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Orchids are as easy as A - B - C!
Always wait until the bark or moss is completely dry before watering.
Be sure to keep your orchid out of direct sunlight.
Confidence that you will be successful! orchids are easy to care for.
The Dendrobium genus is extremely diverse.  However, most of the dendrobiums available to the general public are the easy to grow “phalaenopsis type” dendrobiums or Den. phalaenopsis. These orchids have water storage organs called pseudobulbs or canes.  Their leaves are narrow and bright green. These dendrobiums differ from others in that their foliage is evergreen, while other varieties are deciduous. Most of this genus is native of New Guinea and Papua.  Usually this type of orchid has distinct rest and growth periods. The vast array of flower colors and patterns make it very popular.

c229243-dendrodium.jpgAs with all plants, the ideal combination of light, water, humidity, nutrients and potting media is key in successfully caring for the Dendrobium orchid.  All of these factors work together to help the plant thrive and generously bloom. It is important to remember that orchids, like us, have changing needs depending on the environment.  For example, during the summer they will need more water than during the winter months.  During the growing season, they will need more nutrients than when they are dormant.

Light

Light is one of the key elements in the culture of any plant. This is no different in the culture of orchids. If the plant gets too little light it will not bloom. Dendrobiums love morning and late afternoon sun. They should be shaded from the intense afternoon sun. Place the orchid in an east or (shaded) west facing window. Make sure that the plant is about 3 feet away from the glass. You may also place the plant in a lightly shaded south facing window. In northern climates full southern exposure might be necessary.

If the foliage on the plant is dark green, it is an indication the plant needs more light.Yellowish leaves indicate the plant is getting too much light.You want the foliage to be a medium olive green.

Temperature

Dendrobiums need a temperature variation of about 15-20 degrees between day and night temperatures. Ideally, they like night time temperatures to be between 60-65 F. During the day they like it to be between 70-90 F.

Dendrobiums can stand a couple  of  days of 95-100 F temperature. It is important to remember that if the temperatures get high you should increase the humidity, water and air circulation around the plant. If these orchids are exposed to temperatures below 50F you may see some leaf drop.

Water

This element is the one that causes the most confusion among orchid lovers. Over watering is the number one killer of orchids. Phalaenopsis type dendrobiums should be left to dry out between watering. They can take drier conditions since they are equipped with pseudobulbs.

The quality of the water used is also of some importance.  Orchids prefer rainwater; they really do not like water that has a lot of chemicals, such as chlorine, added to it. If your water is heavily treated, you might consider buying some distilled or purified water, although catching your own rainwater can be fun and will give you a great sense of satisfaction!

Water your plant early in the day to prevent moisture from settling on the plant over night. This will lead to root rot, crown rot and other diseases.

Furniture friendly pots, those without drainage, are designed to protect your furniture from moisture and soil. However, these pots require close monitoring when it comes to watering your orchid. A simple and effective approach is to “water” your plant by placing about 5 ice cubes on the bark about once a week.

Humidity

Phalaenopsis need 50% to 60% humidity. This element works in conjunction with the other care elements mentioned.  If the temperature is hot and dry, you might need to place the orchids on a tray with gravel that has water on the bottom. Never let the pots sit in water as this will cause root rot. On days of high humidity make sure there is good air circulation around your plants.

Feeding

Orchids flower best and are at their healthiest when fertilized on a regular basis.  Use a well balanced formulation such as 10-10-10 or a ratio that is similar. These numbers correspond to the ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in the fertilizer. These elements are responsible for vegetative growth, flower development and flower production, respectively.

It is common practice to fertilize you plants on a weekly basis (during their growing season) using the fertilizer at one quarter of the strength.  When flowering is desired, use a fertilizer with higher phosphorus content.

Repotting

Dendrobiums should be repotted every about every 24 months. It all depends on how much the growing media has decomposed. It is recommended that they are repotted after the spring flowing is completed. You may use orchid bark mix. The pot should only be slightly larger than the root mass. If the pot is too large the plant will concentrate on growing roots and foliage instead of flowering. When transferring the plant be very careful not to damage any part of the plant, especially the delicate new roots. In selecting the correct pot, you want to make sure that it has good drainage and aeration.

To repot, remove the old medium from the roots, trim soft, rotted roots. Spread the remaining roots over a couple of cups of medium in the bottom of a new pot. Fill the rest of the pot with medium, anchoring the plant with orchid pins if necessary.

Costa Farms is the largest producer of indoor plants in North America and the second largest in the world. Founded in 1961 by Jose Costa, the third-generation family business specializes in foliage and bedding plants with operations domestically in South Florida, North Carolina, and abroad in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. Visit: www.costafarms.com

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