In Chapter 5, I give you the details of routine orchid care, but here I want to give you some tips that will make the short-term transition easier for both of you.
If the plant is in bloom
Here are some tips that will make the flowers on your new orchid last longer:
- Place the plant somewhere in your house that’s bright, but where it won’t get direct sunlight, except possibly in the morning. Too much harsh sunlight can bleach out the flowers.
- Keep the plant on the cool side — not above about 75°F (about 24°C). Flowers stay fresher longer this way.
- Be sure to keep the plant well watered. Even though the orchid plant stops growing much when it’s in bloom, theleaves and flowers still need water.
- Don’t let any bees or flies in the room where your orchids are blooming. If the bees or flies pollinate them, the flowers will collapse afterward.
- Don’t put the plant close to ripe fruit. Fruit gives off ethylene gas, which can cause flowers to collapse prematurely.
- Keep your orchid plants away from strong fumes like paint thinners or other pollutants. These can cause the blossoms to fade.
- Don’t spray the flowers with water or place the blooming plant in a room that is highly humid with no air movement. This can cause spotting on the flowers from fungal diseases.
Before you add your new, not-yet-blooming orchid to your collection, follow these tips:
- Look under the leaves and at the younger growth to make sure there are no bugs.
- To be on the safe side, isolate this new plant from your collection for at least three weeks. This will allow time for hidden insect eggs to hatch out.
- As a further precaution, spray the plant thoroughly with an insecticidal soap. Use a paper towel to wipe off the excess spray. This will not only kill any soft-bodied insects but will also clean the leaves.
- Consider repotting the orchid into your own potting mix. That way you’ll be assured that the potting mix is fresh and you’ll know its watering requirements.