This could easily be called "The Orchid and a Series of Unfortunate Events." Of all the plants in the world, there is probably no more admired and feared flower at the same time, no offense to the rose. Orchids are one of the top two flower plant in the world with well over 25,000 species. From the rich forest floor of Eastern Kentucky to the lush jungles of Thailand, orchids are represented across the world.
So what's the problem? What's such an unfortunate event? Now this is where we come into the story. At first we were amazed by these exotic flowering plants. Collectors across the world sent plant hunters to track down the next incredible orchid species to be discovered. Now we have them, the incredible orchids from around the world have found and cataloged and are here for us all to admire. Ok, we get it, so what's the unfortunate event?
The same unfortunate event that happens to so many plants. We lost the magic, the spark, the things that made us admire orchids in the first place. We got good at growing them and somewhere in the late 1980s, phaleanopsis orchids became a commodity to be sold as disposable plants after their blooms are done. Not only did we lose the magical appreciation for these incredible flowering plants, we also talk of them as "difficult to grow".
To rediscover what makes orchids so incredible, we have to learn about how so many of them grow. In the canopies of trees in so many equatorial areas of the world, orchids grow in no soil at all. Simply finding areas in trees, rocks or wherever else their seeds can germinate. This kind of plant is in a fascinating group of plants called epiphytes.
As the epiphytic plants grow, their roots help anchor them to the place they've landed. Picking up water as it drips down from the tree canopy above. After the rain, gravity pulls away any additional moisture. That very process is exactly what orchids want when you add them to your home.
Picture the scene, your orchid hanging in a tree in an exotic location from a storybook. The trees overhead protect the orchid from the harshest direct light from the sun. As the clouds move in, the rain begins. The rain runs down the tree picking up nutrients as it passes down the trunk. The rainwater reaches the orchids roots, and the orchid absorbs both the nutrients and hydration of the water. Now the rain is over and sun remerges and roots of the orchid begin to dry out waiting for the whole process again.
That story is exactly how you should think of an orchid in your home. They are not "difficult to grow." They simply need that same process repeated. Water your orchid and then wait for it to dry completely before the next watering.
When you add an orchid to your home, you're adding all that is incredible about them as a plant. Their flower, their roots, their story and with your help, it will become a renaissance of orchids and a series of fortunate events.