I must admit to being the most terrible Orchid killer. I’ve been given several over the last few years and all have died except the last, a Cimbidium. Perhaps this was due to ‘not paying due care and attention’ to them or simply leaving it too the point of drooping leaves and dried out crackling compost before emergency care measures kick in.
Care labels never really give you enough info, it’s all a bit bland and perfect. I don’t live in a green house, or indeed an orchid friendly house it would seem. But a final attempt seems to be going ok, not brilliantly but as I patiently obsess over whether the flourishing leafy Cimbidium will in fact flower or simply continue to grow new leaves I am please at least that it hasn’t died!!
I recall Sarah Raven on GW a few years back advising that even moving an orchid (a Phalenopsis I think) from shop to car and car to house around the time of UK Mother’s day (early March) might be enough to kill it off if there’s a stiff breeze and wintry blasts. So no cold then. Another tidbit sunk in from somewhere (!) on the use of rainwater ONLY and the odd drizzle of water draining through when it’s dry not drowning it weekly. It lives in trees so watering would happen in the wild when water runs down a tree trunk or off a leaf branch. The last week on GW Monty was at RHS Wisely where they have a glorious exhibition of their Orchidacae collection and the news from this piece was that not only do they not like cold blasts, soggy roots or tap water but they don’t like dry radiator heat either. **GROAN** So my Cimbidium sitting on the dining room table basking in the sun for the first part of the day and wallowing over the, up to 20 degrees, radiator is not it’s preferred option either. I’ve since added some gravel and a little water beneath to make it at least more humid.
Following a client presentation just off J11 on the M25 on Saturday I skidded up to Wisley and the big Orchid laden glass house as the clock moved on towards 16:30. Driving rain, horizontal winds and scudding clouds were not enough to put me off, though I barely made it round as the glass house closed at 17:10. What surprised me is that my Cimbidium and indeed the Phalenopsis were in the cooler part of the glass house, not the steamy humid, glasses wiping part, though there may have been some varieties in there, I was moving to fast to take notes! So in fact my dining room is the perfect temp for them, just a little extra moisture and some new compost with a drizzle of orchid friendly food in the rain water and maybe just maybe this year I might get a flower spike.