Monday, September 10, 2012

A Rose By Any Other Name

I have a phalaenopsis. No, it's not a deadly disease, but rather an orchid with a purple flower and a reddish centre. I received it for Mothers' Day, May 2012.

I long admired the varieties of this plant which seemed abundant in every window sill in Europe. For some reason, I had misconceptions about orchids. I thought they were difficult to grow, perhaps regional, or that there was some deep mystery behind their existence. I don't know for certain how the false information originated, but I do know that orchids are fairly costly when purchased from a florist.

As I researched orchids, I discovered that there are over 30,000 species. They grow everywhere in the world except Antarctica and in very dry desert areas. It almost sounded like some type of weed.

When I received the plant, I panicked. I had no idea how to look after it. I am pleased that my instincts, or rather my carelessness, set me in the right direction. I put my lovely new plant in my office window and forgot about it. It had a few purple blooms at the tip of the sticks, matched my office decor and looked nice in there. My office window faces in a south easterly direction. One day, after a few weeks away from this space, I realized that I had abandoned the poor plant without water and rushed to retrieve what I thought could be a droopy, dead stick. Instead, here is what I found. Magnificent!

The original flowers had multiplied...quadrupled in fact. It was then that I realized, orchids thrive on neglect. I moved the phenomenal plant onto my dining room table where it receives diffused light similar to that in my office. I am now able to admire and appreciate it daily. I give it some water, but not enough to soak it, every few weeks. I have read that water slightly on the warmer side is good. I have also added a small fertilizer spike.

My orchid seems to have sprouted tentacles. I'm not too clear on what these are unless they're some type of root.

Perhaps, once it's done flowering, I'll try my hand at transplanting into a slightly larger pot. This won't happen in the near future though. Why? It is now September and my orchid looks like this.

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