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Orchids Not Blooming?

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Question:

I have several orchids that bloomed beautifully in my other home but since I move they just send out green and don't bloom. Is there something I can do to jump start the bloom process? I have them under artificial light in the winter, sitting in a tray of pebbles so I can regulate humidity and summer them in a protected spot in the garden for the summer. I also have stems that appear dead and dried but then green shoots will come out. Should I trim off the stems that appear spent?

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Hardiness Zone: 5a

Roberta from China, ME

Answer:

Roberta,

If your orchids are sending out plenty of green shoots and seem healthy otherwise, my guess is that they are either not getting enough light, or that they are still adjusting to their new living conditions. Even slight changes in growing conditions can get these sensitive plants temporarily off track. Are they getting the exact same exposure to light and nighttime air temperature as they did in your previous home? You didn't say exactly how long ago you moved, or what type of orchids you're growing, so I'll have to generalize a bit here. Leaf color can be a good indicator of light conditions. Are their leaves the same shade of bright green that they were in your other home, or have they darkened a bit? Although this varies a bit by species, a vibrant, bright green leaf color generally indicates ample light exposure.

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Leaves turn darker in response to less light. Orchids also need a slight drop in nighttime temperatures in order to stimulate blooming. Check to make sure daytime temperatures are at least 65-70ºF and nighttime temperature drop to about 55-60ºF. I would recommend going easy on the fertilizer until you are sure you are satisfying all of your orchids other growing requirements. It's much easier to kill them with kindness (overfeeding and overwatering) than from neglect. If you are satisfied they are getting enough light and an 8 to 10 degree change in nighttime temperatures, you might try giving them a 1/2 strength liquid fertilizer with every other watering.

Good luck!

Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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