Dear Orchid Doc

Sunday, August 26, 2018

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Dear Orchid Doc:

My orchid area is 15 x 18 feet. This is an atrium with walls on three sides, screened on one side and overhead. There is a green outdoor floodlight on a night-time sensor. Could this light cause a blooming problem?


Dear Bettie:

Yes. All photoperiodic plants rely on uninterrupted dark periods as a means of determining season. If the night is interrupted by a light, even relatively low-powered or a brief exposure, it can upset the plant's rhythm, and therefore prevent or delay blooming. This is especially noticeable in plants requiring short days (long nights) to flower, such as those that flower in autumn and winter.

Dear Orchid Doc:

How do I pick a good orchid?

Dear Kady:

Picking a good orchid is similar to picking any other healthy plant. You want to make sure that the shoots and leaves look sturdy and healthy. Make sure that the plant is capable of standing up under its own weight and doesn't look wilted.

If you can, check the root system to make sure it's healthy and flourishing. Look for the presence of flower spikes to get an idea of how many blossoms you can expect your plant to have. (It can help to make a checklist before you go orchid shopping, so that you remember what to look out for.)

Dear Orchid Doc:

Are orchids hard to grow?


Dear Kim:

Orchids aren't necessarily as difficult to grow as you might think. You just have to learn what particular needs your type of orchid has and then do your best to meet them. Each orchid needs different amounts of sunlight and water, and none of them take well to soil whatsoever. So it's easy to understand why growing them can seem intimidating. Just be sure to find an orchid whose needs you can match, and you should have no troubles!

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