My orchid plant 25 years on

In 1993 Alice bought me an orchid plant for mother’s day. The following year we lugged it from Perth to Donnybrook, where it lived for six months under a make shift shelter down near the sheep paddock. We were working 13 hours a day, seven days a week in the cafe, so there wasn’t a lot of time for pampering pot plants. It survived despite the neglect.

We moved back to Perth, and the orchid came too. For a dozen or so more years it lived in relative peace throwing out at least of couple of flower spikes most years. Then we extended our Duncraig home. Whilst the extension was happening all of our pot plants including the orchid were bundled closely together with some shade cloth thrown over the top. We gave them all a hose down through the shade cloth almost daily, but quite honestly, the fact that any of them survived at all was more good luck than good management. But survive they all did, including my orchid.

We moved to Regent Waters the following year. That year we had our best ever show from the orchid plant – 17 flower spikes.

17 flower spikes

Then in 2014 we set off on our travels, donating our pot plants to Alice. I think the first year it shot off one flower spike, but that was it for the duration of our trip. When we returned to house living last year, Alice decided to give the orchid back to me in the hopes I could nurse it back to good health again. It was looking a little sad, but it was a long way from completely turning up it’s toes.

I repotted it last year, but there was no signs of any flower spikes. I again repotted it, and divided it a few months ago. This year the main plant has thrown up one flower spike so far, and the second plant from the division looks to be thriving.

Still flowering after 25 years

So many people think orchids are delicate. They’re definitely not. In fact, I’d say they’re about as hardy as roses. Neglect them, and providing they’re getting a little bit of water, they won’t do well but they’ll survive. Then give then a bit of TLC and they’ll come back rewarding you with up to 17 flower spikes in one year for your effort. Mine did.

So, if you live somewhere warm and you’ve always wanted to grow orchids, but thought they were too delicate, think again. Give them some water, afternoon shade,  morning sun, and repot them every few years in some orchid potting mix. Apart from that you can pretty much ignore them, except of course when they’re in bloom. Then you’ll want to give them pride of place where everyone can admire them and think you’re pretty talented. You won’t  need to let on that they’re weed easy to grow (I’ll keep your secret).  Give them a go. They’re really easy.

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22 thoughts on “My orchid plant 25 years on

  1. Mr ET gave me an orchid for my birthday two years ago. Last year, it grew a new flower spike which lasted for months and the final flower only dropped off a few days ago. I’m hoping it grows another one. It’s one of those with really broad leaves. Perhaps I should repot it because it is in a tiny pot.

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  2. I don’t think they mind be confined. I keep mine in a bigger pot only because it allows a couple of days of water neglect if I get a busy. Whenever we see displays of orchids they mainly seem to be in small pots.

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  3. They take very little care to survive. The main thing is definitely position, and a bit of water. Morning sun, afternoon shade. They like soil with lots of fibre for drainage. The orchid potting mix in nurseries is just right. After a few years though the clumps break down, that’s when they need repotting.

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  4. Your orchids are beautiful! I have killed every one I have ever tried to grow. Right now I have 2. Determined to keep them alive. 🙂

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  5. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, I don’t know. It’s survived through some horrendous neglect, so it’s definitely not how I care for it. The only things I know is that they don’t like normal soil, there has to be bark and things like that it because they don’t like wet feet. They do need water though, and they only like morning sun. They need some sun if they’re going to flower. I keep mine on the south east side of the house.

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  6. I agree with your summation on orchids. Mine thrive on neglect, still producing one or two spikes per year. I have recently decided to pay attention to my one Singapore/Cooktown orchid – I can never remember which it is…. and it has rewarded me with three, until the other half, trimmed the Golden Cane Palm that overhung it, and it was dumped unceremoniously out of its pot. DH tried to redeem the pot ( and himself) by stuffing it back in the post ( sans flower spike)…. but it lives on regardless. It sounds like you could write a novel about the life of your orchid!! LOL

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  7. If my orchid could write, it’d certainly have a story of hardship, and good times to tell Amanda. I had thought I’d probably enjoy its blooms for a year or too and then it’d be gone. 25 years on its still with me and is my longest surviving plant. They’re definitely not the the fragile little princesses that some people consider them to be.

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  8. Yes, that have a misplaced reputation. Mind you, a lot of them spend most of the time looking a bit ugly with fat leaves and nothing interesting, until the spike forms. Then they blossom into the magnificent plant that they are.

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  9. Thanks so much for the follow. Orchids, you bring back memories of my father. He grew them and grafted them and gave us all one. Unfortunately when I moved states I couldn’t bring it with me. They are such a beautiful flower.

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  10. The gentleman who owned our house before us also loved orchids. He had a massive shade house to grow them in. The house was vacant for many months before we moved in so none survived, and we’ve since taken down his shade house. Old Jimmy (as he was called), and his orchids achieved legendary status.

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