Thursday, December 27, 2007

Phalaenopsis ("Moth Orchid")

Phalaenopsis ("Moth Orchid")
Originally uploaded by Lisa Fagg.

It's all happening here; I'm posting something that isn't food related - a somewhat remarkable occurrence - prompted by the "birth" of my first orchid blooms! It's very cool, indeed. Granted, these beasts are not all that difficult to keep but if you are not an orchid hobbiest having this small success is brilliant! 

I've had this plant for almost 2 years now and after flaunting its blooms for over two months, when they finally fell off they showed no signs of flowering again. One evening last Spring, Steve and I went to dinner at some colleagues' of his and what did they have sitting in their windowsill (and under a skylight, which I'll admit, seemed an insurmountable obstacle) but a gorgeous Phalaenopsis in full bloom. I asked what their secret was and the answer surprised me: weekly submersion of the pot in water - that was it! 

So I tried it... I got very regular about the watering and, wouldn't you know it, before long an new spike was asserting itself. It took many months for the spike to begin to show buds (around 8 months, in fact) and then another couple of months for the buds to open, one at a time, at a rate of about 1 bloom every 7-10 days. The whole process was a joy to behold - the plant seemed to 'spend' so much time and energy that it would have been heart-breaking had anything prevented the flowers from opening.  Ahhhh... gorgeous!

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