garden, garden window, indoor gardening

Tropical break

Two years ago, I obtained my very first orchid.  I was always so intimidated by them – they are so beautiful, yet I had heard so much about how challenging they could be to grow.  I wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge but I purchased one at the Philadelphia Flower show.  After juggling the delicate flowers on the bus ride home, I found the perfect location for it in my garden window.  The growers had included a leaflet on the proper care, so I was all set.  The flowers lasted about 2 months, which truly amazed me.

DSC_0667After enjoying these blooms through May, imagine my excitement when I visited the Phipps Conservatory spring flower sale in May and found a booth that was selling “toss off” orchids.  The oriental flower show was concluding, and the specimens that had been on display were being sold at deep discount prices.  The only problem was there was no indication of what I was buying.  The greens were healthy enough, but the blooms had long since died and the stems were trimmed way back.  I bought 3 plants.

I quickly ran out to the garden center that evening to purchase some Orchid Medium and pots.  Planting them and then watering was all the care they required.  Some friends of mine mentioned how they simply placed an ice cube in the pot every week, and that was enough to sustain.  But I read up on them a bit, and saw how you really shouldn’t utilize the ice cube method.  And just think about it.  Would you want your feet dipped in an ice bath once a week?

I water them once a week, placing each pot in the sink and running water through the potting medium until the water flows out the bottom.  I let them drain a bit, then place them back in the garden window.  Truly one of the easiest houseplants I have ever maintained.  They don’t bloom very often, and even after 2 years, I’m still waiting for one to bloom.

After taking all the Christmas decorations out of the garden window a few weeks ago, I noticed my mystery orchid had sprouted a shoot with a few buds on it.  I’ve been waiting so patiently, checking the growth each day.  And finally, today, we have a bloom!




6 thoughts on “Tropical break”

  1. I must confess I’ve always avoided orchids for fear of killing them off, I’m not great with houseplants! I think you’ve convinced me to buy one and have a go now though 🙂


    1. I started out with very low expectations, Eleenie. But so exciting when the shoots emerge, and finally the blooms! I think good drainage is the key element. I planted mine in terra cotta pots, and used orchid medium – not soil. Good luck! Keep us posted on your success!!


  2. Congratulations on your well-earned gorgeous bloom.
    I love orchids but would hesitate to try to grow them because they seem so delicate and exotic.
    I applaud your green thumb of success with them. 🙂


  3. Phalaenopsis orchids are very obliging and bloom for months. On many of them you can cut the stem back to a node when they have finished flowering and they will start again.
    Enjoy your flowers!


    1. Maybe they had been cut back too far and needed to start over completely – when these two stems are finished flowering, I’ll cut them back to a node as you suggest. Hopefully I don’t have to wait another 2 years for flowers!



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