Magazine article Sunset

Orchids Indoors? Here Are Two Types You Can Grow Easily

Magazine article Sunset

Orchids Indoors? Here Are Two Types You Can Grow Easily

Article excerpt

Orchids indoors?

Should you try growing orchids indoors?Orchids in the two groups shown at right are among the easiest and most satisfying for beginners, blooming well under the light and temperature conditions common in many homes. Their flowers are particularly long lasting.

Multiflowered spikes of moth orchid(Phalaenopsis) commonly last two to three months, and large healthy plants may bloom twice a year. Flowers are usually white or lavender-pink, sometimes yellow or tan, often with stripes or a contrasting center.

Lady's slippers (Paphiopedilum) bloomover a period of four weeks to three months. Warts, hairs, and stripes in green, tan, and mahogany give them an exotic look that people either love or hate. As they mature and become more prolific, some kinds bloom all at once in one spectacular display; others put up a few flowers at a time on and off all year.

The right spot

The ideal situation is in bright, filteredlight, as in an east-facing window. A south- or west-facing window can work if plants are placed somewhat back from the glass or if sheer curtains filter the light. A north-facing window may do if light is reflected in by a wall or paving outside. Insufficient light results in dark green foliage with no flowers. But direct sun scorches leaves.

To keep humidity high, set pot on pebblesin a tray or saucer filled with water, with the water level just below the pot's bottom. It also helps to cluster plants. If you have hot summers or cold winters, the air may be dry enough that you need to use a humidifier or to mist the foliage in the morning (keep it dry at night to avoid disease).

For moth orchids and lady's slippers fromwarm climates (usually ones with mottled leaves), normal indoor temperatures are generally fine: about 60| to 65| at night, 70| to 85| during the day. …

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