Houseplant of the month – November: The Orchid

Sensational shapes, gorgeous shades and spectacular flowers – November is all about orchids! Graceful orchids are very trendy for our homes right now. Stand these exceptional orchids prominently in your home to fully appreciate their exotic beauty.

The orchid’s origins

Orchid plants are herb like plants that cover the seasons and grow wild all over the world both in warm and cool climes although of course 85% of them do originate in the (sub)tropical regions of the world. There are more than 20,000 varieties of orchid that we know of and new varieties are continually being discovered. An orchid flower is easily distinguished from other flowers. An orchid has three sepals and 3 main petals. The middle main petal is slight larger in a different shape and is called the lip. It’s actually a kind of platform to allow insects easy access to the centre of the flower. The pollen is on the stamens in the centre. All orchids are built in the same way so easily recognised as such.

Caring for orchids

Depending on where they originated and how they actually grow, there are various ways to care for orchids. Most of the unusual varieties like to be kept at room temperature in a nice light spot, out of direct sun. Orchids don’t like their feet in the wet so good drainage is essential. Soak your orchid in a basin of lukewarm water with added orchid feed for half an hour every 10-14 days, then allow it to drain off. Snip off those flower stems once the flowers are faded. Cut right back to soil level. Stand your orchid in an unheated room during this dormant period and with a bit of patience, new shoots should appear. These make new flower stems.