One of the best ways to look at your plants in the garden: How to correctly plant your orchids

One of the best ways to plant your orchids or any plants in your garden for that matter is to have a set rule in place and I said procedure so that you follow them closely and the idea is everything of course will then go as planned. In this article we’re going to look at each step and the work that needs to be put into looking after seedlings and what tools as well as what equipment you might need to get the best from your orchids and other plants.

So let’s not waste any time, let’s just get straight into looking at the best ways of planting orchids and do all garden plants.

One of the best things to do when you’re starting out and you’re looking to plant is with seed trays. Seed trays help you to carefully and neatly divide up your seedlings and as a result they will not be competing for ground or any other nutrient. It also means that you can evenly water them and prepare them correctly. This gives each plant the best chance for survival. When the plants begin to germinate and they just start breaking through the soil that’s a good time to be very careful with watering. Make sure that you’re only using a spray bottle and nothing any any more aggressive than that or you could kill or damage these little orchid seedlings.

Orchid Cultivation
Orchid Cultivation

Once the seedlings of taking hold well you’ve got two choices really, the first one is to put them into bigger pots or secondly you could plant them directly into the ground. My favourite choice here is to put them into a slightly bigger part because then you can move them as necessary. If you put them into the ground just stuck and if there’s a downpour or there’s a lot of wind you risk losing them. In my experience it’s always been that it’s much better to pop them into pots and then give them a chance to really take hold and become the solid plant prior to fully planting in the garden. So with that in mind. Let’s take a look at the steps and how we deal with it.

orchids beginning to grow
orchids beginning to grow

The best thing to do is to take a look at the size of the seed try and the amount of earth in with the seedling. Then take another plant pot and half fill it with compost. Once you have filled it with compost you then simply top up once you’ve placed the seedling in around the original earth of the seedling. Doing this means that you don’t disturb the roots of the seedling which could cause it to be stressed and die. So leaving the original worth from the seed tray is imperative at this stage. Once you’ve transferred the plant and it’s in the pot with the Earth topped up, it’s time to add some water and hydrate the plant. This is really important because this unsettling process is quite stressful for the plant and watering of course will considerably help them.

Once you fully transplanted the orchid seedlings into a pot you’re ready to leave them be for a little while. Just water them every day, and you can put them by the windowsill so they get the full effects of the sunlight in the same way as a greenhouse would work. You could also just put them in a propagator or a greenhouse. Garden ToolBox sell whole wide range of seed trays, plant pots, and propagators don’t would get this job done perfectly. So if you looking for some equipment there two guys to speak to.


In a couple of months time you’re going to have really well developed plants and their just simply going to need a little bit of TLC and moving to the ground. When you put them in the ground be sure to make sure that you get all of the grounds wrapped well and also add some compost to it you could also pop some stones and some broken terracotta at the bottom of the hole and behold to really help the plant with drainage. Don’t don’t worry the plant will really thank you for that drainage because orchids and all plants in general really like a good bit of drainage although of course they like to enjoy the water that you provide them. As well as the water from the rain. It doesn’t mean that they want to be overly wet all the time, a bit like us we love a shower but that doesn’t mean that we want to stay in the water 24/7. There’s times where we need to be dry. So with the plants perfectly transplanted and in the garden and taken hold you can sit back and enjoy the garden and all of the beautiful orchids in it.

Watered Orchids
Watered Orchids

In summary I would highly recommend that you plant from seed trays to plant pots rather than directly into the ground because the success rate and survival of almost all clubs with considerably higher this way round. Granted, it’s a lot more work but at the end of the day more work provides more plants. So you could argue that it’s actually les work overall because you simply need to grow less seedlings to get the desired number of orchids out at the end.

Orchid flower arrangements, bouquets, garlands, posies and gifts

When we wish to convey our condolences, thanks, congratulations, love or apology to a person close to us – a personally prepared flower arrangement is the best way to do this.

Declare your love to someone by delivering flowers or buying a beautiful bunch of flowers at a flower shop.  Almost everyone, man or woman, appreciates a lovely bunch of flowers.

Orchids in Pot

A flower arrangement can also be a great way to decorate the house on a celebratory occasion such as a birthday, wedding, at Christmas or any other happy holiday or even in some cultures funerals.

Never forget that flower arrangements are especially romantic and add to the mood of a room for a romantic setting – As you will know, flowers say more than can be said in words.

Orchid flower bouquets
Orchid flower bouquets

Flower arranging is a must in order to keep your flowers beautiful, but before you start you need to learn how to keep them alive, how to care for plants, how to make flower arrangements like a floral art and how to give your arrangement the longest and healthiest life.

If you want to destroy the bacteria on plants you need to scrub the plastic buckets and trim the stems, also add one full cap of mild bleach per one gallon of water

Flower arranging always brings on a smile and brightens up our day.

By studying the art of flower arranging, you will learn how to use this knowledge and use flowers to express yourself on special occasions , using flowers for parties, flowers as house decorations and for weddings –  you could, for instance, arrange flowers for wedding flowers or bridal bouquets or  wedding bouquets.

Grow Your Own Sphagnum Moss

Live Sphagnum moss, while making a wonderful addition to many orchid composts, is neither cheap to buy nor particularly easy to obtain. Having bought some from Laurence Hobbs I wondered if I could pick out some of the best bits and grow it. I didn’t have any idea of the conditions it would require other than knowing it grows wild in bogs in Britain.

Sphagnum Moss
Sphagnum Moss

I bunched some nice green strands of moss in my hand as if they were a posy of flowers with all the heads together. This first bunch I put upright in a four inch deep clear plastic container, outdoors, in the shade, filled it to the brim with rain water and left it to its own devices, only adding more rainwater if the level dropped. I filled another two of these deep plastic containers and put one in the intermediate house and one in the cool house, likewise topping up with rainwater when necessary.

Orchids: Sphagnum moss
Orchids: Sphagnum moss

Then I filled several ordinary black plastic plant pots with moss and placed half in a shallow tray of rainwater in the cool greenhouse in a bright position, the other half I put in a similar shallow tray of rainwater and put them in a shady position in my intermediate greenhouse.

Both these trays had something else in them: a ceramic atomiser that I used during the growing season to provide humidity. They were switched on automatically for six hours during the middle of the day, and they raised the water temperature by a degree or two and gently circulated it while producing a very fine mist.

All the moss grew, but it was the moss in the tray with the atomiser in the intermediate house that grew really well. I have decided that the factors most important in determining the growth rate of moss are temperature and gentle water movement.

I have cropped some of the moss – just cut off the top with scissors as if I was mowing a lawn, used the lower parts of the strands, and re-planted the top four inches, this time in plastic mesh pots. It is growing away nicely.

I was talking to Peter White about sphagnum moss and he says that this is the way it is harvested in New Zealand. There, the top few inches are mown off and saved, the moss beneath is cropped, then the tops are put back to re-grow.

Humidity for Orchids

All plants in their natural habitats tolerate humidity at some time; even the driest desert air can form dew after the sun sets and the temperature drops. Some orchids are dripping with moisture for much of the year from heavy rainfall and high temperatures, some orchids have seasonal humidity from coastal fog, and yet others are bathed in low cloud.

The first consideration for your greenhouse when thinking about humidity should be the genera you are attempting to grow in it. Even if you are strong-minded enough to stay with one genus (and very few of us are), there can be great variations in the needs of the different species. From what part of the world do your plants originate? In what type of habitat and at what elevation? Is the climate seasonal? You will probably not be able to satisfy the optimum requirements for every one of your plants but by shuffling them around you will eventually find the best place for each.

Humidity in the air can be measured by a hygrometer, although experienced growers sense when it is right for their plants just by feel. It is interesting to place several hygrometers around the greenhouse, noting the difference in humidity in different places. There are many ways of supplying humidity to your greenhouse; there is certain to be a method to suit you, or you may choose a combination of methods.

The way most obvious to the beginner is a hand sprayer. They are cheap to buy and easy to use. This is very effective but the results may only last a very short time so must be repeated several times during the day. Care must be taken to avoid spraying open flowers or brown spotting may spoil the blooms. Damping down by sprinkling water underneath the staging and on the path of the greenhouse works better, and the effects last longer than hand spraying, but both these methods are useful only for people who are available when it needs doing. What happens if you are out all day, or if you go away for extended periods?

Humidity for Orchids
Humidity for Orchids

Damping down can be automated, the water being run off your mains supply. This is achieved by attaching sprinkler jets underneath the benches via an automated control device that incorporates a non-return valve – not only is this a legal requirement it is essential to prevent contamination of the water supply.

My favourite humidifying trick, until recently, was capillary matting. A water storage tank is placed as high as possible in the greenhouse – it will need a strong stand, obviously. A ‘wick’ of capillary matting leads from the bottom of this top tank up over the rim of the tank to a ‘curtain’ of capillary matting suspended from the tank stand. The bottom of the curtain hangs over another tank on the greenhouse floor. A wick of one-and-a-half inches width will shift eight pints of water in twenty-four hours; this is taken up by the curtain. How much evaporates depends on the size of the curtain, the temperature and air flow. The bottom tank collects any water that has not evaporated. Adjustments to this system are simple. A larger or smaller wick will move comparatively more or less water; a larger or smaller curtain will provide a larger or smaller surface area for evaporation. If you only have room for a small curtain, a fan blowing over it will increase the rate of evaporation. For this system tap water can be used, and an electric pump will easily refill the top tank if you can’t do it manually.

Fogger jets are very good. Water is pumped from a storage tank inside your greenhouse and the jets break it up into a fine mist. Care is needed when siting the jets – will under the benches or high overhead suit your plants best? The system can be set up on a timer, several times a day if required. Use as large a tank as you can cope with to cover for periods when you are away. Tap water can be used for fogger jets, but if your supply is very hard it is best to use a mixture of tap water and some of your precious rainwater to prevent the system being blocked by calcium deposits. Murphy’s Law states this will only occur when you are not there to check.

A fountain or waterfall operated by an electric pump can be a very decorative feature as well as functional. If it splashes a very big reservoir will be needed to prevent it running dry and burning out the motor, but the splashes will add to the humidity. Yes, this type of thing takes up a lot of space and the water needs to be watched or green algae may build up, but you can always try a few Disas. They love their roots being bathed in a constant supply of fresh, cool water.

Orchids Flower
Orchids Flower

There is a type of humidifier that blows air vertically through a wet filter, producing lots of lovely moist air, but I have yet to see one with a reservoir larger than twelve pints. I found this lasted for ninety-two hours – just less than four days. Manufacturers please note – a larger reservoir is a must if you want to leave it home alone for more than a long weekend.

ust a few years ago there came on to the market a new type of fogger. It is a small electrical device containing a ceramic disc about one inch in diameter that oscillates at a very high frequency to break water molecules into a fine fog. Its drawback is that it has a very limited range of depth of water in which it will operate, but, unlike an electric motor, it does not burn out if the water evaporates until it is too shallow, it simply ceases to function.

And now for my new toy and current favourite. This year at Chelsea Show I saw somebody had an even better idea than the single disc. They have produced a larger version with five ceramic discs and a float. This produces lots and lots of lovely moist air. I have mine placed in a dustbin full of water – the float ensures that it is always at the optimal operating depth and it should be some time before I need to refill the dustbin. I have moved one of my fans to blow over it. The instructions state that these devices must not be used for more than eight hours at a time, but they can be turned on and off manually or, like all these electrically operated humidifiers, can be placed on timers to ensure that your plants have the humidity delivered to them at the times that suit them best.

The Mysteries of Maxillarias

Further, many of the commercially-available plants are either wrongly labelled or of unidentified species. Therefore, as well as collecting as many species as possible, trying to grow them well and trying to identify them properly, I maintain detailed written and photographic records, I am building an herbarium collection and I research published literature on the species and their history. This is not without its difficulties. Many of the species descriptions are very basic and written in Latin or other foreign languages.

Orchid Maxillaria
Orchid Maxillaria

The name Maxillaria was derived from maxilla, the Latin word for ‘jaw’, based on the superficial resemblance to the jaw of an insect, of the lip joined to the column in the flower when the sepals and petals have been removed. By coincidence, the genus Maxillaria was first described over 200 years ago by Hipolito Ruiz and Jose Pavón, the same explorers who described Anguloa and Masdevallia. Following their pioneering expedition to Peru and Chile (with Joseph Dombey, who is often forgotten), they published a brief description of the genus and of 16 orchid species which they placed in the genus. Only four of these remain classified as Maxillaria today, M. longipetala, M. platypetala, M. ramosa and M. prolifera; the others have since been transferred to different genera. Ruiz and/or Pavón had prepared hand-written manuscripts intended for a later publication giving more detailed information about the species, but the money which had been raised to pay for this was used instead to pay the army, and it never appeared. It has been a fascinating experience and a privilege to read these manuscripts and compare them with pictures of the few remnants of the original herbarium specimens which remain in the archives of the Real Jardin Botanico, Madrid, and with the paintings of the plants which were done by the artists who accompanied Ruiz and Pavón on their expedition. This type of research and other reading about the genus and its species is not generally attempted by amateur growers but it adds an extra dimension of interest and can be most rewarding.

The territorial range of the genus covers most of South and Central America, Florida and the West Indies. Approximately 800 species are listed in the Index Kewensis. Some of these have been reclassified into other genera and others represent synonyms, different names for the same species; new species continue to emerge, so it is impossible to know at present how many exist. Currently I have in excess of a hundred species. Although plants come from a wide range of environments in nature, from coastal forests to mountain tops, fortunately they seem forgiving in cultivation. Most grow well in an intermediate greenhouse, either in a rockwool/Greenmix/Perlite mixture or in sphagnum moss/Perlite, fairly well shaded and with humidity around 70% or above. They are fed and watered year-round. Good air circulation is important. I try to find a micro-environment within the greenhouse in which each plant seems happy although in a growing area only 2.5m x 4.3m (8′ by 14′), some plants are happier than others. Plants do take a little while to recover from shipment from the southern hemisphere and some species do not take kindly to repotting, particularly if divided.

Maxillaria Tenuifolia
Maxillaria Tenuifolia

Vegetatively there is an amazing variety of growth forms, from tiny pincushion plants to large clusters of pseudobulbs with long petiolate leaves, from fans of leaves and foliaceous bracts without obvious pseudobulbs to long, wandering rhizomes which head in all directions. Flowers vary from a few millimetres across to ten centimetres or more and come in pure white, through yellows, reds, purples, to almost pure black, probably the nearest to black of any flower which exists. Not all are scented, but some fill the entire greenhouse with perfume, from lily-of-the-valley, rose, melon, honey, menthol, cloves and coconut through to a delicate faecal odour. Such variety is tantamount to growing a mixed collection within the genus!

Well, I’m hooked. Conservation of this large genus is becoming more and more important and I will do my best to make sure that this diversity survives.

Orchid medicinal properties

Orchid medicinal properties – Here’s a sunflower and orchid drink you can make

Although Vanilla is the most well known orchid used in cooking, dried crushed orchid has a distinctive flavour all of its own, and medicinal properties.

  • Take 1-2 tablespoons of sunflower and dried crushed orchid.
  • Mill them in a coffee grinder.
  • Add them to a cup of boiling water.
  • Sweeten up this mixture with strawberries, honey or blackberries.

Drink this recipe both morning and night time to help with constipation

Add sunflower and ground orchid to salad dressing, and why not throw in a few sesame seeds whilst you are at it. Use these milled seeds and experiment – find out how you like preparing and eating them.

Advice about growing your own orchids

Advice about growing your own orchids from seed, indoors or outdoors, and starting an Orchid gardening

When starting your own orchid garden or a botanic garden, there are a few things that you have to do, it is recommended to visit your local nursery and speak to a gardening expert who will give you the best gardening advise and he will want to know what kind of soil or compost pile that you have in your garden and whether the sunlight is constant or just for certain periods of time during the day.

You will be able to find at the local nursery, pots, clay pots and plastic pots and various types of fertiliser.

If you have a big area on your land and you are very serious about growing flowers then you should build a greenhouse which enables you to variegate your plants and your flowers will grow larger.

If you are into nature and are interested in growing vegetables and fruit then take into considering that the healthiest way is to grow them by organic gardening where the plants receive only natural substances instead of chemicals and artificial fertilisers.

Arranging flowers for any event Helpful tips for the care of your flower arrangement.

Caring for your Orchid

Cymbidium Orchid

Cymbidium Orchid

Caring for your Orchid to ensure perfect flowers all year round, and to cure orchid problems

It is highly recommended to purchase your seeds from a reputable nursery or flower shop and make sure that the packets of seeds that you purchase have a flower picture on them so as to be easy recognisable.

Most landscape plants are grown from seeds, however there are so many different plants it is much easier to expand them from cuttings rather than grow from seeds. Nevertheless some plants that cannot grow from cuttings should be grown only from seeds. This includes many ornamental trees because if they are grown from cuttings they will have very weak root systems.

It is very important that plants produced from seeds have strong and stable root systems, these root systems can be used as rootstock for your desired variety.

Another name for this is ‘Grating’. If you want to grow landscape plants from seed, it will be a little more complex than growing vegetables for instance, as the seeds which are produced from most landscape plants won’t germinate until they have undergone certain conditions.

Yellow Phalaenopsis Orchids
Yellow Phalaenopsis Orchids

Did you know that as a gardener you can control when the seeds that you are growing will germinate. As funny as that sounds, you can fool some seeds to germinate quicker. But how? By creating the necessary environmental conditions for the best growth.

When you’re ready to start choosing your seeds here’s an important point to keep in mind. You can greatly increase your odds for having a great gardening year by buying from a seed company that’s involved in continuous trial programs.

In other words, they are always on the lookout for better and better seeds. Remember, whether its grass seeds, tomato seeds or flax seed, the plant will only be as good as the original seed.

Musaefolia Peruviana, genetic volcano

Musaefolia Peruviana

It has long been asserted by the Royal Horticultural Society that C. ‘Musaefolia’ does not flower in the United Kingdom. This caused us some consternation, as two of the three types in our collection do give flowers very late in the season and also give seed. However, the largest and most majestic, which we now know is C. ‘Musaefolia Peruviana’ Année, had never flowered for us. It is obviously that variety of the Musaefolia’s that the RHS were referring to when they passed that comment.

Well, the combination of the RHS assertion, our own observations and a quest for adventure and danger was enough to stir us into accepting the challenge, plus the extra electric bills over the whole winter! So, three years ago we kept the plant growing over the winter and in May and June of the following year it flowered for us outdoors.

The flowers were a revelation, being orange instead of the red colour we had been led to expect, and they also provided us with some interesting sights. Unfortunately, being May, there were no other Canna flowers to try and pollinate, and although self-pollinating, we had no seed from the flowers.

But most amazing was the genetic volcano that was revealed. Two of the three flowers had an extra staminode, see top photo, and one of them also had two anthers, one on either side of the stamen so that they did not interfere with each other. The photograph right shows another flower with two separate stamens, each equipped with a single anther. The photograph was taken using flashlight, so the colour on that photograph has been corrupted.

To summarise, we enjoyed the following variations:

  • Four staminodes, one labellum, one stamen, one anther, one style.
  • Three staminodes, one labellum, one stamen, two anthers, one style.
  • Three staminodes, one labellum, two stamens, each with its own anther, one style.

Contrast that to the normal canna cultivar, where we have 3 staminodes, 1 labellum, 1 stamen, 1 anther and 1 style. As the style is connected via the tube to the ovaries it unlikely that we would ever see two styles, but I suppose that even that variation might be possible.
The variations are of significance to hybridisers, as it would be interesting to cross this Foliage Group cultivar with our modern day Crozy Group cultivars and attempt to introduce extra staminodes into our current garden varieties.

Crazy about Crozy

Madame Crozy
Madame Crozy

Monsieur Crozy’s goal was to turn Cannas from being primarily a foliage plant, with pretty but insignificant flowers, into a floriferous plant that could compete alongside any other genera in the flower beauty stakes. How well he succeeded can be judged by the fact that by the time of his death in 1903 the Canna was the most popular garden flower in both his native France and in the USA, where it even outsold roses.

Canna ‘Bonnetti’ has staminodes that are 45 mm. length and 13 mm. breadth, and by the time of his demise new cultivars were being introduced where the size had been increased to 66 by 35 mm, and this was achieved purely by selective breeding. The different colours and colour patterns in bloom and foliage were introduced by crossing his hybrids with other species, such as C. iridiflora. Basically, Crozy raided the species to supply him with any new feature he required.

The most famous of the cultivars introduced by Crozy was Canna ‘Madame Crozy’ (see the print), and this was later used by both Luther Burbank in California and Carl Sprenger in Italy to cross with the species C. flaccida to produce the first of the Italian Group Cannas.

Monsieur Crozy has been referred to as both Antoine and Antonin, the latter being a common nickname for persons called Antoine. He was also called Crozy aîné, which is the French for “elder”, however, it is reasonable to assume that he was not called by that nickname until late in life. Incidentally, there are canna cultivars called C. ‘Papa Crozy’, and C. ‘Antonin Crozy’, sometime refrred to as C. ‘Antoine Crozy’. The third of his christian names is the French version of Mary, which was a name commonly given to both genders in those days.

Antoine Crozy was succeeded by his son, Michel Crozy, who died only five years later at the tender age of 37 years, thus ending one of the most important and dynamic periods in the history off Canna.

Canna Crozy
Canna Crozy

It can be seen from this posting, how important the species are to us. The species collectively have provided everything currently found in our cultivars. There does seem to be an opportunity to introduce some new blood. Also, interesting seedlings can be obtained by using some of the early Foliage Group cultivars, produced nearly 150 years ago as the pollen parent, most are self-pollinating and would need to be emasculated if they were used as seed parents.

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