The Q&A Archives: Potting Cut Orchids

Question: I was sent a bouquet of orchids for my birthday on Dec. 8th. After a few days, I saved some branches, trimmed them and put them in water in a glass vase. New blooms are developing and there are new leaves and roots. Can I pot these branches? How do I do it? I know NOTHING about plants.

Answer: Lucky you! It's unusual for orchid stems to produce roots, but if yours have, go ahead and pot them up. There are about 100,000 types of orchids suitable for indoor growing and each type has its own special needs, but here are a few general rules:

Orchids need ample humidity, so put the pot on a pebble-filled tray and keep water in it. Also keep thesoil moist. When watering, use tepid, not cold water. Mist the leaves occasionally.

Orchids need 10-15 hours of bright light each day, but keep them out of direct sunlight.

They prefer daytime temperatures of about 70F in summer and 60F in winter, with a 10 degree drop at night.

Keep them out of cold drafts, feed them during the summer months with a low nitrogen fertilizer, and let them become pot-bound (they flower more freely when their toes are pinched).

If you know the specific type of orchid you have, send another question with this information (via the web page) and we can try to give you more specifics.

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