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Orchid Cultural Notes

The key to growing orchids well here in New Zealand is to endeavour to replicate their original growing conditions as close as possible. We are attempting to provide some of the answers here. These conditions are all variable as each person’s growing conditions are different and there are no hard and fast rules – these are only guidelines. Orchids are very tolerant plants. Just remember this golden rule “You can kill an orchid with kindness but it is not so easy to kill them with neglect.”

Download the full Orchid Cultural Notes Brochure PDF >>

Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid)

Position:

Phalaenopsis orchids originate from India, through Southeast Asia, north to the Philippines, and south to Northern Australia. They therefore like a well lit, warm position. Keep them indoors all year round, out of direct sunlight and drafts and away from the windows (they’re the first place to get cold at night). Some places that are extra warm in your house are on top of the fridge, microwave or television.

Water and feed:

Frequency of watering and feeding depends on how warm and dry your house is. We find that once every 7-10 days is sufficient. Mix up a solution of Tuckers Orchid Nursery Moth Orchid Tucker in accordance with the directions on the pot using this solution as your one step water and feed. It is very important when watering phalaenopsis not to get water on to the leaves, just water around the base of the plant. If you do, just sop up the water using a paper towel or tissue. Use enough solution to get the bark damp all the way through. Once your orchid has finished flowering cut the stem at the point where the first flower was and, provided the plant is being given the right conditions, you should get a branch off the main spike with more flowers.

Cymbidiums

Position:

Cymbidium species come from the Himalayan regions of India and Nepal, running through China and Japan, Indochina down through Malaysia to Australia. The hybrids of today like a cool growing area with dappled sunlight during the heat of the day. An ideal position would be under a tree with access to the wind and the rain. Certainly, while they are in flower you can keep them indoors and take advantage of the beautiful blooms decorating your house. Once the flowers have finished you need to return the plant outside as they need the cooler temperatures to reflower.

Water and feed:

Cymbidiums like frequent watering and feeding and can be feed on a twice weekly basis. They are extremely easy growing and very tolerant. Use either Tuckers Orchid Nursery Flowering Orchid Tucker or Growing Orchid Tucker depending on the time of year. Mix up a solution of Orchid Tucker in accordance with the directions on the pot using this solution as your one step water and feed. Use enough solution to get the bark damp all the way through. You should start to see your flower spikes showing around May or June. Protect your spikes from slugs and snails using snail bait.

Australian Dendrobiums (Bush Orchid or Rock Orchid)

Position:

As the name suggests these originate from Australia – the kingianum type from the mountains on the east coast behind Melbourne through to Sydney and the speciosum type in the warmer climate of Queensland. The kingianum type (bush orchid) grows on trees and requires similar conditions as the cymbidium orchids. The speciosum type (rock orchid) can be found growing on rocks or river banks so can tolerate direct sunlight. You can have them inside the house while they are in flower to take advantage of the beautiful blooms as well as the amazing perfume. They must be returned outside once the flowers have finished.

Water and feed:

The care and attention of these dendrobiums is much the same as for cymbidiums. Water and feed regularly using either Tuckers Orchid Nursery Flowering Orchid Tucker or Growing Orchid Tucker depending on the time of year. Use enough solution to get the bark damp all the way through. You should start to see your flower spikes showing around July or August. Protect your spikes from slugs and snails using snail bait.

Sarcochilus

Position:

Sarcochilus originate from the eastern coastline of Australia from the northern parts of Queensland through to the southern parts of Victoria as well as the northern coastline of Tasmania. As such, they can be grown relatively easily in most parts of New Zealand. They are mostly epiphytic or lithophytic, meaning they either grow on trees or rocks. The more common Sarcochilus species and hybrids available here in NZ prefer a cooler, more shaded environment. Certain plants (particularly those with cascading flowers) look great in hanging baskets. You can even mount them onto trees.

Water and feed:

Sarcochilus like frequent watering and feeding and can be feed on a twice weekly basis. They are extremely easy growing and very tolerant. Use either Tuckers Orchid Nursery Flowering Orchid Tucker or Growing Orchid Tucker depending on the time of year. Use this solution as your one step water and feed. Use enough solution to get the bark damp all the way through. You should start to see your flower spikes showing around August or September. Protect your spikes from slugs and snails using snail bait.

Epidendrums (Crucifix Orchid)

Position:

The species come from Central and South America and like a cool position. They are reasonably hardy as mature plants and will take moderate amounts of direct sunlight, heavy shade as well as the occasional light frost. They can remain planted in pots or can grow in the ground in well drained soil. Once mature (they flower before then) they can almost constantly be in flower. As such, they can add colour to the garden in places and at times when nothing else flowers. They have a slightly creeping habit and will creep upward against a fence, a tree or an embankment.

Water and feed:

They like frequent watering and feeding and can be fed on a twice weekly basis. They are extremely easy growing and very tolerant. Use Tuckers Orchid Nursery Flowering Orchid Tucker all year round because of their nature to constantly flower. Mix up a solution of Flowering Orchid Tucker in accordance with the directions on the pot. Use this solution as your one step water and feed using enough solution to get the bark damp all the way through. Protect your spikes from slugs and snails using snail bait.

Odontoglossums, Oncidiums

Position:

Also known as Dancing Lady Orchids and Butterfly Orchids this group of orchids come from Central and South America. Some like a cool position whilst others prefer a slightly warmer position. They are frost sensitive so keep them protected from the harsh cold. You can grow most of them outdoors in a cool, damp, shady position.

Water and feed:

We find that up to twice a week in summer and once a week in winter is appropriate. Use Tuckers Orchid Nursery Flowering Orchid Tucker all year round because of their nature to flower throughout the year. Mix up a solution of Flowering Orchid Tucker in accordance with the directions on the pot. Use this solution as your one step water and feed using enough solution to get the bark damp all the way through. Protect your spikes from slugs and snails using snail bait.

Cattleyas

Position:

This group of orchids originate from Central America. They therefore like a well lit, cool to warm position. Keep them indoors all year round. They will tolerate a small amount of direct sunlight – early morning or late afternoon sun will be fine. They do well close to windows and are sometimes called a windowsill orchid. They are compact growers and, given the right conditions, can flower 2-3 times a year.

Water and feed:

We find that up to twice a week in summer and once every two weeks in winter is appropriate. Ensure that the plant is dry before watering again. Use Tuckers Orchid Nursery Flowering Orchid Tucker all year round because of their nature to flower throughout the year. Mix up a solution of Flowering Orchid Tucker in accordance with the directions on the pot. Use this solution as your one step water and feed using enough solution to get the bark damp all the way through.

Paphiopedilums (Slipper Orchid)

Position:

Paphiopedilums can be found on the forest floor in South East Asia. The mottled leaf varieties like warmer conditions so keep them inside with a minimum temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. The other varieties are cooler growing but do tend to be frost sensitive. Grow them outdoors in a sheltered, shady corner of your garden or indoors in the cooler part of the house.

Water and feed:

The majority of slipper orchids flower during the spring. They also prefer slightly drier conditions. Water them about once a week in summer and only once every two weeks in winter. Use either Tuckers Orchid Nursery Flowering Orchid Tucker or Growing Orchid Tucker depending on the time of year. Use this solution as your one step water and feed. Use enough solution to get the bark damp all the way through. Protect your spikes from slugs and snails using snail bait.