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The Plant Doctor: 5 easy-to-grow orchids add enjoyment to home

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Welcome to the beautiful world of orchids. Now let’s apply what you read in the last column on orchid care.

I have chosen five relatively easy-to-grow orchids that should provide a great deal of enjoyment, fragrance and color to your home.

The first variety, phalaenopsis hybrids, are more commonly known as “moth” orchids. Among their best features are that they are inexpensive, widely available and produce a bloom that usually lasts from two to nine months. Water these beauties once a week and place in bright, indirect light.

Next are the dendrobium hybrids, which are particularly suitable for indoor growing. These plants require direct light, preferably a southern or western exposure. They are highly drought resistant. Water once every seven to 10 days.

Orchids belonging to the cattleya alliance contain many small plants that are ideally suited for a windowsill. These plants will need about four to six hours of direct light every day and watering about once a week. They produce magnificently vibrant colors and some are wonderfully fragrant.

Brassia hybrids are sometimes referred to as “spider” orchids. Flowers are large and exotic, with some petals reaching up to 12 inches. They do best in an eastern or western exposure and grow very well in average home conditions.

Oncidium hybrids are extremely drought-resistant, low-maintenance plants that require southern or western exposure. Oncidiums include hybrids that produce a large variety of different colored flowers and scents, and they vary in size from miniature blooms to blooms the size of a rose.

Final review: Regardless of the species selected, remember to use a proper “orchid” planting mix, water correctly, provide enough moisture and fertilize.

The rest is up to you. Good luck.

Plant Tip

Want to break the gloom of winter? A never-failed solution involves planting the amaryllis bulb (hippeastrum). The amaryllis is usually purchased just prior to blooming. Amaryllis flowers are giant-sized — up to 6 inches in diameter. Their color ranges from white through red, and they are sweetly fragrant.

In the growing season the plant requires lots of sunshine, fresh air and high humidity. If the amaryllis is to bloom on the windowsill, place the bulb in a pot with a mixture of one part rich potting soil and one part sand. Plant the bulb so that a third of it is above the surface. With proper care, a robust bulb can bloom year after year.

Questions and concerns about gardening and plant care may be addressed by e-mail to Harvey.Goodman@att.net.

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