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Orchid care


A customer earlier this month – one of many brave gardeners out in those gale force winds – asked me what my favourite indoor plant was, and without stopping to think, I said Zanzibar Gem.

Now this is partly true, its beauty being for busy homeowners its little requirement for water; but I have to confess my absolute love is the Cymbidium Orchid.

Blooming through winter, they give such lush growth and magnificent sprays of blooms to create a dramatic display. Beware; sometimes, after they have finished flowering, they may need a spell outside in a shady spot to enable them to produce blooms for next year.

Cymbidiums are native to the Himalayas and require less fuss than other species and can even be planted in the garden in morning sun.

They look spectacular under trees or as highlights in a tropical garden.

Repotting is generally the subject of concern to first plant owners. I can simplify this: they won’t need re-potting for at least three years in an average sized pot and then they can simply be potted into a larger pot giving the bulbs space to spread.

Use a reputable potting medium during September or October as from this period of time the plants are growing and any interference during the warmer weather can cause the bulbs to shrink.

Fertilising only one or two plants can be simple by applying Searles Flourish for Orchids, following the instructions dissolved in water.

Once a decision is made to divide orchids, they require a little care and knowledge as division will often stop flower production for a couple of seasons.

My answer to this is the wonderful knowledge members of the orchid societies have and are very willing to help. During this time of year, they will often be doing displays in shopping malls and even invite you to take along your plant.

This week:

  • Begin taking frangipani cuttings. Leave them aside in a dry place until the sap dries before planting.
  • Many gardeners have their tomatoes planted; time to use Flourish each week designated for tomatoes and vegetables.
  • Wait to prune tropical plants until the weather settles.

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