Orchid Care for Dummies

I’m not calling you a dummy, unless you managed to kill an orchid in 2 weeks like I did. Then you can assume dummy status with me. I’m also not an orchid professional. I consider myself more on the novice rung of the orchid-raising ladder. I have managed to keep 2 orchids alive for 2.5 and 1.5 years, plus have them re-bloom! Yes, I consider it quite an feat considering my first experience.

First of all, my experience is only with the Phalaenopsis orchid and there are hundreds of orchids. Secondly, if you don’t have great patience with an occasional blooming flower, orchids may not be for you. My experience has been that the blooms last 3-4 months and then it’s another year before they bloom again.

When I bought my first plant, it was planted in a small pot and not in a plastic pot inside a ceramic pot like the last few I bought. The instructions said that when the surface feels dry, water it. Well for the first thing, the pot it was in didn’t drain like the plastic ones do. Secondly, I knew orchids thrive in humid climates so I didn’t even think of over-watering as being the cause. Bam! Turned yellow and died. Shortly thereafter I was at a festival on Jekyll Island where a vendor had beautiful orchids planted in antique clay pots. While I badly wanted another one, I was feeling rather gun-shy at owning one, much less plunking down $40+ for one in an antique pot. I mentioned to the vendor that I had one and had killed it within 2 weeks. He snorted in surprise? shock? and then asked how often I watered it. Wasn’t hard to figure out that is the problem.

So, I bravely bought another one and searched the www for some tips on keeping them alive. This is what I’ve learned.

  1. Keep your plant in a well lit place out of direct sunshine. Direct sunshine can cause “burn” spots on the leaves. My bathroom window is on the east side of the house and is frosted. It also has a wide sill so that’s where I keep mine because
  2. They like a bit of humidity and a bathroom is the perfect place for that.
  3. Water them every week to 10 days. I don’t do the ice cube method like some people do.
  4. Feed them with an orchid feed once a month when they’re not blooming and twice a month while they bloom.
  5. It seems easier to control their wetness when in a plastic pot. Once I transplanted one of them into a Dixie cup that I had cut hole in for drainage.
  6. After they’re finished blooming, your supposed to cut the stem down to just above the first node down the stem. I haven’t tried this yet but if you cut it when the blooms are just starting to fade, it will send out more blooms.
  7. If you transplant them, do not use standard potting soil. Make sure to buy potting soil for orchids which usually is mostly comprised of bark.
  8. Patience, patience, patience. A once-a-year bloom isn’t very often and it seems hardly worth the effort. However, when that new shoot comes up and you see the little bumps appear, you get all excited. They are delicate beautiful flowers and are worth the wait.
  9. The color of the orchid may change. One of the orchids I have was given to me by a friend after surgery a year and a half ago. I don’t remember what color the blooms were but I’m sure they weren’t white. When it started blooming this past winter, they were white with a tiny bit of color in the center. Turns out you can color them.  I’m guessing the one I had had been colored at the store or greenhouse. Maybe not. Maybe my memory is off! 🙂
  10. If you buy one, choose one that is not yet fully blooming. This way you should have more bloom time than the fully blooming ones, which could be near the end of their blooming cycle.


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The bloom on the left is from the stem that I trimmed back to the top node. The other stalk came up later but bloomed at the same time.

If you have experience with Phaleanopsis orchids, or recommend another type of orchid, I’d love any feedback that you might have.


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Here are some other helpful articles on the web:

Getting Orchids to Bloom Again

Phalaenopsis for Beginners

Orchid Care FAQs

The Gift of Valentine’s Day


This Valentine’s Day week I surrounded myself with orchids. No, I wasn’t feeling sorry my single self or anything. You know, by your own flowers and stuff.



So no, actually, it was for our 5th Annual Widows’ Banquet. I volunteered rather last minute for the decorating and it was with the understanding that it would have to be kept simple.


I was tickled to find freshly delivered for Valentine’s Day and fully blooming and in pretty white pots locally. We go all out with china and so it really doesn’t require a lot of decoration.



Ladies from church volunteer to bring china and stemware to fill up a table. After meal is served, the owners are responsible to take care of washing their dishes. We have a small kitchen so this works good plus we don’t have to worry about breaking anything in the kitchen.


We have 2 menus that we rotate and make tweaks each year or change some things out.


Each lady had a beautiful corsage, made by other volunteers, to wear.


Our maneuvering space isn’t all that great so we have to make every bit of space count. Marcus and Sonya have been coordinating everything since we’ve started this and it’s quite organized.


These young ladies (Nicole and Kristin) provided entertainment of inspirational singing after the meal.


Each lady was given a gift when they left…. an embroidered hand towel and homemade granola.




There are many ways to bless those in the community around you. This is one of them that we have chosen to do. The ladies are so grateful and we thoroughly enjoy serving them in this way!

After helping in the kitchen all day I dragged myself home to rest. It makes a person totally forget that it is Valentine’s Day (well, almost, V Day was Sunday, not Saturday) and they are single. 🙂



Is My Font Too Small??

I’d love some feedback for those who usually read my blog straight from the website.

Is my font too small for comfortable reading?

The blog theme I use does not give me a choice to size the font and I can switch to another theme if I need to. I’m guessing if you use feedly or another blog reader or email that the theme does not affect how it looks for you.

Thanks in advance! 🙂

Every Day Life

It seems as though I only get posts done any more of vacation and travel. I assure you that is not all that I’ve done the past year or more!

Let’s see … a few highlights of the past few months.

I. My family was home for Thanksgiving. We ate our meals in our mom’s garage. We were thankful for beautiful weather where we could do this with the doors open.

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I found an idea on Pinterest that I used for the centerpiece. It’s a little hard to have a center piece with tables set up like this so we set up a card table in the center. The pumpkin is a little big for the size of the flower arrangement but otherwise I was pleased with it.

The flowers came from a local florist. Most florists will sell flowers by the pack or stem if you want to arrange them yourself (or if you’re like me and usually only want a few or have waited until the last minute to look for anything). Some grocery stores carry beautiful seasonal flowers but the 2 we have here don’t have a very good selection for a varied bouquet.

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The jars for the candles came from HERE. I wanted them in time for a supper we host (See more info below).
My nephew is a pilot so we were able to enjoy an afternoon of flying over the local area.

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There was, of course, a necessary stop at Cafe Euro on our way to the airport!

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Along with volleyball, we played this game. I don’t remember what it’s called … Air 4-Square? 🙂

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One afternoon we helped my sister and her family do some cleanup around the house they bought. They usually host a wiener roast over a fire at our winter family gatherings so we ate at their place. My 2 oldest brothers were in charge of them the meal featuring their favorite cooking methods … Dutch oven and grills.

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Pineapple upside down cake. So yummy!!

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II. A few weeks before Thanksgiving, the companies I work for hosted the 4th annual apprecation supper at our facility for the local public safety officials/employees (police, sheriffs, fire depts, EMS, Air Evac, etc.). My co-worker and a committee do all the planning and other businesses sponsor the food and money for door prizes. If you want to bless your local officials, this is a fun way to do it. And they are always so appreciative.

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III. December is usually a busy month but since our family was together in Nov, I didn’t need to prep for that. Also, I design a calendar for church and for work I managed to get that done right before Thanksgiving too. Maybe I should’ve waited a little because I found a few errors. Grr! Double-checking and triple-checking doesn’t always find them. It was fun to be able to have time to help my sister and her family with some painting at their “new” house. They have done a lot of work to the house and it is fun to watch the transformation!

IV. We had a little quieter Christmas with a few siblings coming in from out of town plus local family. The week between Christmas and New Year I spent on Tybee Island. That deserves a post of it’s own!

V. January at work brings a lot of end-of-year things. Such as:
Getting out W2s for one company, payroll related forms (quarter and annual) for one company, 1099s for 4 companies (all under the same roof), annual corporation renewals for the same 4 companies, business license renewals for 2 companies, sales tax reporting for 1 company.
I’m always afraid I will forget one of them. I think this year I’ve got everything done on time, although as I was putting 1099s in envelopes last week I said, “Why do at the beginning of the month, what you can dread doing all month?!!” 🙂 Yes, I suffer from acute procrastination.

VI. I got to spend a weekend in Pinecraft, FL with a couple of friends. The oddity of Amish in paradise, as it were, (since beauitful, tropical city of Sarasota feels a bit like paradise) always cracks me up. I was as touristy as the next person, walking to Dutchmans for an early supper of Amish dressing/turkey/pot roast/dinner rolls, then strolling to Big Olaf’s that night for some ice cream. I will say this, though, driving to Long Boat Key and finding a quiet public beach access is more my speed than the busy Siesta Key beach. If you’re not familiar with Pinecraft, here is an interesting page to read: http://amishamerica.com/visiting-pinecraft/#contread
This is the first time I saw the battery powered 3-wheeled bikes (trikes? for some reason I only think of tricycles as a child’s small trike. I guess that is the correct term though for the big ones as well.). I was crazy seeing people humming along busy Bahia Vista street on these things.

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Waiting for the Pioneer Trails busses to come in.

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I made shrimp and grits for Sunday lunch.

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Oops! There was more travel pictures! 🙂