Articles About Orchids
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Articles About Orchids
 
   All my life I have had this magic touch of making plants grow. My Dad would tell me, "if you planted a pencil, it would grow into a tree." I guess you could say I have a "green" hand, not just a "green" thumb.

   Over the Thanksgiving holiday of 1996, my brother came home for a visit and brought me his "stick." What was it? It was a miniature Dendrobium orchid.

   When he bought it at a discount store, it had been in bloom, but now the poor little plant was in a very sorry condition. It had lost all it's leaves and Greg just knew he had killed it. In sheer despair he brought it to me with hopes that I could bring it back to life.

   I secretly smiled to myself and said "You have got to be kidding." I picked up the sad little stick and headed out the door to the greenhouse.

   Now I knew something that Greg didn't. Dens were known to lose their leaves on the old "canes," so I was not really worried; the new growth just had not yet begun. I looked closely at the stick and it was still green and healthy so I knew it wasn't dead.

   By January new growth started to pop out of the bark and I smiled as I watched it grow all summer into a fine looking little Den. By October the new growth had filled the pot and a flower spike was just beginning to grow.
   Greg came home for Thanksgiving and yes! It was in bloom.
   I could hardly wait to see the expression on his face when he saw I "saved" his little stick and brought it back to life! The blooms just added something special to his present. Greg was amazed that the plant was not only still alive but blooming too! It was a wonderful Thanksgiving, one I won't be forgetting for a long time.
   Dendrobiums and their hybrids are some of the easiest and most rewarding orchids to grow. There are several types of Dendrobiums and you really need to know which type you are growing.
   Some are deciduous while others are evergreen. Some have pseudobulbs and others have jointed stems resembling canes. The Dendrobium phalaenopsis-types are the ones you most commonly find in the stores. They have jointed cane-like stems instead of pseudobulbs.
   They will often lose their leaves, which happens after the canes are about two years old; when this occurs they look like a bunch of sticks. This is what happened to Greg's little plant.
   Dens are one of the few types of orchids that will bloom from the old pseudobulbs/canes, and they also bloom from the new growth. The flower spikes can be over two feet tall with over twenty blooms on them. Of course the miniatures, like Greg's are much smaller.
  The flowers last for 6 to 8 weeks and they make excellent cut flowers. The flowers are all the colors of the rainbow: pinks, lavenders, reds, yellows, oranges and many combinations.

   They can also bloom at several different times of year, and there is nothing funnier than to see a pot of sticks with all these beautiful blooms sticking out of them and not a green leaf to be seen. Seeing them blooming on the old canes and the new growth which is really a sight!

   The cultural requirements of these wonderful plants are really quite easy to maintain.
They can stand temperatures from 45 degrees to 95 degrees, the ideal temperatures are 60-85 degrees.
   Let them dry out between watering and don't over-pot. They like to be rootbound or mounted on cork slab or some other planting material.
   They require high light so a sunny window is a must, 1500 to 2500 foot candle light is what they need to bloom. Greg grows the little stick in his apartment under lights, with his other house plants. He uses a humidifier and also groups plants together which helps raise the humidity in the vicinity.
  In mild climates they grow very well outdoors and make nice patio plants. Or hang them in the trees in your yard. Their name means "Living in Trees" in Latin, which really describes the way these plants grow in their natural habitat.
   If you want to try an orchid this is a good one to start with, if you have a sunny window. They are usually priced very reasonable, and often you can find these in bloom at discount stores in their nurseries, or sometimes even grocery stores will bring them in to sell. Maybe you'll find one that you like.