1. If plant gets scale or other such insects:
- Mix well: 1 part 409 cleaner (the original one if you can find it -- be careful, it may have been reformulated), 1 part Simple Green (automotive cleaner), and 2 parts distilled water.
- Spray plant and bark thoroughly. Repeat as needed.
2. Water most orchids once a week in the morning.
- If using city water, let stand overnight in an open container. Do not use softened water. Have well water tested as it might contain too many minerals for orchids. Most counties have an extension agent that can help you determine how much is too much. It is best to collect and use rainwater or RO (reverse osmosis) water.
3. We discourage "pruning" orchids, but if you must, always use a new razor blade, not scissors, on each plant. When you prune, dust the cut with cinnamon (a natural fungicide).
4. It is better for the plant if you let it shed leaves, etc., on its own -- the plant "knows" when to rid itself of "unwanted" material. Remember that Mother Nature does not run around with a pair of scissors.
5. Most orchids enjoy "Summering" outside: they need noon and early afternoon shading. Be sure to bring them in when they are budded, or when the night time temperatures drop below the desired range for each type of orchid.
6. Do not set or pot orchids in glazed pots. Roots need to breathe. If you would like a "fancy container" for your orchids, use an unlined basket so air can circulate all around the pot and plant.
What To Look For In An Orchid:
1. Look at the plant:
If there are pseudobulbs, are the newer ones strong and plump?
Are the leaves crisp and medium green?
2. Look at the potting medium:
If it is soggy, it is likely the medium is breaking down and the roots are rotting.
If it is fresh and airy, the roots are probably OK. Check on the size pot for the root mass
3. Look at the flowers or buds, if applicable:
Buds should be firm. Flowers should be well formed and of good substance. Color should be consistent.
4. Check for insect damage or disease.
All growers will have insects at some time or another, but there should be none on sale plants.
5. Consider the grower:
Will you be able to contact them for questions or problems, should you have any.
6. In terms of pricing, cheap is not always best. The first 5 points are the most important considerations.
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