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Shirley shares the secret to help you check which plant is the healthiest and how to take care of it once you get it home.

HOW TO SELECT A HEALTHY FLOWERING MOTH ORCHID:

  • Roots- look for plump, green or silvery roots.
  • The roots that stick out of the pot are important and are called "aerial roots"- they absorb moisture and nutrients from the air.
  • Leaves- look for medium green leaves that are in good shape without blemishes or spots.
  • Flower stem -should be strong and turgid and propped up with a stake.
  • Flower buds- for the longest blooming period, select orchids that have as many unopened flower buds as possible! Keep in mind that the buds open from the bottom of the stem first so those are your oldest flowers.

Orchid Roots:

  • Not only do the roots absorb water and nutrients, they also photosynthesize and harvest energy from the sun so healthy roots are vital!
  • The actual orchid root is protected inside of this see-through silvery coating called, "velamen"
  • The plump, spongy velamen absorbs water and oxygen and you can see the green roots of a well-hydrated orchid.
  • Wait until the velamen dries and takes on a white/silver color in between waterings to avoid rotting your orchid.

Signs Of An Underwatered Orchid:

  • An underwatered orchid communicates it's thirst through its roots and leaves.
  • A well-hydrated orchid should have leaves that are medium green, plump, and somewhat upright.
  • When an orchid is dehydrated, the leaves start to become more flat, they bow down and you can see lines or "pleats" in the leaf from lack of water pressure
  • The roots will also become flat, brittle and lose its color.

How To Rehydrate An Orchid:

  • Cut off brittle roots with sanitized pruners first.
  • Water the orchid thoroughly until the water runs freely from the bottom of the pot.
  • Add humidity by adding gravel to the pot. Fill with water.
    • Can also use a humidifier
  • Orchid will perk up in a few days

Signs of An Overwatered Orchid:

  • The leaves will be floppy and limp, sometimes the leaves become yellow and fall off
  • The roots are brown and mushy and are not able to take up water or oxygen anymore. It's time to take action!

HOW TO SAVE AN OVERWATERED ORCHID:

  • Cut off the rotted roots and spray what is left with 3% hydrogen peroxide to kill fungus
  • Replant the orchid in slightly moist fresh bark

ORCHID CARE:

  • TEMPERATURE - Place in a room with 70-80 degree daytime temperatures that drops at least 10 degrees or more at night- this will prompt it to rebloom!
  • LIGHT - Place in a room with bright light but no direct sunshine. Harsh sunlight will burn the leaves. Yellow leaves = too much sunlight, dark green leaves = not enough light, medium green = just right.
  • WATER - Water orchid thoroughly when the bark starts to dry out, or the roots turn silver/white. Let the roots dry slightly in between watering!
  • HUMIDITY - Remember to add humidity to the room with gravel and water or a humidifier!
  • FERTILIZE - wait until flowers finish blooming and the orchid is in growth period. Use a special orchid fertilizer- read the instructions!

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