The Rise and Fall of an Orchid

Written By

Sheela Kedarinath

The Rise and Fall of an Orchid Loading

Whilst I was newly married and hubby and I were still in our so called honeymoon phase, we happened to visit Gangtok, Sikkim. By an off chance, we went to the Orchid Flower festival, which is similar to our Lalbagh flower show in Bangalore, only this had beautiful orchids of all shapes and sizes and dozens of hybrids. Sadly, I did not appreciate it as much as I would now – though I was completely taken in by the riot of colours, the beauty and the fact that the orchid was a rare flower indeed. Little did I realise then that I would be running my own venture on gardens a few decades later!

On my return to Silchar, Assam where my husband was posted, one of his colleagues gifted us a lovely blooming orchid plant.  A healthy colourful orchid, proudly raising its head and justifying its superiority over other plants. I took the gift with trembling hands (I exaggerate) and set it in the terrace area. A lone pink orchid. My hubby’s colleague who has an enviable collection of plants said that this was the easiest thing to manage and to just water it on a regular basis and ensure that the roots remain aerated.

Day 1 – So come morning, even before my cuppa tea (which is sacrosanct) I rushed to my orchid to see if it was doing fine. Sure it was. Ahhhh. A sigh escaped my lips. I watered it lovingly and gazed at the colour and beauty of the flower. Made a dozen promises in my mind to get some more plants and flowers and set up a garden.  In my head I pictured my dream garden and could see hubby and me sipping morning tea and chit-chatting in our weather resistant garden chairs; a tea pot on the table.

With an onerous task ahead but with a smile on my face, I set about making breakfast – hubby dear looked warily at the cheerful me and hid behind the daily newspaper – probably thanking his stars and looking at the prediction for the day.

Day 2, 3, 4 – Things were hunky dory and my orchid seemed to be thriving. I was certain I had a green thumb and that plants were my calling.

Day 5, 6, 7 – Was it only me or had the flower drooped a bit? With that doubt in my mind, I watered the plant some more as it was looking a little dry.

Day 8, 9, 10 – The flower had fallen and now the plant looked a little droopy. I confidently watered the plant. It looked slightly rejuvenated after watering and I heaved a sigh of relief. It would probably give me another bloom.

Day 11 – The roots looked black. Too much water? Not much aeration of the roots? My mind ran with all sorts of possibilities. There was no Google in Silchar back then and I had to ask my good neighbours. Each of them gave me prompt advice — less sunlight, too much of sunlight, no fertilizer, not much rain … the list was endless. I informed hubby of the plant’s condition and he consoled me saying it was okay and not to worry, we could get another orchid. He also looked hopefully at the masala vadas I was supposed to be churning out, instead of making orchid talk.

Day 12 – Even for an amateur like me, I could see the orchid had died. It was the saddest I had felt in days. I gave the orchid a decent burial and rambled about my orchid to hubby. He sympathised with me and said we could get some more orchids as soon as possible. Not quite sure if I saw a glint in his eye – possibly one of relief?

So if any of you have orchids in your home, here are some pointers:

How to buy and care for your Orchid plant

  • Buy an orchid which already has a bloom – as the orchid takes a long time to flower and you may lose patience waiting for the flower
  • If this is your first orchid, I suggest you buy the Phalaenopsis orchid as they are low maintenance orchids and easily available. They are also called moth orchids
  • Keep your orchid moist but not wet at all times
  • Try to keep some ferns around them – as they grow well with other plants
  • Branch growing orchids should not be allowed to sit in pots – you should grow them in coconut husks
  • Use a Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium fertilizer (commonly called NPK) every month. Water the orchid before feeding the fertiliser

Best of luck with your plant!

For more on gardens, do read my article on Balcony gardens and visit my page on Facebook.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sheela Kedarinath has around 20 years of varied experience in the corporate world. She has worked in the Corporate Social Responsibility sector and has also been managing administration for an MNC for a long period of time. In her personal life, she is creative and passionate about the various aspects of interior decoration. Sheela’s home and garden are her pride and joy. She has added value to a lot of her friend’s homes and balcony gardens in the last 20 years.

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