This has nothing to do with anything I was going to post today, but I felt compelled to share this with you for a couple of reasons:
1. The colour of this orchid goes superbly with my plum and amber colour palette this week, don't you agree?
2. There may be some of you out there who are as clueless as I am in how to look after orchids.
3. It also just happens to be a great example of how knowledgeable my current (blog)house guest is...
Zoë's the kind of gal who knows stuff. You know, you mention your concern about something obscure in conversation (like "um, the flowers on my orchid are dropping off") and she gives you the exact answer to your query - as well as how to fix it - in conversation. We have lots of lovely conversations like this. Although when she asks about something obscure, it's usually followed by a long pause of silence...
So yes, my orchid flowers were dropping off and I just happened to mention it in an email to her recently. The conversation went something like this:
P: ...I'm worried I'm not looking after my orchids properly - the one you gave me is suddenly losing its flowers and I don't know why! I would hate for them to wither away, they are so beautiful.
Z: Oh don't worry about it! Once they're done flowering, it's quite normal for the flowers to drop all at once. The flowers last for ages, but not forever. Plus, you don't really know how long it's been flowering when you buy it - they can force them to flower any time of the year in heated greenhouses, so it could have already been flowering a month prior. When it's dropped them all, you can cut the flower stem right back to the base and then it will flower again next Spring. You will need to keep watering it the same, and it could probably get some fertiliser if you want it to really flourish (you can buy orchid fertiliser at the supermarket or hardware or flower shop sometimes, just follow the directions). If you can, keep it in the same spot too - if you don't mind looking at it that is! Then, in winter, it will start to put out a new flower spike, and with a bit of luck, by Spring next year you'll have a whole new flush of flowers that will last well into Summer next year. I know, it sounds complicated, but it isn't really. Just 5 minutes of your time once or twice a week, that's all. Some people throw them out once they've finished flowering - they are kinda designed to be long-lived cut flowers really, but it's so cool if you can get them to flower again!
Z: Well, I'm no expert. But just think of it as a living thing - it needs warmth and light and food and water - and it will reward you...
P: You rock!
Z: ah, no worries mate!
P: are you enjoying your stay in the (blog)house? Can I get you another champas darling?
Z: make it a mojito.
Ok I just made those last three lines up, but still, isn't she full of wonderful advice? Thanks Zoë. I shall get you another mojito in uno momento.