show others to get their unique perspectives. Take views from your house and various areas of your property. Include photos from different times of day.
  • Measure everything and mark it on a map. You can use graph paper to create a simple sketch that will show dimensions so you can properly size your landscaping plans.
  • Make a sketch that shows what is existing (plants & structures) and where it is located. This will help you figure out what features you want to preserve, what you may want to expand and what you would rather remove and how the space will change.

Still need help? Bring your information in – we can help you choose the best plants, accents and accessories suitable to your needs, style and budget for the landscape of your dreams!

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Dill, Delicious Dill


Have you enjoyed dill? An often overlooked herb, dill deserves much more attention in both the garden and the kitchen than it normally receives.

Growing Dill

This cool season plant is best when planted in very early spring or in late fall. Dill does best when planted from seed, because it doesn’t transplant well. Simply scatter seeds in a container on the patio or in the garden in early spring. Dill plants grow best in full sun. Other than this, dill will grow happily in both poor and rich soil or in damp or dry conditions, making it easy to add to any garden. One of the benefits of growing dill is that both the leaves and seeds of dill weed plants are edible.

When the daytime temperatures reach the mid to upper 60s, your dill will bolt, meaning it will put up seed shoots and go to seed. There is not much you can do to prevent this because the plant wants to set seed for the next season. Gather the ripened, dry seed for use later, or scatter the seeds immediately on the soil for another crop. Often you will get a crop in late summer that lasts through the first hard freeze, when the plant finally dies.

Dill is an annual, although the scattered seed will produce new plants the next season. Dill weed, or the leaves of the dill plant, are also easy to harvest and dry so you don’t have to go without dill in winter. Simply cut leaves and lay them on newspapers indoors, out of sunlight. In about a week the dill will be dried and you can put it in an airtight container to use later.

Dill Seasoning Tips

  • Dill seeds have a strong flavor, so use sparingly and taste often to balance the flavor to your preferences.
  • Dill leaves can be dried or frozen. Cut off leaves with scissors as needed.
  • Dill can be frozen in small plastic bags for up to 6 months. Use what you need and keep the rest frozen until later.
  • One tablespoon chopped fresh dill equals 1 teaspoon dried dill weed.
  • One half ounce fresh dill equals about one half cup of leaves.

Dill Recipes to Try

Dill can easily be used in marinades and rubs, and it can season soups, stews and even breads or crackers. If you want to extend your dill palate a bit further, try these delicious recipes!

Dill Dip (24 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 3 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, chopped onion, seasoning salt, dill weed and white sugar. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving.

Garlic Dill New Potatoes (5 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 8 medium red potatoes, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Place the potatoes in a steamer basket, and set in a pan over an inch of boiling water. Cover and steam for about 10 minutes, until potatoes are tender but not mushy.

In a small bowl, stir together the butter, dill, garlic and salt. Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl and pour the seasoned butter over them. Toss gently until they are well-coated. Serve immediately.

Once you taste dill, you’ll be curious to include it in many of your favorite recipes. Get planting and grow your own dill today!

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Spice Up Your Herb Garden With Horseradish


Used in dips, sauces, spreads, relishes and dressings, horseradish has a notable pungent flavor that quickly clears the sinuses. Although generally grown for its root, the young, tender leaves of this plant are delicious in a salad. How much more do you know about horseradish?

About Horseradish

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) is a perennial related to wasabi, mustard and cabbage. Believed native to southeastern Europe and western Asia, it is now a popular plant around the world. It has been cultivated for millennia, from the ancient Egyptians and Greeks to modern horticulturalists. In addition to its popular food uses, enzymes found in horseradish are useful in biochemistry applications. The root has even had a variety of medicinal uses, both as an ingested medicine as well as part of poultices and washes. Horseradish has been used to treat urinary tract infections, coughs, arthritis, gout, swollen joints and more.

Horseradish in the Garden

If you are interested in growing horseradish, it is best to know this plant’s needs to encourage the best possible plants with rich, flavorful roots.

  • Planting
    Plant roots of this hardy perennial in early spring in full sun in a well-turned garden bed or container. One or two roots are more than enough to start with, as this plant self-propagates readily from side root shoots. Water plants as necessary to keep soil from drying out.
  • Harvest
    Horseradish planted this spring will be ready to harvest in October or November but roots may be harvested, as needed, any time of the year. Harvest large roots leaving smaller ones in the soil to fully develop.
  • Storing
    Dug roots can be stored in the refrigerator for several months.
  • Processing
    For basic horseradish, scrub and peel the root, chop into small pieces and grind in a food processor adding a small amount of white vinegar and salt. Place in clean jars, seal and refrigerate for up to six months. Other spices may be added if desired for different flavors.

Horseradish in the Kitchen

Fresh horseradish will have a more pungent, richer flavor. There are many delicious ways to experiment with this root and its mash, including using it for…

  • Marinades and wet rubs
  • Dips
  • Salad dressings
  • Condiments and spreads
  • Adding to soups or stews
  • Spicing up a Bloody Mary
  • Spicy deviled eggs

With so many tasty ways to use horseradish, you’ll wish you’d added it to your garden years ago!

Caring for Orchids


Orchids can be an amazing addition to your indoor landscape, but unfortunately they have a reputation for being finicky and difficult. While they do require precise care, if you know what their needs are, you can easily grow a variety of beautiful orchids and enjoy their exotic loveliness throughout the year. To care for orchids properly…

  • Provide Good Light
    Orchids need at least 6-8 hours of bright indirect light or morning sun. Light is the key with growing orchids – without enough proper light, an orchid may live 20 years but never rebloom.
  • Increase Humidity
    Orchids are tropical and some varieties require from 65-75 percent humidity. The plant can sit on pebbles in a water-filled tray that is kept filled up as it evaporates. Grouping orchids can also improve their collective humidity.
  • Adjust Temperature
    Ideal orchid temperatures vary depending on the type of orchid and the time of year. Warm orchids require 55-65 degrees temperatures at night with daytime warmth reaching 75-85 degrees. Cool orchids need the same night time temperatures, but only 65-75 degrees during the day.
  • Water Appropriately
    Water the plant every 5-7 days in the sink, as the growing medium has fast drainage. Smaller orchids may need watered every 3-4 days. The water should be room temperature and without any additives other than fertilizer.
  • Fertilizing
    Use a Blossom Booster fertilizer with every other watering while in bloom. When not in bloom, use 30-10-10 fertilizer every two weeks.
  • Repotting
    Use only a potting mixture designed for orchids. These mixes are made up of different size fir bark pieces, perlite and even charcoal. Repot your orchid when it is nearly overgrown with roots and is not in bloom. This will average about every 2-4 years.
  • Resting Period
    After blooming or producing new growth, most orchid varieties go into a rest period. Reduce the watering slightly and maintain good lighting to allow them to reenergize.

Blooming Orchids

Each type of orchid requires different conditions to bloom (example: Phalenopsis need 6 weeks of cold nights). When you achieve that delicate balance and your orchid bursts forth with a delicate bloom, make sure you do not change your cultural practices or the plant will abort the buds. Even a small change in humidity, temperature or light can cause the plant to abort its bloom, but when you keep the conditions stable, you’ll enjoy the reward these exotic flowers offer.

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