How to Get Your Orchids to Bloom Again
Our guests sometimes ask me, "Sari, how do you get your orchids to bloom again year after year" and I tell them, as I will do now to you, my little secret for reblooming my orchid plants.
Give Your Orchids a Break
I discovered the trick as I was almost losing our orchids. After blooming for months, they were exhausted and air roots drying out by central heating, even though I frequently water them. Summer arrived, and they looked pretty worn out. I thought that they need a break, a vacation that would restore their energy.
How could I simulate the conditions where they actually would thrive? Of course, I thought, they need to be in the garden! They could benefit from the humidity in the air, slight changes in the temperature, and the natural cycles of day and night.
I carried our three orchids outside and placed them under the apple tree in the back of our garden.
How to place your orchids into your garden
Our orchids usually sit by the northern kitchen window. East would be the best direction, but the north is the best I can do at the moment.
I wanted to imitate that as I looked for a suitable position to place the orchids into the garden. Did you know that orchids do not like direct sunlight? It makes their leaves burn.
I also wanted to shelter them from the heavy rain. The orchids enjoy the humidity in the air. Still, I tried to save them from bigger droplets and water collecting where their leaves and spikes meet.
I placed the orchids with their clear plastic containers on the mulch under the apple tree for the first summer as I tried my trick. The base of our apple tree is in the shade of a hedge and our neighboring house, so I thought the place would be shady enough.
What I learned after that first summer season was:
- place the orchids higher for snail not to damage their leaves
- be sure not to let any direct sunlight cast on their leaves
- they do not need much watering during the summer season
- the orchids bloomed long and prolifically from October to late spring
I fine-tuned the system for the following summers by placing the orchids on a hanging basket. It's good to notice that you do not need to plant them. You just put the orchids with their containers into a basket.
The Timing of Moving Your Orchids In and Out
So I put our Phalaenopsis and Dendrobium orchids in hanging baskets when the summer 'heatwave' arrives and hang the baskets to one of our apple trees. Usually, that happens in the middle of June.
Then the orchids swing there the whole summer. They get to enjoy the changing weather, humid air, darkening evenings, and approaching autumn.
As speaking of weather, the temperature changes can be pretty significant even during the summertime. Our garden is on the USDA zone 5 and Finnish zone 2. So the climate is generally pretty cold. The temperature can easily fluctuate from under 50 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit or under 10 to over 30 degrees Celsius during the summer.
Depending on the weather in late summer, I'll move the orchids back to the window sill in late August or early September. By then, the flower spikes are strong and full of tiny vigorous flower buds. I can hardly wait for the flowers to appear next October. When Phalaenopsises start blooming, they bloom until late spring.
Some More Tips to Get Your Orchids to Bloom Again
After hanging your basket with orchids into your garden, I suggest checking it a couple of times during the first day. Be sure that no direct sunlight will touch their leaves at any time of the day.
If you have no suitable tree to hang your basket, you can place it into a larger thick shrub or put it on the northern side of your home. They will probably be as good as long as other plants protect your orchids from direct sunlight and pouring rain.
The orchids are epiphytes, so I like the idea of putting them under the foliage of trees or other plants to give them a proper vacation.
If occasional snails find your orchid or a hint of sun rays touch the leaves, you might lose a leaf or two. Don't be discouraged. That happened to me when testing this trick during the first summer season. I just removed the damaged leaf after it had turned yellow. I waited that long as I wanted the orchid to absorb all the energy to the healthy parts of the plant. You won't even notice removing a leaf or two as the upper leaves are even more vibrant and thriving.
I hope these tips help your orchids to thrive and also bloom abundantly until next spring.
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