Frequently Asked Questions

Can I become a member of your Society?

Anyone can join, from the beginner to the more experienced - all are welcome.  As a society we are a friendly bunch and assist orchid growers in a variety of ways - from getting your orchid to re-flower to winning an award at one of the many shows we exhibit at during the year.

How can I join?

This is easy either by completing in an application form and sending it together with the correct monies to our Honourable Treasurer or attending one of our monthly meetings at Bottesford and join on the day.

Are orchids hard to grow?

Not necessarily, growing orchids is a bit like painting by numbers.  Use the correct sequence and you will see results. Like any plant, an orchid needs water, food, light and air.  A little understanding on the orchid care for the type of orchid you want to grow is essential for success.

What do I need to look for when buying an orchid?

Firstly use a reputable orchid trader.  Do not get completely distracted by the wonderful flowers on display - check if the orchid:

  • is firm in its pot
  • has foliage free from damage
  • has a number of new shoots
  • has a number of flower spikes or buds.

All the above will help you to recognize a healthy orchid.

Do I need a greenhouse to grow orchids?

It is not always necessary.  Orchids such as Phalaenopsis can be grown on a window sill. Some terrestrial orchids may be grown outside depending upon whether they are able to withstand our cold/wet winter weather.  When selecting plants to buy you may be more successful if you choose those that are suited to your growing conditions, although most orchid growers eventually get a greenhouse because its controlled environment enables them to grow additional species that would not be happy in your home or garden.

How often will an orchid bloom?

This will depend upon the variety of orchid and whether a species or hybrid.  Some orchids bloom once a year at a given time whereas others can bloom continuously.

How often do I water my orchids?

This one is always a hard one to answer as it depends upon the type of orchid being grown, the time of year, the potting medium and your growing conditions as you are trying to replicate the same conditions as in the wild (refer to the culture section). Most orchids dislike being over-watered. If this coincides with the temperature being too low the plant will soon deteriorate.

Why is it that my orchid will not bloom?

This maybe due to your growing environment not being suited to the type of orchid you are growing. Some orchids require higher light conditions, 70% humidity (for example) or a dry rest at a particular time of year. It may also be that your orchid is a young plant.  A mature-sized orchid is a little more expensive but more rewarding as seedlings can take several years to flower. Ideally you need to study the orchid growth cycle throughout the year.

Where do I cut the flower spike when it has finished flowering?

When the majority of orchids have finished flowering, the spike should be cut off at the base of the spike with a sharp, sterile blade. If you have a Phalaenopsis however, it may re-bloom from the same spike. For this to happen, cut the spike just above the second node (a swollen joint area on the stem). A new spike may develop a second set of flowers from this point. Younger or weaker plants may not re-bloom as they require time to recover from flowering but should flower the following year.

When should I re-pot?

Depending upon the potting mix it is generally advised to repot every two years. Repotting is normally done in the spring when new roots are emerging or when an orchid has out grown the pot.  If this is the case, repot into a larger container or divide the orchid - therefore increasing your orchid collection. If you have noticed that the orchid is on the decline then it is advisable to repot at any time. If your potting mix is breaking down it can become waterlogged and may rot the root system. Clear pots are convenient to monitor what is happening inside the pot. Fresh potting mixtures should be used at all times.

What is the best potting material?

Orchids, in general, will grow satisfactorily in many different potting mixes.  Take into account the basic requirements for moisture, root aeration and support.  Watering and fertilizing may require adjustments to suit the mixture.  The faster the mix drains, the more often you'll have to water. Depending upon the orchid, you can grow them in a variety of media or mixtures of fir bark, coir, sphagnum moss, seramis (clay pellets) and rockwool. The one that is often favoured is a mixture of fir bark, horticultural foam and perlite.