Growing Orchids

If you are anything like me, you balk at a price of 15 or 20 dollars for a plant, right?  I'm usually in the $1.00 or $4.98 range if it is edible (like a blueberry bush!) kind of girl.  So, orchid prices always turned me off.  I would walk through the orchid section and just kind of gaze at them and appreciate the beauty, but realize there was absolutely no way i would ever pay that much for one.

Then, I realized that I simply had to buy them after they bloom.  You see, the large majority of customers buy the orchids when they are in bloom (understandably).  Once the blooms fade, the orchids are marked down significantly.  Like to $1.00 the cute porcelain or ceramic pots.  SOLD!  I bought 3...I should have purchased more :)  The catch, of course is that you have to care for the plants and wait for them to bloom.

Thankfully, orchids are quite easy as houseplants as long as you don't bug them.  First of all, you need to make sure to water them lightly.  A rule of thumb is two piece of ice a week.  That is it.  DON'T OVERWATER them or they will die a quick death.   They also like to have their roots quite squished and sometimes crawling over the top of the pot.  This is ok!  Orchids are epiphytes, meaning they grow on a larger plant (like a tree) and their roots are literally touching air.  Don't suffocate the roots by burying them deep in a huge pot of soil.  I have been able to leave my plants in the pots they came in for over a year with no problem.  My reward is now a year later with new shoots from the base of the plant.

Can you tell the difference between the old and the new?

Now, I simply have to wait for that new stem to grow strong, a flower stem to shoot up and beautiful blooms to unfold from my orchids.  Now, the question is - will it be worth the wait?  The pots have been sitting in this window for over a year now waiting for blooms.  They weren't any work at all really, and needed minimal care.  Was the year of waiting worth the $14 saved per plant?  To me - yes.  Perhaps it seems crazy to you to wait that long just to save a few bucks?

...but isn't that the way it is with anything in life?  You must wait or you must pay.  Nothing comes free or nothing comes without work.  It is simply a balance of whether you would like to pay up front or pay with your time.   I wonder at this sometimes with personal growth.  (what an awful phrase...but nothing says it quite better...)  Is it worth it to simply pay the money and get a degree, or is it worth it to save the money and learn a trade on your own over years and years of experience.  I am not sure.  I have done both and they both are useful, they both are difficult.  I do believe there is more pride of ownership and accomplishment from learning a trade on your own.  Learning everything from "scratch"  and teaching yourself everything inside out.   The question is whether or not it is better to buy the new growth or wait on it...

What is your strategy?
Do you buy?  Do you wait?
What are you waiting on?  Do you wish you could just purchase the wait away?
Is it better to wait?  Is it more fulfilling to dive right in? 


Miss Kitty said…
I'm not good with plants inside or outside so about once a year I do purchase a blooming orchid for myself. The good thing about orchids is that their blooms last so long! I justify the cost in my mind by telling myself it will be pretty four times longer than any cut flowers. I do try to keep the orchid going after the blooms die but usually I'm not successful.
lillinda said…
I enjoyed this post. Most of the things I have taught myself,I remember and value the most. And thanks for the tip on watering orchids. I killed the last one overwatering it.
Andrea said…
hahaha,that kind of orchid, Dendrobium is cheap here. And we just leave them out, water and fertilize once-in-a while and they grow well. Maybe that is the cheapest kind of orchid. I am inviting you to see my orchid posts today.
I wish they were cheap around here!! :) Miss Kitty...I totally justify the cost for various plants...especially my David Austin Roses...they are well worth it!