How To Grow Orchids

How To Grow Orchids

Orchids are among the most beautiful flowers of the entire plant kingdom, combining exotic looks with a diverse set of characteristics. Orchids are exquisite plants, compromising over 30,000 different species and over 200,000 hybrid varieties–making orchids the largest family of plants in the world. Capable of growing indoors and outdoors, orchids are no doubt unique and, unfortunately for some potential green-thumbs, difficult to grow successfully. Someone who hopes to grow orchids should prepare themselves for both the failures and triumphs that breeding this lovely plant variety bring.

1. Select a species of orchid

Some orchids are easier to grow than others. Cattleya, Phalaenopsis and Paphiopedilum orchids are amongst the easiest to grow and are recommended for most beginner gardeners and orchid growers. There are, however, believed to be over 20,000 species of orchid species — that’s 2 times the amount of existing bird species and 4 times the amount of existing mammalian species. There’s almost literally an orchid for any type of person.

Perhaps the most common genera of orchids found for sale include Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium and Oncidium. Phalaenopsis is known as the “moth orchid” and is extremely popular among beginning growers; the genus Dendrobium contains about 1,200 species of orchids and is the classic epiphyte of orchids; Oncidiums are characterized by column wings and a callus at the lip of the flower.

Different genera of orchids have different ideal humidity, growing temperatures, watering schedules, and light requirements. Talk with your local nursery or visit the local chapter of your orchid society to find out what makes your genus of orchid grow best.

2. Choose the right kind of soil for your orchids

Some first-time orchid growers make the mistake of assuming that orchids need to be potted in soil like other blooming flowers, choosing potting soil as a conduit. That would be a grave mistake. Most orchid roots need far more air than potting soil would give them, and so benefit from a looser, more porous mix.
Many people use bark chips, spaghnum moss, coconut husks, charcoal, perlite, and even styrofoam pellets as potting mix, often in combination. Experiment with porous, breathable mixes that you have on hand, or ask an expert for his or her special recipe.

 3. Try a potting mix, or combination of several different mediums

For simplicity’s sake, you can make two basic kinds of potting mixes that will work for most kinds of orchids.

Make a fine potting mix, suitable for slipper orchids, most oncidiums, miltonias, and orchids with small roots that enjoy moisture more than most:
4 parts fine (grain) fir bark or fine (grain) coco husk
1 part fine (grain) charcoal
1 part perlite
Make a medium potting mix, suitable for cattleyas, phalaenopsis, and other mature orchids. If you’re unsure of which mix to use, try the medium-grade potting mix before the fine-grade mix:
4 parts medium (grain) fir bark or medium (grain) coco husk
1 part medium (grain) charcoal
1 part perlite

4. Unless your orchid is a big plant, choose a snug pot for your orchid

Many orchids are comfortable being root-bound. Choose a smaller pot to place your orchid in, making sure that there are plenty of holes in the pot itself for drainage. Remember, the enemy of orchids is often over-watering. Some orchids, such as cymbidiums, will require longer pots to accommodate very long root systems. The following types of pots offer a break from the traditional clay pot (which is perfectly acceptable):

Net pots, which have wire mesh and allow for a breathable environment. These can be hung in advantageous locations for better sunlight.
Clear plastic pots, which get better sunlight to the roots. These allow the grower to inspect the root systems without disturbing the orchid.
Wooden pots, which are constructed of rot-resistant wood. Line any wooden pots with sheet moss before adding your potting mixture.

5. If propagating seeds, be patient

Make sure your hands and your environment are sterile. Scatter just a few seeds immediately beneath the surface of each pot. Add environmentally-friendly fertilizer, if necessary. Again, use the best soil available.

6. Pot your orchid

Remove the orchid from its original pot, making sure to cut off any dead or rotting roots. Divide the root matter into several different sections, if needed, before placing the plant in its pot. The most mature section of growth should be positioned against the wall of the pot. Lightly add the potting mix, barely covering the root system.

 7. Know when to re-pot your orchids

Different orchids benefit from being re-potted accordingly:

Yearly: Dendrobium, Miltonia, Paphiopedilum and Phalaenopsis (and hybrids)
Bi-annually: Cattleya, Dendrobium, Oncidium, Odontoglossum (and hybrids)
Once every three years: Vanda, Cymbidium

Nurturing Your Orchids

Create the right temperature for your orchid. Most orchids originate from a tropical climate, meaning good air, plenty of light, and 12-hour days (365 days a year). The temperature (depending on the species of orchid) should range between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 to 23.8 degrees Celsius).
Make sure that there’s about a 20 degree F (6.66 degree C) difference between day and night temperatures. This must be implemented as soon as you begin.
Make sure your orchids get enough sunlight, but not too much. Many orchids enjoy indirect sunlight: direct sunlight cases them to burn, while not enough creates a plant that doesn’t flower.

Check your orchid’s leaves if you want to diagnose whether it’s getting too much light or not enough. Orchid leaves should be a light, even green if healthy. If the leaves are dark green, it means that the orchid isn’t getting enough light. If the leaves are yellow, brown, or reddish, it means they’re getting too much.

Low-light orchids ( Paphiopedilum, Phalaenopsis, and Oncidium) do best if they get northerly or easterly light. Moderate to high-light orchids (Cattleya, Dendrobium, and Vanda) prefer getting westerly or southerly light.
Orchids love being behind curtains or window blinds. This way, they get plenty of light, but the light that they do get is indirect.
Water your orchid once every 5 to 12 days. It’s easier to kill an orchid by watering it too frequently than by watering it too seldom. During the summer months, longer days and more heat might necessitate a shorter watering period.
Keep the following genera moist (although not soggy) at all times: Paphiopedilum, Miltonia, Cymbidium, and Odontoglossum.
Keep the following genera moist during active growth, but allow to dry in between waterings otherwise: Cattleya, Oncidium, Brassia, and Dendrobium.
Allow the following genera to dry out in between waterings: Phalaenopsis, Vanda, and Ascocenda.
Care for the orchids diligently. Orchids require much more attention than your average plant or flower. The thicker your leaves are, the more likely your plant requires a larger dose of water. If your plant has bulky faux-bulbs, less water is better. Orchids are not resilient in most occasions, but are when it comes to their water intake. Again, they actually deal with a lack of water better than a superfluous amount of water.
Do not over-fertilize your orchids. Typically, expect to fertilize your orchid once a month, but rarely more. Fertilize too often and you’ll chance burning the roots and hampering flowering; fertilize not often enough and you’ll chance hampering the flowering process.
Keep the humidity level up. Because of orchids’ natural affinity for humidity, keep the humidity of your growing room — wherever it may be — at about 60% to 80% at all times.
Understand that each orchid is different. Each strand of orchid has different caretaking needs and rules. No one orchid is the same; all require a different temperature, lighting situation and watering schedule. So when you choose an orchid plant to grow, you must be flexible when growing orchids.
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Flower Rangoli

Floral Rangoli

Rangoli is a folk art from India. Rangoli is made in living rooms and courtyards floors during Hindu festivals and ceremonies like wedding and events. Rangoli is sacred and used for welcoming Hindu deities. The art has been passed down through ages, from each generation to next generation keeping the art and tradition alive. Rangoli design is created by using colors, dry flour, colored rice or flower petals.

Rangoli is generally practiced by women as means of decoration. The design varies reflecting the traditions, folklore and practices which are customary to that part of area. It goes by name of Kolam in Tamil Nadu, ChowkPurna/Chowk Puja in Central & Northen States of India, Ossa in Orissa, Alpana in West Bengal and many more.

Rangoli design can be simple geometric shapes, flower petals shaped, impressions of deities, or birds, but the design mostly depends on the occasion. Like “Swastika” which is sacred symbol of auspiciousness can be used during any occasion whereas impression of impression of Goddess Saraswati is used in functions related to academics, music and arts as she is Goddess of learning or lamps which are used for decorations during Diwali.

Rangoli is a decorative and colourful design made on the floors especially during festive occasions. These are considered sacred and are meant to serve as welcoming areas to Gods. Rangolis are usually colourful (though you can find monochrome designs too) and are made using several materials like flower petals, rice, flour etc. In Eastern and Southern regions, Rangolis are made using a mixture made of grounded rice mixed with water, and are specially called Kolams (in Tamil Nadu).  So each region has its own ways of doing their rangolis.

The most common flowers used in Flower rangolis are:

Daisies, roses and marigolds. Not just flowers but leaves are used in flower Rangoli too

Before making a rangoli design one needs to understand the concept of rangoli, its evolution, types and importance. Rangolis hold a unique stand in our society. It is an art and is often used in collaboration with welcoming a particular festival or a special event.
Rangoli is a creative decorative design made in the grounds or entrance of your houses during festivals or special events. Rangoli is an Indian tradition which is followed since ages. People belonging to different creed, castes and religions follow this tradition.
Rangoli Designs are of different types. They are classified into free hand rangoli design, Dots Rangoli Design, Flower Rangoli Design, Ganesh Rangoli and much more. All of these are full of colors and life!
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