Houseplants: Orchids must be ‘treated carefully’ in winter – ‘they can burn’

Moth orchids: Expert explains the meaning behind name

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Orchids come in a variety of different colours, making them the perfect plant for brightening up the home. They can last from two to three months indoors and as long as three months outdoors in the summer, but their needs must be seen to in order for them to flourish.

The experts at Baby Bio® explained: “Orchids are wonderfully delicate houseplants that have been firm favourites in households for years thanks to their beautiful blooms which can last for months.

“Yet, it’s no secret that they have specific requirements and therefore must be treated carefully, a reputation which has caused many plant enthusiasts to be wary of owning an orchid.

“The key to orchid care is all in the environment. In their natural habitat, orchids are mainly either epiphytic, meaning they grow on trees, or lithophytic, meaning they grow on rocks.

“Most orchids therefore naturally grow high up in the rainforest treetops on tough bark rather than on the ground in soil.

“As such, orchid owners should try to mimic this environment and always pot these plants in specific bark-based compost which promotes aeration to the roots and drainage to prevent the plant becoming waterlogged.

“Orchid roots will easily rot in wet compost, so allow the plant to dry out in between watering.

“While they are susceptible to overwatering, orchids get most of their moisture from the air and therefore prefer high humidity, so mist the foliage and arial roots daily or place the plant next to a tray of wet pebbles to increase air humidity.”

Orchids should also be placed in rooms that are naturally more humid.

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This includes the bathroom or kitchen.

However, owners should also be mindful of the amount of sunlight they are getting.

The experts said: “Place your plant in bright but not direct sunlight, as they can burn in mid-afternoon sunshine.”

Getting orchids to repeat bloom can be tricky.

Baby Bio® explained: “Their nutritional needs are unique and need fertilising both when in bloom and dormant.

“We recommend using an orchid feed like Baby Bio® Orchid Feed with every water for the brightest blooms.

“Once your plant’s flowers have fallen, you can encourage it to rebloom the following season by pruning the whole flower stem and continuing to care for it as usual while it lies dormant.

“Remember that there are many species of orchids, so each should be treated according to its requirements.

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“We recommend phalaenopsis moth orchid variety for beginners.”

Bugs are also a common problem for houseplants, especially in the winter months when they can become more susceptible to infestations.

The Baby Bio® experts said: “For gnats, the best way to do this is to water plants from the bottom so that the top of the compost remains dry – this stops the eggs being laid. Ensure you allow the soil to dry out as much as the plant variety can tolerate before watering again – overwatering and keeping soil moist will only encourage gnats to relay eggs in top two inches of soil.  

“As well as a moist top layer of soil, pests are also attracted to decaying plant material so make sure you remove any dead leaves regularly. You could also top your pots with a decorative aggregate like gravel.  It looks great and stops the gnats from laying eggs.

“If you are faced with a serious infestation, consider repotting the plant into fresh soil to deter gnats from relaying. Make sure you shake off as much excess soil as possible before placing it into fresh soil. 

“Of course, gnats aren’t the only pest your houseplants may be faced with. If you have a pest problem from other bugs like greenfly or blackfly, invest in a bug killer like Baby Bio® Houseplant Bug Killer and spray generously to the affected plant, avoiding delicate blooms, for fast acting results. Repeat this every 10 to 14 days to ensure any hatched eggs are treated, too.”

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