I once spent a lot of time in Thailand, a place where you commonly see orchids hanging from the verandas; beautiful blooms with their roots dangling, thriving on the heat and humidity.
Of course, heat and humidity are quite different here in the UK - orchids don’t like the cold or too much sun, and sadly why my collection died during a house move during 2017 😞
Since them I have been helping my friends bring them back from a dry windowsill. I have rescued some and received presents so I seem to have a little collection on the go once again (after the trauma!)
I am sure most of us will have a dying phalanosis on the windowsill 😉 and so here are my top tips to help you bring it back from dormancy. Did you know many orchids have an ancestor dating back to pre-dinosaur, so coming back from a dry windowsill is actually quite possible, you might be surprised!
🌷Rule 1. Their roots like air and light - repot using bark as a medium (you can buy this from a garden centre) and place them into glass pots. You could use plastic but I find glass is better as it is heavier, and they don't dry out and topple over.
🌷 Rule 2. They like humidity but not damp. You can create a mini micro-environment by keeping orchids in the same area, but in individual pots.
They like humidity but do not like to have their roots wet or be sitting in water, otherwise they will rot and die. So in a glass jar I add an inch or two of gravel. This means I can create a humid environment within the jar, but not getting the roots wet. The roots will be placed above the gravel.
Add a little moss to the top of the bark substrate to help hold in water, making sure the centre and leaves are placed above.
🌷Rule 3. Not too much sun or dryness please. Humidity is the key. Keep them on a windowsill in sun - but not direct - this will evaporate the water in the jar and the leaves will burn.
🌷Rule 4. Recreate a monsoon! Carefully I put each glass potted orchid into the bath. I fill the jar with cold water to give them a bath or shower. I often fill down the side of the glass with the bath tap and then give them a really quick cool shower too. I wait for some of the bark to absorb the water (perhaps a minute at best). I then tip the jar upside down and rinse and just to leave a little water in the gravel. You just have to be careful to hold the medium with your hands splayed so the medium doesn’t fall out.
🌷Rule 5. Show them some extra love!
a) This is an important one. Get a piece of toilet roll and literarily pop the corner into the crown of the orchid and soak up any water droplets that may have settled there so you don't create rot.
b) Spray them with food - garden centre for this one!
c)Wipe their leaves gently to remove dust so that they can photosynthesis effectively.
d) Talk to them, bathe and care every 2 weeks - perhaps each week during summer.
🌷Rule 6. Treat them gently when they are flowering - no monsoons, just keep the gravel suitably wet - and a little spray on the leaf.
🌷Rule 7 Oh and like me,they don’t cope well in the cold - they come from a warm climate. If your windowsill is draughty or the room is cold, or a harsh Winter they might need a relocate.
So find a suitable clear glass jar that their roots can fit into comfortably. ill the bottom of the jar with an inch of gravel. Add bark or suitable medium. Make sure the root is above the medium. Add a little foraged moss on the top of the bark and well. A quick wash every couple of weeks and a bit of conversation and you have a healthy orchid!
And remember, if a plant doesn't grow well - look to changing its environment. What is the plant trying to teach you?
Why not keep us all posted? 🌷💗🧙♀️