Not much doing outside this time of year is there! There's plenty I'd love to be getting on with out there but anything that involves sloshing around in mud is pretty much out of the question. This unfortunately means that I can't even get on with the building projects I have planned.
Probably for this exact reason I find myself paying more attention than usual to the indoor plants I have. I realised lately that all my indoor plants with the exception of a Peace Lily are non flowering plants - how boring, I mean if I am going to spend so much time intricately clean each and every leaf of a Ficus with leaf shine wipes (yes, I seriously do) then you'd have thought I would have chosen something that will repay my dilligence with at least a smidging of colour wouldn't you?
My favourite indoor plant would have to be the Orchid but I've always assumed these treasures would be difficult to grow and require constant daily attention so I've avoided buying them even when they appear on Lidl shelves looking O so pretty.
Imagine my surprise when my guest post writer - Lucas Barnes, of Plantdex - furnished me with this post, explaining how easy some of them can actually be.
Lucas Barnes has a BA from the University of San Diego, and is an avid writer on all gardening related topics.
Most commonly grown varieties of orchids
Moth orchids are the most common, least expensive orchids to grow. Blooms appear in shades of white, yellow, orange, pink, red, green and purple and can last for 4 months.
How to Grow: Water Moth orchids every week or every fortnight. They thrive best in low, medium or bight light and in temperatures ranging from 50̊ -75̊ F. Blooms are bigger if plants are fed monthly with orchid fertilizer.
Hint: A drop in temperatures encourages them to bloom.
Dendrobium orchids are a florist’s favorite. Color ranges from white to pink to purple and green. Blooms can last up to a month or more.
How to Grow: Dendrobium thrives in medium to bright light and temperatures ranging from 50̊-70̊ F. Water them weekly or fortnightly and fertilize each month with orchid fertilizer.
Hint: There are hundreds of dendrobiums. They bloom on new stems and keep their leaves all year.
Oncidium or dancing lady orchids have small flowers appearing in clusters of 50 or more and in shades of white, purple, yellow, pink and red, with flashy contrasting designs.
How to Grow: They thrive best in medium to bright light and temperatures ranging from 50̊-75̊ F. Water them weekly or fortnightly in spring and summer and feed with orchid fertilizer once monthly.
Hint: Some Oncidium orchids emit a delightful fragrance.
Cymbidium orchids are popular, easy to care, indoor plants with waxy flowers that last long during winter or early spring.
How to Grow: Cymbidium orchids thrive best in bright light and temperatures ranging from 50̊ to 70̊ F. They can be taken outside during summer and placed in a shady spot. Water them every week and encourage blooms with a monthly feed of fertilizer during spring and summer.
Hint: Cymbidium orchids flower best in temperatures under 50̊ F for several of weeks, which result in winter blooms.
Paphiopedilium/Lady's Slippers Orchids
The most distinct of all orchids, lady’s slippers have large blooms consisting of a hollow “pocket” with two petals and a sepal. They have variegated leaves giving the plant an added beauty in the absence of the flowers.
How to Grow: Lady's slippers thrive best in low, medium, or bright light and temperatures ranging from 50̊-70̊F. Water them once a week, and feed them monthly with orchid fertilizer in spring and summer.
Hint: The multi-floral varieties produce many flowers per stem. They give a bigger display and will last longer.
Cattleyas are great indoor plant with fragrant blooms which are available in shades ranging from pink to red, white, yellow and orange.
How to Grow: Cattleya orchids thrive best in temperatures ranging from 50̊-70̊ F and when placed in medium or bright light. Water them once per week, feeding them with orchid fertilizer each month during spring and summer.
Hint: They can bloom two times a year with the flowers lasting for weeks. Lots of light encourages quick re-blooms.
Jewel orchid is mostly grown because of the attractive purple leaves with pink stripes. The small white blooms appear in late summer.
How to Grow: Jewel orchid (Ludisia discolor) thrives best in low to medium light and temperatures ranging from 55̊-80̊ F. Water them once per week or fortnightly and feed monthly with orchid fertilizer.
Hint: Lots of humidity will prevent brown, crispy edges developing on the leaves.
Cockleshell Orchid /Encyclia cochleata
With purple clam-shaped blooms and green sepals which look like tentacles, the cockleshell orchid is very easy to grow and can produce flowers throughout the year.
How to Grow: Cockleshell orchid thrives best in low to bright light and temperature ranges of 60̊-80̊ F. Water them once weekly or fortnightly and feed monthly with orchid fertilizer.
Nun Orchid (Phaius tankervilleae)
This variety is easy to grow. Winter blooms features clusters of white, purple and brown on 3 feet tall stems with rich green uneven leaves.
How to Grow: Nun orchid thrives best in medium to bright light and temperatures ranging from 60̊ to 80̊ F. Water them weekly from spring to fall and fortnightly during winter. Add orchid fertilizer each week during spring and summer
Hint: Keep this orchid moist to prevent leaves from developing brown edges.
A relative of the oncidium, the odonttoglossoms’ blooms are large, appearing in clusters of shades of white, red, pink, orange and yellow and spotted with other colors. Blooms can last for weeks.
How to Grow: Odontoglossoms (odonts) thrive in medium or bright light and temperature ranginging from 50̊ to 70̊ F. Feed them monthly with orchid fertilizer during spring and summer. Water them once per week or fortnightly and feed once per month with orchid fertilizer during spring and summer.
Hint: Many odontoglossoms are easy to grow, but others can be challenging. Ask about this before taking it home.