I am not an orchid grower although am always delighted to be given one as a gift. However, I know once it has finished flowering that is the end of it. Believe me I have tried very hard to look after them, read all about the care and conditions they like and moved them around the house to find the ideal spot but to no avail. I am left with a green leaf plain plant with no intention of flowering ever again.
There are some people who have pot after pot of various orchid species and proudly announce they have had them for years and they flower time and time again. They are the same people who can’t understand why I have so much trouble, proudly announcing they need very little care and are really easy. Well not for me….. until now!
On my birthday in July, I was delighted to receive the most beautiful orchid plant delivered to the office as a present. It was laden with pretty pink flowers and bloomed for weeks. We were even beginning to take bets on when the last flower would fade. When it finished, I cut the stems to half their height and left it to the side of my desk. When I say left, I really meant ignored, with the only time it was watered was when I had some left over in the bottom of my glass on a Friday. It was easier to do that than walk to the kitchen to tip out a few millilitres of water.
I nearly threw it out before Christmas, but the leaves were still green and the roots looked healthy.
When we returned to work after the Christmas break it was with great excitement we noticed that there were tiny little nodules appearing at the tips of the stems. So it remained in situ and we monitored it with interest’ like expectant parents. It has been very slow to do anything but it was growing and we knew that with a bit of luck very shortly we would have flowers. There was a great temptation to start to look after it and water it but I decided to treat it as it had been treated in the past and not give it a fright of sudden care.
Today, I came into work and my orchid had given birth to its first full flower. I am truly delighted and proud of my ignored and infrequently watered beautiful orchid plant.
I have looked this species up on various orchid websites and believe it is a PHALAENOPSIS. If there is an expert reading this and I have it wrong please let me know.
It was only last weekend I was listening to a garden phone-in program on the radio. A caller was asking about growing orchids and was recommended to feed it with tomato food and ensure the plant is placed on a bed of gravel so it doesn’t sit in water. The other recommendation I can proudly say I followed and was to never feed it with tap water. The water we drink at work comes through a purifier so maybe that is the secret of my success.
Always aware of the Health and Safety police, lest someone should poke their eyes out, I invented my own little protection to place on the top of the sticks the stems are being trained up. If you look closely you will see orange tab markers – you know the ones that are sticky at one end and you place on files to flag up pages etc.
As I was snapping away on my mobile (cell) phone this afternoon, when I looked more closely I saw that there are more shots at the tips. You can just about see it on the stem towards the front of the photo.
We all had a hand in the photos with one of my colleagues, deftly placing a large piece of white paper behind the plant as a background. I think they were laughing at me though rather than with me, as I said I could feel a blog post coming on.
My dilemma now is do I start to feed it or shall I just ignore as I have done since July? Help advice badly needed please.