Magazine article Sunset

Wise-Buy Orchids

Magazine article Sunset

Wise-Buy Orchids

Article excerpt

Moth orchids are beautiful, long-- flowering, and unfussy

During the past few years, orchids have taken the West's big flower shows by storm. There are so many, you hardly know where to begin.

Our advice: Try moth orchids (Phalaenopsis). Able to hold flowers for months, they're well adapted to household conditions. And they're often as inexpensive as $15 or $20. They're available almost everywhere; you'll find them at nurseries, supermarkets, home and garden centers, and discount clubs.

more to choose from

As supply has increased, so has the variety of flower colors and forms. In addition to basic white, pink, and yellow, there are now mauve and purple versions and any number of lined, spotted, and bicolored flowers. Leaves can be green or patterned, often with red-tinged undersides or spotted with deep plum. There are also dwarf moth orchids, ones with multiple or branching stalks, and a few that produce more than 20 blossoms per spike. Named varieties usually have more flowers per stalk or more exotic color combinations (and a higher price) than seedlings.

Care and feeding

Place moth orchids indoors where they'll receive light from an east-- or north-facing window. Daytime temperatures should be 680 or higher with at least 50 percent humidity To raise the humidity, place pots atop pebbles in water-filled trays.

Feed moth orchids with half-- strength liquid fertilizer twice per month during late spring, summer, and early autumn. …

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