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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

09.04.2006

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orchid you not easy growing tips for orchid newbies
by Yee-Fan Sun
| 1 2 3 4

There was no way I could resist. The craigslist ad offered 5 healthy orchids for the crazy low price of $12. Promptly, I responded. So, apparently, did a gazillion other eager prospective orchid owners. The seller put out a call for higher bids, but in the end, I won, offering a price that was about the same as it would have cost to buy myself a single plant from a local shop. Trucking my box of goodies back home, I couldnít wait Ö to tell my orchid-obsessed mom about the lucky score, and get the refresher course in how to keep all my pretty new plants alive.

Iím not a real green thumb, you see. Iíve killed spider plants and Devilís ivy, those dorm-room staples that folks say can weather all sorts of hardship and neglect. My attempt at a vegetable garden ultimately yielded more weeds than food. My mom passed along her love of all things green and growing, but sadly, not her innate talent for keeping plants alive. Slowly, Iíve gotten better over the years, with more than a few poor specimens sacrificed along the way. Iíve learned that the plants that do best under my not-so-nurturing watch are the ones that donít need a whole lot of pampering. Cacti are good. The good olí spider plants and devilís ivy are fine too, now that Iíve learned to keep them out of the blazing sun. But my favorite of all? Orchids.

Yes folks, I said orchids.

With their showy blooms and sleek lines, orchids donít look like they should be easy. And sure, many of them arenít; orchids are incredibly diverse, which is why folks like my mom get so into them in the first place. But thatís the cool thing about these gorgeous plants. Thereís an orchid for just about everyone -- even for those of us arenít blessed with the gift of green thumbery. In fact, plenty of orchids actually do best when theyíre not fussed around with too much Ė making them a perfect choice for folks whose care taking skills might be a tad on the lax side.

If youíre looking to add a shot of natural beauty to your digs, an orchid might be just the thing -- and with a few tips and tricks at your disposal, keeping that exotic beauty happily blooming isnít even all that much work. Check out our handy guide for easy orchid careÖ

where to get Ďem
Common-variety orchids are readily available just about anywhere that sells plants, from your friendly neighborhood supermarket or home improvement megastore to, of course, actual plant nurseries. Theyíre often cheapest at the former, but youíre likely to find a greater variety at the latter. Moreover, nurseries are generally much better at nurturing their orchids before they hand them over to you; as a newbie orchid caretaker, you may find these babies easier to keep alive. As orchids are very popular houseplants these days, however, it also pays to keep your eye out for them at moving sales and in craigslist or freecycle ads. You can get amazing deals when people move or clear out house; just make sure to inspect the plant to make sure it looks like itís in good shape, and to ask whether itís ever flowered (the answer should be yes; though itís no guarantee of future blooms, youíll know itís a mature plant at least).

bop along this way

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