FEBRUARY PLANT OF THE MONTH: ORCHID



The Orchidaceae are a diverse and widespread family of flowering plants, with blooms that are often colourful and fragrant, commonly known as the orchid family. There are over 25,000 species and over 100,000 varieties of orchids. The flowers of orchids can survive from just a few hours to 6 months, depending on the species. Orchids produce several millions of miniature seeds. Only few seeds will develop into mature plant. The genus Orchis comes from an Ancient Greek word meaning “testicle”; because of the shape of the bulbous roots.


Orchids are often grown as houseplants. While a good amount of them grow in tropical climates, wild orchids grow worldwide and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.


What Does the Orchid Flower Mean?

The orchid has been held in high regard since ancient times.

It symbolizes:

Love

Beauty

Fertility

Refinement

Thoughtfulness

Charm


Meaningful Botanical Characteristics of the Orchid Flower

In Chinese medicine, the orchid is used as an herbal remedy to ease coughs and lung diseases; treat kidney, lung and stomach deficiencies; and treat eye diseases.

The fragrance of orchid flowers is used in perfumes and beauty products.

The beans of the Vanilla orchid are dried and used as flavouring for sweet drinks and confections. It is a popular flavouring for ice cream, soft drinks and in cakes.





Orchid Care Tips

Most orchids require moist, well-draining conditions. There are several types of growing media that can be used with orchid plants—redwood or fir bark, sphagnum moss, rocks, cork, charcoal, sand, potting soil, etc. A basic orchid mix consists of coarse perlite, bark, and sphagnum moss and charcoal.


Orchids require shallow planting. Place orchids in an east to south-facing window or room. These plants prefer bright, indirect light. Insufficient light results in poor flowering. Too much light can lead to leaf scorch. Temperature is important for indoor orchid care. While orchids tolerate cooler or warmer temperatures throughout their normal growing season, they prefer to be about 15 degrees cooler at night than during the day in order to bloom sufficiently. Indoor Orchids need ample water but should be allowed to dry out some between waterings. One way to check for watering is by poking your finger about an inch into the growing media. If it’s dry, give it some water; otherwise, let it be.


Fertilize orchids weekly or bi-weekly while they are producing new growth and decrease to monthly or bi-monthly intervals once they mature. Discontinue altogether once the plants go dormant. Additional orchid care tips include repotting, which is normally done every other year. If your orchids suddenly stop blooming but have suitable light, temperature, and humidity, then repotting may be necessary. Also keep an eye out for signs of pests or disease. Orchids are occasionally affected by mealybugs, scale, and aphids. These can usually be washed off or treated with insecticidal soap.


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