How to keep your orchid alive

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Orchids are beautiful flowers that make any room look more sophisticated. They’re also known for how easy they are to care for after you have all the right potting media and plant food. If you’ve never owned an orchid before, you may wonder how to take care of it so that it lives for years. With diligent care, your orchids can bloom flowers every year and can last for decades! The key to keeping an orchid alive is to follow the “Goldilocks rule” which means that there should not be too much or too little of anything. This applies to its lighting, temperature, food, watering schedule, and more.

 

Orchids are perennials, which means that they can bloom season after season, so don’t throw away an orchid when the blooms are gone! By using this guide you can take care of your plant so it continues to bloom year after year. When you learn how to prune and nourish your orchids, you will gain the confidence to own a variety of this plant in different colors. To get started, find beautiful orchids of all types and styles in our lovely orchid collection!

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What Type of Soil to Use for Your Orchid?

Though orchids usually come in planters, their roots are stabilized in “media” like moss or bark, not soil. This is because they are air plants, the name for plants that get nutrients and hydration from the air and their surroundings. Media like peat moss and bark stabilizes the roots of the orchid and helps the plant absorb nutrients and water from them. When it’s time to change your orchid’s media, it’s easy to find replacements at a gardening store. Overall, orchids like stability. If there are too many extremes in their environment, they don’t do well, so take care to make their living space moderate and predictable.

 

Even though indoor plants aren’t braving the elements, this is still a difficult transition for them. However, you can successfully keep your house plants looking good and thriving even after these changes begin. A change in growing habits doesn’t mean that your plans are going to wither away and die. It just means that you need to adjust your care methods so that they thrive in their dormant state.

Indirect Light

Orchids do the best in indirect light. It’s best to place your orchid near an east-facing window to get morning light but then avoid the direct sunlight of midday. Even air plants need some sun, so this low level of light is ideal. You may also put an orchid in a spot where the afternoon sun reaches if you veil the light with a sheer curtain.

 

When an orchid gets enough light, its leaves are bright olive green. When the leaves are dark, it’s a sign that they’re not getting enough light, while red on the leaves mean that there’s too much light.

Achieve The Goldilocks Temperature

Orchids do well in moderate temperatures. Specifically, its environment should be between 60ºF and 80ºF at all times. Avoid putting an orchid in a place with more extreme temperature fluctuations like a windowsill, attic, or basement. These spots get the most direct drafts from outdoors, making them colder or hotter than your home’s average temperature. Improper temperatures can mean that any buds drop off instead of blooming, which can be quite disappointing. However, this is a preventable problem, so by being proactive you can protect your orchid’s beautiful flowers.

Food & Water for Your Orchid

Orchids are air plants, which means that they get some supplemental watering from the air. However, they still need hydration help from you. On average, an orchid needs to be watered once a week with lukewarm water. This cadence may be more frequent in summer and less frequent in the winter, so pay attention to the appearance of your plant. Overall, it’s best to water less than to overwater. If the media is staying moist, you are doing a good job. To help it not dry out too quickly, you can place some moss on top and spray it with mist if it dries out.

 

There are several methods to watering orchids. Some people swear by dropping one or two standard-sized ice cubes on top of the potting media once a week. Then, they let it melt and absorb slowly. You may also directly water the plant yourself with a narrow nose watering can. Just irrigate the media inside the rim and then water the circumference of the media, keeping the center dry.

Orchids thrive when they are given fertilizer once a week (except while they are blooming). An ideal ratio is about a teaspoon of 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer placed into a gallon of water. You should also skip the fertilization step once a month to clear the pot of extra salt that can harm the plant’s growth. For the best results, use fertilizer specifically made for orchids.

Pruning for More Flowers

Orchid flowers last between 6 weeks to several months, which gives you plenty of time to enjoy their beautiful colors and scent. Even after the flowers fall, you can get more flowers out of your plant. Here are two ways to do it:

  • For bigger, better flowers: Cut the plant’s spike at the bottom where the leaves are. This will cause it to grow another stronger stem and larger flowers in a year.
  • For faster regrowth: Cut the stem above the first bump (officially called a node) right below the lowest drying flower. This same stem may then produce more flowers in two to three months.

Repotting Your Orchid

For your orchid to be healthy, its bark chips need to be in good shape. This means that you must replace them when you notice any sign of decay. Orchid roots also grow, so you need to repot when the roots start to push up through the media due to lack of space. Both of these events happen every 1-3 years.

 

To switch the potting media, water the orchid to loosen it from the pot, then gently pull it out and wash the old media from the orchid’s roots. Use clippers to snip away any dry or dead-looking roots. Then, repot the plant in new moistened planting media, with the bottom leaves sitting above the bark pieces but 1/2 an inch below the pot’s rim.

Discover Orchids & More

Orchids make any place look more beautiful, and once you find a nice spot for them, they can thrive with minimal upkeep. They can even keep on giving you beautiful flowers for years when you follow these easy care tips! Find potted gifts from our gorgeous orchid collection.

 

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This article originally appeared on UrbanStems.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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Do you know your state’s official flower?

 

As the months get warmer, flowers are starting to bloom, dotting the landscape with swaths of vibrant color. In celebration of spring, we’ve put together this list of every state’s official flower, with lovely photos and a little history as well.

 

 

 

kanonsky / istockphoto

 

 

  • Year it became official: 1959
  • How to find it: Look for delicate light pink petals folded up tightly, although you can also find the flower in a variety of other colors across the South.

Camellia by junichiro aoyama (CC BY)

 

  • Year it became official: 1917
  • How to find it: This dainty purplish-blue flower has a yellow-white core. You can find varieties of the forget-me-not across Alaska.

Alpine Forget-Me-Not by Meneerke bloem (CC BY-SA)

 

  • Year it became official: 1931
  • How to find it: Unsurprisingly, Arizona’s state flower is a blooming cactus. Look for white flowers with a yellow center at the end of a cactus. When the flowers haven’t bloomed yet, you’ll likely see large green buds attached to the cactus.

Arizona: Saguaro Cactus Blossom by raelb Follow (CC BY-NC-SA)

 

  • Year it became official: 1901
  • How to find it: Given Arkansas’ history as an apple-growing state, it only makes sense that the apple blossom is its official state flower. If you can’t make of the state’s many apple blossom festivals, you can still find this white and pink flower naturally across the state.

apple blossom by to.wi (CC BY-NC-SA)

 

  • Year it became official: 1903
  • How to find it: This vibrant “golden” flower is a great choice for the Golden State. It has elegant, flowing petals that wrap around its stem.

california poppy by docentjoyce (CC BY)

  • Year it became official: 1899
  • How to find it: The columbine is a white and lavender flower with graceful yellow seeds hanging from its center like tentacles. If you couldn’t tell by the name, you can find it in the Rocky Mountains, among other places around Colorado.

Rocky Mountain Columbine by Rob Duval (CC BY-SA)

 

  • Year it became official:1907
  • How to find it: This flower is known for its star-shaped petals and reddish-pinkish specks.

mountain laurel by Arx Fortis (CC BY-SA)

  • Year it became official:1895
  • How to find it: Look for bold pinkish-orange petals, like the color of an actual peach.

Peach Blossom by pepperberryfarm (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1909
  • How to find it: Unsurprisingly, Florida chose the orange blossom for its state flower. Look for a white-cream petal with an orange-yellow middle.

Orange Blossom by (CC BY-NC-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1916
  • How to find it: This is a white rose with a bright yellow middle.

Cherokee Rose by Courtney McGough (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1988
  • How to find it: Look for a hibiscus-shaped flower that’s a bright golden yellow.

Pua Aloalo by Rosa Say (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1931
  • How to find it: This flower has four white petals with pastel yellow seeds in the middle.

Syringa by Brent Miller (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1908
  • How to find it: Keep your eyes peeled for a small flower that is, well, violet.

violet by Maia C (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1957
  • How to find it: This is a bold, fluffy flower that’s most commonly a vibrant pinkish-red, although it can be found in other colors, too.

Peony by Bob Gutowski (CC BY-NC-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1897
  • How to find it: The flower has small, delicate pink-white petals and a thick stem with lots of leaves.

Wild Rose by jinjian liang (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1903
  • How to find it: Look for thick stems and its signature yellow petals. You can find sunflowers across the state.

Sunflowers by LynnK827 (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1926
  • How to find it: The goldenrod is shaped like a lightning bolt speckled with tiny yellow buds.

Goldenrod by Elaine (CC BY-NC-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1900
  • How to find it: Magnolias have thick, curved petals and are most commonly found in a cream-white color.

magnolia by Paxsimius (CC BY-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1895
  • How to find it: White pines can be seen across Maine. Just look for the massive white pine trees, and the pine cones are sure to follow.

White Pine Cone and Tassel by Eli Sagor (CC BY-NC)

  • Year it became official: 1918
  • How to find it: As the name suggests, this flower has a strong, big black middle and is surrounded by yellow petals.

Black-Eyed Susan by Dendroica cerulea (CC BY-NC-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1918
  • How to find it: Look for bunched-together small, star-shaped petals. They’re most commonly found in shades of white and purple.

Mayflower by Jim Sorbie (CC BY)

  • Year it became official: 1897
  • How to find it: Michigan named the apple blossom its official state flower since apples grow naturally across Michigan.

apple blossom by to.wi (CC BY-NC-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1967
  • How to find it: These flowers have unique petals that curve upward, making them look like a multi-colored slipper.

Pink & White Lady Slipper by Orchidhunter1939 (CC BY-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1952
  • How to find it: Magnolias were chosen by school children to be the state flower. The flower also appears on the state’s bicentennial coin.

Magnolia by pontla (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1923
  • How to find it: Look for clustered little white flowers with black seeds.

Hawthorn flowers by Eugene Zelenko (CC BY-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1895
  • How to find it: Bitterroots have overlapping purple-white petals and white middle.

Bitterroot by David A. Hofmann (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1895
  • How to find it: Goldenrods are native to Nevada and be found by looking for fuzzy yellow buds that are grouped together.

Goldenrod by Tim Tonjes (CC BY-NC-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1917
  • How to find it: Look for tall, fuzzy stems with about three“petals” sticking up straight from the stem.

sagebrush by Joel Hoffman (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1991
  • How to find it: This flower has one long petal that curls to look like a slipper.

Pink & White Lady Slipper by Orchidhunter1939 (CC BY-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1913
  • How to find it: Violets speckle New Jersey’s landscape with bold purple flowers.

Wood Violet by Maia C (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1927
  • How to find it: The yucca flower has a signature white bulb, although there are other species of the flower across the state, too.

Yucca Flower by DM (CC BY-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1955
  • How to find it: While you may not find roses growing naturally in New York City, you can find them in the state’s more rural or country areas.

Red rose by T.Kiya (CC BY-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1941
  • How to find it: Dogwood flowers have tiny white petals and bold yellow cores. They are often grouped together like a thunderbolt.

Dogwood by David Hoffman (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1907
  • How to find it: The wild prairie rose has light pink petals and a golden center.

wild prairie rose by Alexwcovington (CC BY-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1904
  • How to find it: This flower’s red petals create a fluffy bulb.

red carnation by カールおじさん (CC BY-SA)

  • Year it became official: 2004
  • How to find it: The state liked the flower so much, they named it after themselves. This variation of the rose is commonly used in teas.

red rose by Jörg Kanngießer (CC BY-NC)

  • Year it became official: 1899
  • How to find it: The Oregon grape is a bushel of tiny yellow bulbs arranged like grapes.

Oregon Grape by Meggar (CC BY-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1933
  • How to find it: Mountain Laurels are petticoat-shaped flowers with a star-shaped pattern in a reddish-pink color on the inside. They puff out like an umbrella.

Mountain Laurel by Tim Singer (CC BY-NC-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1968
  • How to find it: You can find violets across the state, as they are common throughout the northern hemisphere.

violet by Dendroica cerulea (CC BY-NC-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1924
  • How to find it: This is another delicate but bold flower. The yellow jessamine grows wildly in the state.

Yellow Jessamine by John ‘K’ (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1903
  • How to find it: Look for oval-shaped purple petals with a yellow-gold middle.

American Pasque by Hillarie (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1933
  • How to find it: Irises have a purple-blue petal with a yellow middle where the two petals combine.

Iris by Fred (CC BY)

  • Year it became official: 1901
  • How to find it: Bonnets are small blue buds or redbuds that climb upward, forming the shape of a bonnet.

bluebonnet by Stephanie (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1911
  • How to find it: This lily has three oval petals and three triangular ones. It’s most commonly found in white.

Sego Lily by C.Maylett (CC BY-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1894
  • How to find it: This flower forms a large bulb out of smaller bulbs. It’s commonly found in red or purple.

Red Clover by Tim Tonjes (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1918
  • How to find it: This flower can be found on dogwood branches. Look for small white flowers, although in winter the flower can develop redbuds as well.

dogwood by laura.bell (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official: 1959
  • How to find it: Look for pastel reds and pinks stained on a white flower. They naturally grow in the shape of a bouquet.

Rhododendron by Arx Fortis (CC BY-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1903
  • How to find it: The rhododendron has a series of small cream flowers bunched in a bouquet formation. They have light green seeds in their middles.

Rhododendron by Arx Fortis (CC BY-SA)

  • Year it became official: 1909
  • How to find it: Wisconsin is one of the many other Midwest states that chose the violet as their flower. The wood violet can be found across Wisconsin.

violet by Maia C (CC BY-NC-ND)

  • Year it became official:1917
  • How to find it: This flower has a tall stem with flowers budding up and down it. It’s called a paintbrush because the red flowers bloom randomly on the stem, making it look like specks of paint on a brush.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Indian Paintbrush by rumolay (CC BY-NC-ND)

 

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Featured Image Credit: Nadya So/ iStock.

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