Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Helping Your Orchids Look Their Best

After growing the plants for months on the windowsill, under lights, or in a greenhouse, they can look a little rough around the edges. The leaves are probably dusty and/or blemished with chemical deposits, older leaves may be wilted or dead, and some of the tips of the leaves may be brown.

When the plants are in flower and you want to show them off to their best in your home or get them ready to exhibit in an orchid show, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:
  1. Clean their leaves. A simple way to polish the leaves is with milk. Dampen a paper towel with milk and rub off the blemishes. This will give a very attractive sheen that is harmless to the plant.
  2. Carefully remove any dead or severely damaged leaves.
  3. If you’re planning to bring your orchid to a show, be sure that you tape to the pot the name of your orchid plus your own name so that you don’t lose the plant. Also, make a list of what plants you’ve entered so you have a record.
  4. Trim off the brown tips of leaves with very sharp scissors. The sharper they are, the cleaner the cut and the less leaftissue damage will result. When trimming, follow the natural shape of the leaf, as shown in Figure 4-2.

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