If you enjoy orchids, you will be happy to learn that they are quite easy to grow in Florida. The combination of warm, humid conditions and the temperature changes in the winter months, provides great conditions for orchids. Be warned, you may soon find the hobby addicting with more plants than you thought you would ever own.

This doesn’t mean that you simply set the plants on the shelf, ignore them and they will flourish. The plants need attention, but not anything out of the ordinary. Water weekly, fertilize, keep an eye out for parasites and your orchids will regularly produce flowers.

How often orchids bloom depends on the type of orchid, weather conditions and sometimes, just plain luck.

The most popular and easiest orchid to care for is the Phalaenopsis or Phal. These are available in most garden centers, plant nurseries and even super markets in Florida. Phals do not tolerate direct sunlight; keep them in the shade in your lanai or other outdoor area. Since they are a tropical plant, they love the humidity and do much better outside. It is possible to bring them inside to enjoy the flowers, but be warned, this sometimes causes the blooms to fall off of the plant. Keeping them out of the flow of the air conditioning, will help avoid the problem.

Water Phals at least once per week during the warmer months and twice a week in the dry months. One way to tell if your plant needs water is by weight; if you pick it up and it feels light, it needs watered. Add a bit of fertilizer to the water and your Phals will stay happy.

Phalaenopsis normally start to bloom after the temperature changes in the winter; a change of 15 degrees from day to night over a period of weeks. Once they bloom, flowers on healthy plants will last several months.

My Phals bloom once each year.



FOG sez:

I don’t bloom, but just keep me watered and fed…I’m Happy!