Orchid A-B-C

“Orchids are the new red roses”.While red roses still hold their position for the romantics,those who are eager-to-please,are all in for the orchid rage. They’ re beautiful,delicate,and expensive..just the right flower to make an impression!

Psst!!! Here’s a secret though..these ‘exclusive’ plants aren’t difficult to grow in your own little terrace/balcony.Yes,even for those living in dry cities like Pune. No muss,no fuss.Here are a few tried and tested tips for your own supply of home-grown orchids.

1. The Base:

These plants need to keep their roots exposed. Get square boxes made by attaching strips of wood with gaps of half an inch in between.
The wood will retain moisture,and the design,though simple, is perfect to house as well as display your plants.

2. The Medium:

Soil is a complete no no.Medium size chunks of charcoal work best.Small lumps of regular red brick can be mixed with the coal.

3. Care:

If you live in a place which is dry for most of the year,for instance Pune,most of Gujarat,Rajasthan, keep the plant in light, but NOT IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT.
Regularly bathe the ENTIRE plant along with the wooden case(except buds and flowers) with water atleast 2 times a day.In Summer, depending on how dry it is,3 times.
You can also use a water spray(the ones hairdressers use) to mist the plant.

4. Progress:

You know you are being a good parent to your orchid when the roots grow robustly and peek out of the pots and appear GREEN.

However, since the weather is not technically ideal for this plant,they might not flower as often as in tropical countries.But it is safe to expect flowering roughly twice a year,sometimes more!

5. Flowers!!

Finally, after all that care, those delicate buds will appear. Rejoice! But be extra careful now.No harsh sunlight,and keep the bud area dry whilst normally bathing the plant as before.
Once the first flower blooms,avoid cutting the stem for display.You can keep the entire plant indoors,only taking it outdoors to water at regular intervals.
On the plant,these flowers will easily last for more than 2 months!

6. After-care:

Once the flowers wilt and there are no more buds left,neatly cut the stem off with a SHARP un-jagged knife and keep the plant in the shade for about a month.Water normally.

7. Pruning:

If the pot looks crowded,cut healthy stems with a sharp knife,making clean cuts and re-plant the stem in another case.

Orchid plants are easily available at most big nurseries.Choose a healthy plant with strong roots and begin!
Nurseries also have a variety of orchid-specific tonics to offer.However use these with caution.They might work,but the plant is delicate and generally all they need are light,air,water and love.

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