Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Trying something new

 Photo by Terri Kramzar

I have spent last few days working on my indoor garden. Among all the indoor plants I have, orchids in particular have caught my attention this past year or two. I always thought they were difficult to grow, and them being so expensive, at the nurseries, I never even gave them a second look. What if I kill it? All that money would go to the compost bin. Instead of learning about them, the fear of wasting my money and failing always stopped me from trying. 

It all changed when a friend brought a white orchid as a 'thank you' gift. That orchid stayed fresh, in bloom for months! On top of that, now that I live close to the Longwood Gardens, I have had many chances to go their annual orchid extravaganza show and be inspired.

But having a gifted orchid and all those inspirations still did not change a thing! After the orchid was done blooming, I did not know what to do. I did not go on line or purchase a book on how to take care of an orchid. It seemed too boring to watch that plant grow at a snail's speed and wait for it to re-bloom. So it sat where it was, neglected for a long time. Generally, I talk to my plants! Yes I do, I watch them very closely... every new leaf, every new stem, every pest and every flower - nothing goes without being noticed. But this poor white orchid became an orphan. It dried out and at some point, after two years of not flowering, I considered tossing it in the compost pile.

Last September another friend, who I don't get to see often enough, brought me a gift. It was a complete random act of kindness on her part. She came at my door step, totally unexpected and brought me an orchid!

Now I had two orchids to watch slowly growing. This new one had so many buds still waiting to bloom, it excited me enough to look up on line on how to take care of it. I learned to water, fertilize and find a perfect spot in the house for this new member. It bloomed until I started putting Christmas decorations out! That was almost four months! I had made this orchid live for four months! Not only that, I notice what looked like a new shoot for the next bloom! What? I could actually make an orchid live in my house and rebloom? That was almost impossible! So I watched it grow, watered it once a week and fertilized when I remembered, a new leaf came and then that shoot grew buds! I left for Canada and when I came back, it was blooming!

A success!
This is how it looks this week! It's second time blooming within eight months being in my home!
I couldn't be happier!

Now here is the problem. Well, some would call it that but I think it's a blessing! Our local produce center sells orchids for next to nothing!
Since I have gained confidence in growing them, I bought few more!

I figured, I am learning as I go and they are fun to grow. They were so rooted in already, I decided to re-pot them. I read on American Orchid Society's website that it's best to re-pot them in early spring or summer. I bought clay pots from local Walmart for $1.99 and special Orchid-mix from the hardware store. 


 Check this out, it has freckles!

This one already started budding a new shoot! 
Isn't this a beauty?

I had an antique plant stand I picked up a while ago from a Goodwill store for $4.95 - which became a perfect stand to keep them up right. Now there is enough air circulating around them.

 All happy in one place!

My poor white orchid, was re-potted last fall just when the temperatures were about to dip.

I have learned that orchids are easy to grow as long as you keep them away from direct sun, near north facing window, don't let them dry out and keep the potting material moist but not soggy. Watch for the new buds just below the spent flowers. I made a mistake of cutting the stem back all the way down on my white orchid. I am still waiting for a flower stem to grow.

It is a little slow at growing but I have a feeling it will survive with it's new roots and leaves. Especially now that I have started 'talking' to it.

I hope I have encouraged you to try something you thought you would never do.

I know you are also wondering what is that first picture for? Check out my friend Terri's post today. It will inspire you to try something new in that area too. I know I am and can't wait to try it myself.

Have a happy day you all!


  1. Oh I've never dared to try an orchid either! Yours are just so lovely and exotic--loving that plant stand, too. I have a LOT (read tons) of house plants, but never an orchid...thanks for the encouraging post on them...hugs, Julierose

  2. oh what beautiful orchids….I love how you have them displayed too!

  3. Your orchids are beautiful and look wonderful in that stand. I love the unusual spotty ones. You are right that if you put them in the right place they'll flower for months. My mum got a quite realistic stem of silk orchids to stick in the pot in between flowering times. It used to fool everyone!

  4. I now need to repot mine, they are root bound.
    I do the same thing Rachael's mom does, but a silk one in between flowering times.

  5. Lovely!! I particularly like the grouping with birds on wall as background and on the floor as well.

  6. Your orchids are so pretty in their new plant stand. I wonder if they'll inspire a quilt! ; )

  7. OMG. I may be a convert. I have a house with no direct light, a dry climate and a connection with my mother-in-law (deceased decades before I married into the family but who loved orchids) that makes me want to learn to grow orchids. Thank you for the post.

  8. I too always thought that orchids were too hard to grow, I was given one many years ago as a gift, but alas I didn't take enough care with it and it went to orchid heaven. You are lucky living near the stunning Longwood gardens! I & 4 girlfriends visited those gardens during our patchwork trip to America a few years ago. from Jenny (Australia)

  9. your orchids are lovely - I kill mine with overwatering. Maybe I'll try them again. I've learned you put ice cubes on them to water - weird but cool.

  10. Hello, Sujata,
    There are so much beauties in those photos!! Your orchids are so elegant. Looks they are whispering something.
    Have a happy new week!

  11. You've certainly inspired me to have another try

  12. Good job Sujata, I was given orchid for my birthday 3 years ago. I has been flowering each year on my birthrate, but I didn't do anything with it. Reading your post encouraged me to give my birthday some TLC before my next birthday. Thanks for a great post - Hugs Nat

  13. I have felt the same way about those expensive orchids as you did and now with a new house and North windows in the living room I JUST MIGHT have to try one ....or two. I have nice old pedestals that need a little life sitting up on them...thanks for such an interesting post!!


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