My First Orchid

© Nancy J. Bond

Yes, yes, I know — it’s a sad little thing, isn’t it?  I seem to be the Procurer of Pathetic Plants!  But, it looked lonely and was, understandably, half price.  This came from our local supermarket’s plant section, and the gal there said she thought that cold had affected them.

It is a Phalaeonopsis Orchid of unknown colour, but according to the tag that came with it, they are fairly tolerant of various growing conditions, and relatively easy to care for.  I placed him on top of the TV for the uncluttered background, but it’s not a bad spot as it gets plenty of light without direct sunlight.

Toby checks out the new addition...

It has three healthy looking leaves, if you overlook the tears in the end of them.  Toby, of course, had to inspect the new addition.

There may be hope yet!

It does have what I assume are two bloom buds at its tip — do you suppose they’ll develop and open?  What I know about orchids wouldn’t fill a thimble, so if anyone has any sage advice as to what I should do with the poor thing, I’d love it if you’d add it in comments.  Meanwhile, I’ll do some reading on them.  Wish me luck!


Author: nancybond

A writer, photographer, naturalist from small town Nova Scotia, Canada.

23 thoughts on “My First Orchid”

  1. It looks like a nice healthy plant Nancy. I see three buds, and as the stalk grows it may even develop more. I have one my daughter gave me a few years ago, and have found it pretty easy to care for.

    Every year or so I repot in a good orchid mix, first inspecting the roots and cutting off any that are dead. I drench mine about once a week or so in the kitchen sink with either half-strength orchid fertilizer or plain water. I usually fertilize it every other time I water it.

    I’m no expert on orchids, but this variety seems very easy care for. When my daughter gave it to me it was in bloom. I didn’t fertilize it at first, and it didn’t bloom the second year. After that I started fertilizing it, and it’s bloomed every year since then. This year might be the exception since I forgot to water it for a couple of weeks and two of the leaves got too dried out and haven’t recovered. I’m afraid the stress might cause it not to bloom this year. Usually it’s budding by now.

    I’m sure others with more orchid-growing experience will have better advice, just thought I’d share what seems to work for me. Good luck with your new orchid!

    Linda, thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience with me. I must invest in some orchid mix soil and some fertilizer, as well. I’m hoping those buds it has will open so I at least know what colour it is. :)

  2. Good luck with your new friend, Nancy. You’ll love orchids and become addicted. Actually Moth Orchids (Phalaenopsis) are quite easy … requiring good light and thorough watering (then not again until the media is nearly, but not completely, dry). Soon you will be rewarded by miraculous blooms!

    Thanks for the encouragement, Joey. :) I hope you’re right.

  3. Good luck with the orchid. Phaleanopsis (sp?) bloom stems last a long time. I have kept them alive for a long time, but never brought one back into bloom. I certainly enjoyed them while I could though. I think they are so beautiful.

  4. Your new orchid looks very healthy and those flowerbuds look promising. Once it has finished flowering (which takes a looong time) put it in the lightest place you have. I put mine in my conservatory when the flowering is finished and within a few weeks they produce new stems with buds and once they are open, into the living room the orchid pops.

    Good luck Nancy!

  5. Beautiful photos! I also have a tip for phalaenopsis: I always water mine with lukewarm water- apparently this prevents their “delicate sensitivity” from being shocked. They also love a good spritz once in a while and it keeps the leaves nice and dust-free.

  6. I’m enjoying reading your tips as well Nancy (since I’m also an orchid newbie). I see more than two buds too. I had a bud stalk like yours that was doing nicely until my cat nibbled it. The two buds he left intact, have bloomed and are beautiful. I hope it puts out another bloom stalk. I have been watering mine every Saturday, then draining all the excess moisture and returning it to its position in front of the glass block window. It seems to like that routine. I see I need some fertilizer tho. Good to know. I hope your cat leaves the buds alone ~ I noticed she was checking it out!!

  7. Hi Nancy, great score! There are indeed at least three buds that should open for you eventually. Bright indirect light, away from heat source, humidity from misting or a humidifier if you run one and air movement should get it to bloom stage. Water once a week, letting the water drain from the bottom, not sitting in it, like in the sink or shower. My silly cat Hazel pierces the orchid leaves with her teeth, a bad thing. Hope yours just gives it a sniff.

  8. I love orchids, they’re such good value. I have a gorgeous purple phalaenopsis that was given to me by friends in November and it’s still flowering. I’m not an expert, though. In my last house, they didn’t want to seem to grow at all. I find they need really good light, and warmth, and regular watering but not over-watering. Good luck, those buds look very promising.

  9. That looks like a very healthy Phalaeonopsis to me! It’s just getting ready to bloom, that’s all. They all look rather pathetic unless they’re in bloom. It’s the only orchid I’ve ever tried to grow and I’ve had one bloom in successive years. They like indirect sun, non-soggy roots, and a change of growing bark about once a year. You’ll have to post photos when it blooms!


  10. I think I need to get out more. There are no wonderful discounts here. In fact, I don’t think I’d be able to find them within an hour or so drive. So… I’m just going to enjoy watching your orchid! :-) I tried a couple of orchids a few years ago, but am in the mood to try again. Perhaps I’d better try driving that hour or so away! ;-)

  11. nancy, They are really fascinating plants…so many different varieties and looks! But all seem to have that other wordly…shine to them! I look forward to all three buds opening! gail

  12. That is truly only a face that a plant lover could love. It’s a sweet little specimen. It reminds me of a poor ugly critter at the pound hoping for someone to love it.
    It does seem to be full of life even though it’s not so evident to most.

    Thank you for the sweets comments on my blog. I too wish you were close by as we would find many treasures in our hearts and gardens. I really could use the help as you so energetically volunteered to do. Pack your bags.

    Wouldn’t it be fun?!!

  13. The orchid looks healthy enough and they are flower buds on the end of the stalk. I don’t know much about orchids but I find they seem to like plenty of warmth. They grow on tree branches in the wild so don’t like to be water logged which is why you have the type of compost that you will see in your pot, so don’t be tempted to pot them in to ordinary potting compost. Bob

    Thanks for your input, Box — I’ll be sure to get some orchid mix. :)

  14. Nancy .. I love that Toby is allowed his inspection of the new baby ! LOL
    I have no luck with orchids so I can’t offer any advice .. BUT .. I can’t wait to see the flowers .. they are going to be lovely !

    I hope so, Joy — they’re basking in the sun today before the CRAPPY weather sets in on the weekend again. :) Yes, Toby is allowed to sniff, not touch! He’s actually very good about not going after my plants — the only one he seems to have a healthy appetite for is my little red mini rose…and he’ll nibble at that, thorns and all! But they’re all out of reach for most of the day.

  15. It looks like a great find, especially for 1/2 price.

    Keep us up to date on how it comes along.


    I sure will, Jen! (I might even buy another this weekend if they’re still a good price.)

  16. Hi Nancy! That’s a great coup! Phals are easy and wonderful, and yours looks healthy and well-budded. Hope the two of you enjoy many happy, trouble-free years!!!

  17. Congrats on rescuing this little orchid. I am sure it will reward you with many beautiful flowers. Please post a photo of it when the blooms open so we can see what color it is. If you have it indoors be sure to spritz water on it often. They love moisture. Do make sure the dear little plant isn’t stuffed with spagnum moss. Too much can keep it too moist. It must be able to drain well. Good luck!

  18. Nancy…I went back and looked at your photo again. After it blooms it would be good to repot it into a clay “orchid” pot. Orchid pots have larger drain holes. They do better in clay than plastic. Give it plenty of dappled sunlight.

  19. The butterfly is pretty!

    Just teasing. I bought one and then went on to buy the potting mix, special pot, fertilizer, sticks with butterflies, etc.I rearranged my plant stand to give it the right light. Shut the register, so it wouldn’t get too much heat. Filled the watering can with the nourishing water. Now the orchid is a single…small… leaf. A healthy leaf at that. It is a dendrobium. I have read how to take care of them, but feel like I am failing.I’ll be interested in yours…even though it is a different variety.

  20. Good luck with your new orchid, I’m sure it will be thriving in no time. I bought my first one recently, and it’s going wonderfully, even if I really do nothing but water it now and then.

  21. Good luck with it, Nancy. I have never tried to keep an orchid because I don’t have a good place for them. Also, when I was younger, I didn’t like them, now I do!

    I love to read about plant rescues, though, wish this plant well.

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