The Q&A Archives: Growing an orchid

Question: Could you please tell me how to take care of an Oriental Orchid ? It has already bloomed and I'm not sure where to place it and if I need to cut it down or what I do to keep it going.Thanks Dawn

Answer: Your Oriental or Asian orchid is Pleione. Culturally, they prefer cooler conditions year round, which is tough in Illinois, since the summers are hot. Just remember that they grow at higher elevations, in cloud forests usually on mossy branches, or moss covered rocks. Cool, damp and misty as well as buoyant air, is critical. These plants grow from bulbs, like a tulip or narcissis.

When the flower is spent, cut the flower and its stem down to foliage level. It will produce new flowering buds. Expect the foliage to die down in the winter so the bulb can rest for a few months. Stop watering when that happens. Then in January it will wake up and new buds will begin to appear in late February. When that happens, you can start watering again. All they need is a fast draining potting soil (an orchid mix is great - it has wood chips and spaghnum moss to help it drain quickly. When the plant is actively growing feed every two weeks with a half-strength dilution of liquid fertilizer (such as Miracle Gro or Peter's).


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