Plant of the Month: February

ORCHIDS

Our plant of the month is the elegant orchid, which can bring natural style to your home. They make lovely gifts for flower lovers, so bear it in mind for Valentine’s Day. Buy an orchid now and with a little care, it can flower for months.

The cymbidium is one of the easiest orchids to grow, which is surprising when it has such exotic flowers. The flowers last about ten weeks, and colours include white, cream, yellow, pink, red and orange. They bloom during the winter, and each plant can have fifteen or more flowers. There are fragrant varieties as well.

The Miltonia orchid likes to be kept lightly moist at all times, but along with all orchids, it must be well-drained. Water the pot with tepid water over the sink until it pours out of the drainage holes. Miltonia’s leaves don’t like the sun, so two to four hours of bright, indirect light a day is fine.

Whatever orchid you have, give it orchid bright, indirect light and keep it in a cool spot. They are tolerant of the cold to as low as 7˚C. If you want yours to last more than one season, feed it all year long with a balanced orchid fertiliser. Orchids don’t really go dormant. When not full of buds and blooms, they’re building up the energy to put out more blooms for the next cycle. 

Water the pot weekly with tepid water over the sink until it pours out of the drainage holes, or leave for half an hour in a bowl of water before draining it away so the orchid doesn’t sit in water. Apply half-strength general liquid fertiliser every third watering in spring and switch to a high potassium specialist orchid fertiliser in summer. In winter feed only occasionally, using half-strength general liquid fertiliser.

Plant of the Month: February | Orchids | Garsons

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