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Orchid Care

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Hana Tropicals is an orchid and tropical flower farm located in Hana. We concentrate on the growing of orchids known as Dendrobium. Hawaii, and especially Hana on the Island of Maui, provides an ideal growing situation for these lovely orchids. The Hawaiian Dendrobium is appreciated for its long arching sprays, greater number of flowers on a spray (as many as 12 to 30 blossoms), and lasting quality. The Hawaiian-grown Den-drobium orchids are available in a great variety of colors which include yellows, lavenders, two-tones, pinks, purples, whites and ‘blue’. Dendrobium is derived from the Greek words dendron (tree) and bios (life) ---an allusion to the epiphytic behavior of many of these orchids. With more than 2000 species, Dendrobiums have been found in the wilds from India to New Zealand, including much of Asia and all of Oceania.

A VERY Short History of Orchids

In the world of flowers, orchids are the undisputed aristocrats. They have always been a symbol of love, tenderness, joy and friendship. Exotic orchids arouse an intense fascination in those of us who having once seen them, fall under their spell. Orchids have a magic that is part sorcery, part romance; setting them apart and above all other plants. And, as in the quest of the hand of a beautiful woman, men have obsessed, fought and even died in the search for new orchids over the centuries.

Orchids were long the exclusive realm of the wealthy. They were hoarded, kept from the “sensitive eyes of women” and even bequeathed to others at the death of their owners.

Today, orchids are readily available to all of us. When cared for properly, they are surprisingly easy to grow. The incredible beauty and diversity of orchids captivate; often creating an obsessive and chronic fever called orchid mania …so beware! You could very well be the next conquest of this mysterious flower.

The majority of orchids are edible and flavors range from slightly floral to spicy and mildly bitter, they are also great for presentation. Orchids have always been a symbol of love, tenderness, joy and friendship and when cared for properly they are surprisingly easy to grow. Below are some handy tips to help you get the very best out of your plant.  

 

 

Temperature

Water

Light

Fertilize

Brassia,

Miltonia, Miltassia

75-80F Day

55-60F Night

▪Every 4-6 Days

▪Never allow to remain dry for any length of time

▪Bright filtered

▪35-50% Shade

▪No direct sun

Twice a month

Cattleya

70-85F Day

55-65F Night

▪Every 5-7 Days

▪Allow to nearly dry between waterings

▪Bright filtered

▪35-50% Shade

Twice a month

Cymbidium

70-80F Day

45-60F Night

▪Every 5-7 Days

▪Keep evenly moist, less water in winter

▪Bright indirect sun

▪25-50% Shade

Twice a month

Dendrobium

70-90F Day

45-65F Night


If the night temperature is below 55F the plant will not produce flowers.

▪Every 5-7 Days

▪Keep almost moist,  drier in winter

▪Bright

▪25-50% Shade

▪More light in winter

▪Don’t place it too close to a south facing window or the sun could scorch it.

Twice a month, less in winter

Oncidium

Up to 75F Day

55-65F Night

▪Every 6-8 Days

▪Allow to dry between waterings

▪Use fine mist when weather is hot

▪Bright filtered

▪35-65% Shade

Twice a month

Paphiopedilum

70-80F Day

50-65F Night

▪Every 5-7 Days

▪Keep evenly moist, avoid wet foliage

▪Moderate

▪70-80% Shade

▪No direct sun

Twice a month with a weak solution

Phalaenopsis

65-90F Day

55-70F Night

▪Every 5-7 Days

▪Keep evenly moist, avoid wet foliage

▪Moderate

▪70-80% Shade

▪No direct sun

Twice a month

Vanda

75-85F Day

Not below 60F Night

▪Keep evenly moist,

Do not dry out

▪Bright

▪25-50% Shade

▪No direct sun

Weekly with a weak solution

 

Green thumb tips  

     1.  Placement 

  • When you bring a flowering orchid home, leave it in its plastic pot for easier watering. However you can hide the plastic pot in a prettier one and place it wherever you like 

      2. Watering 

  • To water your orchids, you can take the plant in its plastic pot out of the decorative pot and place it in the sink. Then run water over the plant until it drains through the drain holes. Let the pot sit in the sink for at least 30 minutes before returning it to the decorative pot. 

  • As a general rule water the plant slightly more during an orchid’s growing season and slightly less while it is resting. 

  • Many people swear by the “ice cube” watering method. Three (3) ice cubes per week seems to be just about the right amount of water. Orchids hate to stay consistently wet so the slow distribution of water from the ice-cube works well. The outside temperature or season should not dictate your watering practices, however if the orchid is placed in a very bright place where it gets lots of sunlight, the plant may need more that 3 ice cubes per week. 

  • It is important to not let your orchid roots sit in water. Many orchids are air plants (epiphytes) and as such, draw moisture and nutrients from the air. A common mistake is to give orchids too much water, often the plant dies from over-watering as the roots rot and the plant literally drowns.  

    3.  Air and Light 

  • It is important to keep flowering orchids away from any air drafts. Do not let air conditioning blow on the plants. 

  • Adequate light is essential to flower orchids and if a plant fails to flower this often indicates there is insufficient light. Orchids are suitable for windowsills, it is important to never expose the plant to direct sunlight.  

     4.  Humidity 

  • Orchids need 50 percent humidity or more, to ensure this level you can mist the leaves. You can also place your orchids in the bathroom or on a kitchen ledge over the sink.  

  • Another easier way to bring humidity to your orchids is to place them on a tray filled with pebbles and partially filled with water. The pebbles should provide support for the roots and should help to raise the plant so it is not submerged in the water.         

    5.  Repotting 

  • When the roots are absolutely overflowing the pot OR you feel the medium in the pot has broken down too much, it may be time to repot. Take the orchid from its old pot and carefully remove ALL of the old potting medium from the roots. Prune off the dead roots if they feel mushy or are a sick, (unhealthy roots will often be a grayish color), ensure a reasonably sized root ball if left.  

  • When pruning the roots of an orchid, be sure to use a sharp, kitchen scissors. It is recommended to dip the cutting portion of the scissors in 70% rubbing alcohol before every cut. 

  • It is important to never over pot. When repotting, the pot should be sized for the root mass rather than the foliage. You may need a stake to hold the orchid plant upright until the roots grasp onto the medium in the pot. 

  • When we repot at Hana Tropicals, we prefer to use a potting mixture of ½ orchid bark and ½ small stones, rinse both with water before use. It is very important not to use potting soil as this will retain water and rot the roots of the plant. 

  • Holding the orchid firmly in the desired position in one hand, pour in the potting medium with the other hand. 

  • Press down gently to stabilize the orchid in its new growing medium. Sometimes the eraser end of a pencil is useful for pushing the potting medium down around the roots. 

  • After the re-potted plant has been given a  few days to sit, run water through the orchid’s planting medium and let it drain for 30 minutes in the sink. After this has been done the plant is ready to be returned to its decorative pot

 

Edible Orchids

The good news for Foodies is that the majority of orchids are edible. Flavors range from slightly floral to spicy to mildly bitter. Best of all, the orchid makes a beautiful addition to the presentation of any recipe.

About 50 years ago, Island chefs began using exotic, colorful orchid flowers as garnish on dinner plates and in tropical beverages. The 90’s heralded a change in the usage of orchids, from merely a colorful decoration, to an herbal ingredient. Today, chefs use the Oncidium ‘Sherry Baby’—the one that smells like chocolate—as an edible addition to desserts. The green Dendrobium often has a slightly bitter taste like arugula and goes well in seafood dishes or salads. Some Cymbidiums taste of melon and are a wonderful compliment to dessert or salad.

We encourage you to experiment with edible orchids at home or for a special party. It is a beautiful alternative to the herbs you normally use, and your presentation will make quite an impression!

 

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