I almost had a faint on my way out of the house this morning, walking past the long- neglected bicycles, the batch of laundry hanging out to dry, then seeing my orchids shedding yellow, wilted leaves with rotten black spots at the tips.
Wait a second- what?
Yes, it’s true. They’re already dying, after just five days of owning them! A record feat on black thumbism , even for me- who had just come up with such a ridiculous name for being a hopeless gardener!
Wait a second- what? Now you have orchids?
Why, yes, I do. Or I did. Or I don’t know.
It feels so freakin’ frustrating, that’s what it is. My grandmother used to have a huge orchid garden, with exotic species flying in from Indonesia and stuff… My grandfather can plant on a barren piece of land and grow literally anything on it… My mom’s brothers are legitimate farmers, for crying out loud. So, it just might be that… I am the black thumb of the family!
I’ve read up a good deal on orchids since my sad discovery and found out a few basic things I should have known before attempting to even take care of these plants:
– Many people make the mistake of assuming that since orchids are native to tropical rainforests, they must be watered several times a week. Unfortunately, watering this frequently will kill the roots of any orchid in short order. The general rule of thumb for orchids grown in the home is to water every 5 to 12 days, depending on the type of orchid, the temperature the plant is grown in, and the time of year. …Okay, so should I be totally bothered that I’ve been watering them every single day, for five straight days now??
– Yellow leaves on orchid plants can be due to too much light. In fact, in the mid day summer sun orchids can actually get burned spots on their leaves. This may be one of the more common reasons for yellowing of leaves.
– Although, not usual, too much water can also cause the leaves to turn yellow. But in addition, there will be evidence of “rot” as well. Too much watering can cause a fungal infection and this is seen with black areas within the yellow.
Stop watering for a week or two and then only once a week after. You need to treat for a fungal infection (i.e. Phyton 27 solution)
Don’t die, babies!
*If you would like to receive and read more letters, please feel free to subscribe. Thank you.
More letters, more love!
Photography and text by Author unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.