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Where I am I going wrong with looking after orchids?

(18 Posts)
AndieNZ Thu 22-Sep-16 21:44:52

I love orchids but they don't love me.

I keep the bark moist but never let it sit in water or get water on the leaves
I feed them once a week with orchid liquid feed
I keep them in a light and bright area without being in a draught or in full sun

And yet the flowers just die and that's it.

I've tried with more than one plant and got the same disappointing results.
I spent a lot on a particular gorgeous one of purple flowers which was growing in an arched loop.The flowers quickly seemed to drop off and no matter what I do, there's nothing else there other than the brown stem. No signs of any buds coming. Where am I going wrong?

iknowimcoming Thu 22-Sep-16 21:58:07

I am no plant expert <disclaimer> in fact orchids are one of the few house plants that I don't kill off. I put this down to neglect - I only water them when they look half dead about every other month maybe and I have about six plants with at least one in flower at any given time and I've had them all for years. I rotate the flowering one/s into view in the house and the ones not in flower live on a sunny windowsill, virtually ignored until I see a new shoot emerging. Not sure that's helpful or not really wink

ppandj Thu 22-Sep-16 21:58:40

Are yours outdoors? I am terrible with orchids and had given up, but we moved house last year and put the orchid in a different room. The orientation is now a west facing window but is not in direct sunlight much, even I the evening. It has come back to life! Interestingly, my mum's orchids have also thrived in a similar location. Couldn't tell you anything else that has changed!

WittyPutDown Thu 22-Sep-16 22:01:10

Sounds like you over water them. I also don't feed or water mine very often.
On sunny Window cills over the kitchen sink seem to work well.

MadisonAvenue Thu 22-Sep-16 22:01:46

I had my very first orchid last year. The flowers died off about a year ago now and I'm wondering just how long I persevere with it as it's showing no sign of new life, a year on.

SaoirseLikeInertia Thu 22-Sep-16 22:02:33

Similar to iknowimcoming my orchids are pretty neglected! Do you have it in a clear pot? Apparently they need light to get at their roots/soil. Also I take off the dead heads and brown stems, which seems to encourage new growth

stouensbay Thu 22-Sep-16 22:08:42

Could you keep it in the bathroom? (If there is some natural light). Mine enjoyed the steam though I did manage to kill it eventually but it lasted longer than others!

AndieNZ Thu 22-Sep-16 22:09:49

Sounds like I am over watering.

I water once a week and liquid feed once a month.

I'm sure I read that you're not to let the bark dry out! Yes they are in a clear pot which is what they came in, but then they are also in a bigger planter.

happyinthesunshine Thu 22-Sep-16 22:13:32

After decades of killing every orchid I was given I found out how to look after them.

Buy an orchid spray ( mines a cheap one from Poundland) and spray them every other day.

Submerge their roots (in the pot) in water until the bubbles stop and lift out immediately, takes about 30 seconds. Do this once a week. Don't water them the normal way it rots them.

Mine like my window ledge in the kitchen we are are south east so they get sun.

My orchids are in their 3 year now and flower and flower.
Good luck with yours.

DoodleCat Thu 22-Sep-16 22:14:19

Neglect them - they will thrive! My secret is that I also chuck the occasional remnants of the tea pot on them (once it's cold & the pot so not with milk).. oh yes and they don't necessarily like full direct sunlight.

shovetheholly Fri 23-Sep-16 08:11:18

Yes, you need to treat em mean to keep em keen! I even allow mine to dry out for a month and a a half or so - just until the leaves start to lose water, then water. The period of deprivation means they suddenly want to flower when they get water. I discovered this by accident when I forgot I had an orchid many years ago!!

I keep mine in the bathroom, though, so they are in a fairly moist atmosphere most of the time, which means it's not entirely dessicating.

WittyPutDown Sat 24-Sep-16 01:08:33

Uh oh! I said to put them on a sunny window cill in my earlier post when I meant put them on a NON sunny window cill. blush

PeppaPigStinks Sat 24-Sep-16 01:12:09

I am not an expert. But mine thrive on neglect!

As above I only water them when I remember!!

AndieNZ Sat 24-Sep-16 08:36:52


What's an orchid spray?

Qwebec Sun 25-Sep-16 04:48:56

Happy ins spot on. Orchids are pretty tough plants, but you need to know that they are air plants not earth plants.
I'd only add, give them water in the morning. If there is water in the core by nightfall it may rot (it dies very fast like this). Also I noticed that orchids often loose their buds after the transport shock. I don't know if it is the lack of proper care during that time, the drafts or the lack of water. When you flower blooms again it has a much higher chance of success.

Maddison: to help the orchid rebloom give it a 2-3 weeks cooler temperature (16C at night) then go back to your normal temp. After 2 months they normally bloom again.

StUmbrageinSkelt Sun 25-Sep-16 04:55:26

Neglect, they love neglect.

I've never heard the clear pot theory. My parents have dozens of orchids and they are all in opaque pots and doing beautifully.

happyinthesunshine Sun 25-Sep-16 10:34:57

It's a spray for orchid feeding. I believe they feed through moisture in the air as well as their roots. It gives them humidity and nutrients. Available in garden centres for £4-5 or in Poundland for a pound.
Has transformed my sorry orchids to spectacular specimens.

GardenGeek Sun 25-Sep-16 13:59:16

For me the temperature difference rule was the most important.

Make sure the orchid is somewhere with 10 degrees cooler at night than in the day.

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