The Q&A Archives: Almond Bark As Mulch

Question: I went to order some mulch from the local store and realized that the only bark mulch that they carried was made from almond bark. Is this type of mulch ok to use for my plants? Thanks, also, I have a cymbidium orchid that has not bloomed in several years sitting on my porch. What is a sure way that I could get it to bloom? Thank you,

Paige Fagnan

Answer: Almond bark mulch is just fine to use around landscape plants. Different mulches are available in different parts of the country, depending upon local sources. Redwood and almond mulches are popular in your gardening region and either will serve the purpose.

Here are a few general rules for growing healthy orchids:

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).

Cymbidiums are terrestrial orchids, and are very popular houseplants. Most plants should be repotted when the bulbs fill the pot. Transplant after carefully pulling away the dead parts and cutting into divisions that contain 3 healthy bulbs with foliage attached. These divisions should be planted in prepackaged cymbidium mix, or you can make your own potting soil by mixing together 2 parts redwood bark or sawdust, 2 parts peat moss, and 1 part sand. This recipe will provide a fast-draining yet moisture retentive soil for your plant. Cymbidiums should be fed every 10 days during the growing season with a complete liquid fertilizer that's high in nitrogen.

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