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Phalaenopsis orchids – pronounced Fal-en-op-sis and commonly known as moth orchids – are the UK’s most popular indoor plant with millions sold every year.
Their popularity continues to grow with a wide range of colours, on-trend varieties and even ‘shaped’ stems being launched, as well as new scented types boasting a gorgeously sweet fragrance that peaks every morning.
A star benefit is their ability to flower for up to three months with minimum upkeep, so great value and ideal for house plant newbies as well as orchid aficionados.
Family-owned Double H Nurseries is the largest orchid grower in Britain, supplying the major retailers with over 2 million plants a year from its base on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire.
Growing orchids is really easy if you follow some basic rules. Overwatering is a common issue, as is placing an orchid too close to a radiator, but you can quickly pick up the do’s and don’ts. Orchids look beautiful, can last for years and we are now even growing scented varieties. There really is an orchid for everyone’s tastes.
Here, orchid experts give their top tips on keeping your plant blooming for weeks on end:
- Water weekly – run your orchid under a tap or let it soak in the sink for a few minutes. Wall-watered roots have plump green roots, if they look silvery grey or shrivelled, pop the plant under the tap.. Quick hack – add a few ice cubes to the surface of the bark instead of watering, avoiding the leaves.
- Don’t let it shine – orchids love a bright window but they are not keen on direct sunlight and definitely don’t like radiators. East or west-facing windows and bathrooms are best. They also do not like sitting near fruit bowls as some fruit emit eythylene!
- Keep ‘em flowering – after the flowers have started to drop, cut back the stem just above the ‘node’ below the lowermost flowering branch. This is best done when there is still at least one flower left. If the stem has gone brown, cut it off completely near the base of the plant. Move to a cooler location and whilst watering give the leaves a clean to improve growth. It can take between 8-12 weeks for an orchid to re-flower.
- Rooting them out – if you don’t like their look, you can cut off dry, shrivelled roots sticking out from the bark. If they are green and healthy, leave them alone – orchids are meant to have aerial roots.
- Rarely re-pot – orchids only need re-potting every 4-5 years, or if the bark has begun to compost down, whichever comes first. Make sure you use specialist orchid bark and don’t worry about gaps as orchid roots love air. Expect it to take a week or two for the plant to become stable and regain its foot hold.
- Loving our homes – Orchids originate from warm tropical Asia, so our homes are perfect environments for them as they really thrive at temperatures between 17 and 26 degrees. If you water sparingly every week, keep them in a bright location away from direct heat, they should keep blooming for years.