Orchid Care 101
Most of cultivated orchids are epiphytic or air plants, because they have develop water storage organs called pseudobulbs and have large fleshy roots covered with a spongy water-retentive velamen; That’s why they can live on trees or adapt easily to open areas with good air circulation like screened porch, hanging pots under trees or anywhere outside or inside where they don’t get direct sunlight because they will BURN.
In general, cattleyas, dendrobiums, vandas and ascocendas like filtered or bright indirect sunlight and phalaenopsis, paphiopedillums and oncidiums like filtered to medium sunlight and cooler places.
When your orchid is in bloom, bring it inside close to a window (southern exposed is usually ideal) but keep it away from hot places and air conditioning vents. Temperatures changes more than 20 degrees between night and day will stress your plant and cause bud and flower damage. Blooms will usually last 1-2 months for most orchids except cattleyas (2-3 weeks).When blooms die, cut off the spike ½ inch above the first node from the bottom; this will encourage the plant to either put another spike at the node or put a new spike from beneath of the leaves.
Because most orchids media like bark, coconut, moss, rocks, fern fiber Etc, are hard to get wet, we recommend that you drench your orchid every 7 to 10 days depending in your media weather and location.
Vandas and ascocendas need to have their roots mist every day if possible; cattleyas and dendrobiums like the dry side so allow the media to dry out between watering; Phalaenopsis, paphiopedillums and oncidiums like to keep evenly moist, so never allow media to dry out completely. In general, most of the orchids require a little more water than usual while in bloom. Do not water your orchids late in the day to avoid diseases, we recommend morning hours to give flowers and plant time to dry out.
To fertilize your orchid you could used any water soluble fertilizer like 20-20-20 to keep and maintain your mature plants; 30-10-10 with lots of nitrogen if your orchid doesn’t look so good or when the plant is in its active growing season in summer time; And 10-30-20 to encourage them to bloom or need to restore the root system of your orchid.
In general more frequent fertilizer (every 10 days or twice a month) is good under high temperatures and bright like conditions. In the other hand fertilize only once a month when temperatures are cool and your plant is not in active growing season (fall-winter).
Bromeliad Care 101
Bromeliads are easy to care for, because they are remarkably tolerant to extreme heat, cold and drought, some even grow at the seashore and some are epiphytes “Air Plants”. You can keep them anywhere like screen enclosures, outside in shady areas, or even in full sun. When inside your home, place them close to a window.
In general, the hard, spiny thick leaved Bromeliads like in the genus of Aechmeas, Neoregalias, Tillandsias, and Ananas (Pineapples) require less watering and tolerate lots of bright light. Softer, thinner foliage bromeliads like guzmanias and vrieseas require more watering and less light.
To water your bromeliads, it is not necessary to pour water in the cup since the plant will absorb adequate water through its root system. If you choose to water the cup, don’t allow it to get old or your plant will rot. Change it once a week. Allow the soil to become nearly dry before watering.
Bromeliads only bloom once in their lifetime, after blooming is complete, it will die very slowly over the next year or so but it will replace itself with new plants call pups. Remove pups when they are about half of the size of the mother plant, to do so cut with sharp knife cutting as close as possible to the mother plant, then choose the right pot size and plant it using Bromeliad Mix for best results and faster growing.
For better results growing your bromeliads use slow release (6-7 months) fertilizer pellets. For example Nutricote 18-6-8 to establish your plant, and then continue with Nutricote 13-13-13 afterwards to strengthen them. Spread fertilizer in the soil around it but away from plant so it wont burn. For 4”- 6” pot use 1 teaspoon, for 8” pots 1 Tablespoon, and for 3 Gal pots 2 Tablespoon.
For insects like mealy bugs/scales/mites/whites Fly’s use Triple Action Neen Oil or Malathion.
For fungus use Captan Fungicide or Dithane M-45 never use anything with copper on bromeliads because copper will damage your plant. Never dip your plant in a bucket of water you will spread decease to other plants, Drench them separately. Always make sure you read the chemical label first.