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Orchid Care – Feed, Humidity & Re-potting
By Nigel Howell
The world of orchids is a challenging one, but it is this challenge which captures the imagination of many growers. You have to keep an eye out for bugs when caring for your orchids but perhaps the biggest one is the one you may catch yourself, the orchid bug - you will be an enthusiast for life!
As with humans, plants can do with extra nutrients that they find naturally. If you do decide to use feed, aim for a specialist orchid feed which will contain all the necessary nutrients in the correct proportions. General fertilizers can be used as long as they are not too strong. Ask somebody at the place you purchase if the fertilizer is suitable for orchids.
Orchids like humidity. It is sometimes difficult in the summer months to maintain the required humidity as greenhouses develop a dry atmosphere. It is perhaps worth investing in a hygrometer as this device will tell you exactly what the humidity of the air is. A cheap but effect way of introducing humidity is by using a hand sprayer. You can spray your orchids a few times each day but be careful not to spray too much each time. Avoid spraying on open flowers as they may develop brown spots. A more experienced orchid grower may consider introducing fogger jets. Fogger jets are extremely effective and work by breaking the water up into fine fog.
Orchids may need re-potting for a number of reasons. The compost may begin to lose its nutritional content, it may begin to decompose, it may have been over watered and therefore become waterlogged or it may have outgrown its surroundings.
Ideally re-potting should happen around spring time but if your orchid requires re-potting, the period of the year shouldn’t prevent you from doing so. Look out for re-potting every 2 to 3 years.
When it is time to re-pot you need to decide which compost to use. There many different types of compost you can choose. Choose compost which drains easily as one of the common reasons some orchids die is because of over watering.
You need to choose a pot which is the correct size and provides plenty of drainage. You should only consider increasing the size of the pot if that was the reason for re-potting in the first place.
Once you have re-potted the plant put it in a shady place for 1 to 2 weeks. Give it about a week until its first watering session but be careful not to over water.
Nigel owns OrchidCareExpert, a website which contains lots of useful information. If you wish to know more about orchid care please visit http://www.orchidcareexpert.com