Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July Series || It's Natural: My Houseplants




 A few months ago I got an orchid for my birthday. I heard they were pretty easy to take care of and my thumb has never been green so I thought I could give it a shot and maybe it would grow.


At first I watered my orchid once a week with ice cubes, but it didn't seem to like that. then I started watering it with plain tap water and the leaves perked up a little bit but that's when the flowers fell off. Orchids do go through cycles where they lose their blooms, but with my history of growing things I was sort of assuming I had killed it. That, however, was not the case. I saw a bright green leaf poking out from the center and another one growing from a funky offshoot on the side. The leaf on the main plant got bigger, as big as the other leaves beneath it. The offshoot started growing its own roots. I was so surprised!! Early on I had even neglected to water it a couple of times but it seemed to be doing well!

Last week I watched a few videos on orchid care ranging from watering, to replanting, to fertilizing, and which planting material is best. This past Saturday on a rainy and unseasonably cold day I decided to re-plant my orchid plant into a larger pot and cut off the small offshoot with it's stubby roots because one was just barely beginning to grow into the stem of the main plant and to me, that didn't look like it was supposed to happen.  I also had a rather top heavy Aloe plant that I decided might be safer in a pot better suited to its proportions.

Of course I took pictures of the majority of the replanting process with the orchid. I'm not sure that I did this 100% correctly, but here's a little summary of how things went. Bear with me, the first few pictures are pretty similar.

When I pulled the orchid plant out of its original pot I was pretty disappointed to see that it was planted in moss. I learned from several videos that in their natural environment orchids usually attache themselves to trees by their roots and as a house plant they should be planted in an orchid mix made mainly of wood chips. so the roots get plenty of air.

Here is a picture of the nice, young, healthy root on the little offshoot. It looks much better than the gray, rotten roots beneath it!


So much root rot!!!!!!!! The roots get flimsy, gray/black and papery. This is a result of being planted only in moss! I'm surprised the plant got any water at all!! I did hear in one video that you can grow a plant back to health with basically no root system but that is sort of an extreme situation. Hello, extreme situation!

Left: Moss. This is the moss that the orchid was originally planted in. Okay for the very top layer of a pot. It should not be used as the singular potting medium for an orchid!!!

Right: Orchid mix. Wood chips and twigs along with some other really healthy things for growing orchids in! Allows air to reach the roots but still hoods enough moisture to grow a healthy plant.

Relatively healthy, firm, green roots These are all that was left after I removed everything with root rot. I'm not so sure how it will grow now, but I've been pretty lucky so far. The plant itself looks nice and green in this photo!

Tiny, new root system on the offshoot. This is a little tippy in the orchid mix so hopefully it was ready/able to be planted on its own and will grow some more roots to establish itself in the new pot soon!

Drilling aeration holes into the clear plastic orchid pots I ordered. more aeration will reduce the chances of root rot and the clear plastic will let me see some of the roots and be able to tell if the plant is hydrated and growing well.

Dropping orchid mix all over the back porch! The dark green pot in the back ground was the pot that the orchid was purchased in. A couple of things wrong with that; First, you can't see the roots or the potting material. i.e. You can't tell that your orchid was potted solely in moss and the roots are just rotting away. Second, that pot had no aeration holes which just made the whole situation explained above even worse.

Almost done moving the main plant into her new home. I did mention within the first couple of paragraphs that my plant did bloom and then the flowers fell off. While I was transplanting I decided I should cut the spike [stem] off so that the plant could focus on leaf and root growth. The bottle of rubbing alcohol was for sterilizing the scissors and for disinfecting the cut area of the spike so it hopefully doesn't contract any plant diseases.

I think it looks pretty happy in its new place.


Nice green plants! Left to right: The orchid offshoot. Aloe, purchased on a whim. A nice cheap plant that won't mind too much if I forget to water it for a couple of days when the soil is dry. The big [original] orchid. Two leaves need to be wiped off but that shiny green one looks so nice ans healthy. Hopefully it grows some more of those!

Do you have a green thumb?
What kind of houseplants do you grow?

--Isaiah 61:11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.--




2 comments:

  1. This was a fun and interesting post to read! I always like the idea of having houseplants, but am so bad at remembering to water them. :P When I have some time though, I'd like to make up a terrarium, and that's supposed to make it's own little eco-system so you don't have to water it.

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    1. A terrarium sounds really cool!! I love the ones that look like an entire little forest inside glass! I'm getting better at watering the plants on time because I keep them in the window so I see them every morning when I open the curtains. If they were on the dresser or anywhere other than the windowsill they would be withered.

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