An Orchid & Bloodleaf

That’s right, folks – two new plants have come to live with me! For the first time ever I’ve entrusted myself with the care of an orchid – a moon orchid, or phalaenopsis amabilis. She’s gorgeous, non-toxic to pets, has a happy southern-facing window home, and intrigues my kitten to no end. She’s been sitting in that window much more often now that the orchid’s there.

Now, like I said, I’ve not once had an orchid before. This is a new plant adventure to me so I needed to learn about orchid planting and care. I didn’t know this, but orchids are technically “air plants” – and those, I’ve raised before (with lots of help from my dad). So yes, they need very different potting conditions than your average houseplant.

The takeaway: My plan is to replant Luna (the moon orchid) in a mixture of sphagnum moss and perlite.

And what about watering? I’d heard the ice cube method before, but I wanted to confirm it before I started doing it. My gosh, there’s a lot to learn about orchids! From pots to pruning, this is going to be a challenge but one I’m glad to take on!

I finally did find information on watering from the American Orchid Society (yeah, that exists). Really the advice here isn’t all that different from more common houseplants; avoid overwatering, stick your finger in the soil to see if it’s still wet, and get to know your plant’s needs. The best way to water and orchid, the site says, is watering it in the sink with lukewarm non-distilled and non-softened water.

The best place to water your plant is in the kitchen sink. Use lukewarm water (do not use salt softened or distilled water) and water your plant for about 15 seconds and be sure to thoroughly wet the media. Then allow the plant to drain for about 15 minutes. It may appear dry but it has had enough water. After the plants are watered, they should be placed so that the pots do not stand in water.

American Orchid Society

The takeaway: I may need to purchase a new pot and some more supplies for my orchid, such as a humidifier which I’ve been wanting for other reasons for a bit, or the more inexpensive option: a humidity tray. Also, I won’t be watering with ice cubes.

And that’s not all, folks! I also got a little tiny bloodleaf plant, of the genus iresine.

Sold as a terrarium plant, I was told at the shop that these little dudes like moisture from a spray bottle and aren’t picky about the type of light they get. So I decided this bloodleaf was going to live in the bathroom next to my rattlesnake plant, which has similar desires.

However, after being home for about two days Ires (that’s it’s name, based on it’s genus) looks very droopy. It could easily be shock from it’s journey home, but I’ll be keeping a close eye.

For instance, even though I spritzed it yesterday it seems not enough water got into the soil – it’s soil was bone dry this morning. I know, I know – no overwatering! But this guy’s new to me, so I’m still learning what it needs. I’ll be checking up on it and reading up in it today. According to this site, bloodleaf actually needs bright sunlight – which we have plenty of here in this apartment with all the southern windows, but isn’t what I was told. I’ll have to keep investigating!

Other Myriad Urban Garden Updates

One of my oldest plants, my weird cactus that I can’t remember the exact type of cactus, is getting awfully leggy and might need to be shifted to a new spot – it’s reaching so far for the light that it’s starting to almost pull out of the soil. Plus, it’s in an old wooden pot that’s bound to crack from watering sometime.

My echeveria, a very sweet Valentine’s gift from this past year, is looking a bit dried out (you can see the thinness of the leaves) and could definitely use more soil – hopefully it’s okay once I give it some TLC!

The baby strawberry plants still look healthy, just tiny! They could use some water today, for sure. The same goes for the not-yet-growing lemon balm; the soil it’s planted in looks super dry, so it’ll get some water today and hopefully we’ll have seedlings soon.

The cilantro, on the other hand, is growing like a weed! Every day, I swear, it gets noticeably larger and more robust. I know from reading and from a fellow gardener friend that cilantro needs to be harvested regularly once it’s mature, so I’m excited for all the fresh cilantro!

And finally, my wheatgrass a.k.a. cat grass needs some TLC. My kitty knocked it over onto herself the other day, which was hilarious but stressful for both her and the plant. It also seems dried out, which makes sense since it’s been extremely hot lately. I’ve been checking on it and giving it water as needed; hopefully it gets better soon! Meanwhile the celery I grew from food scraps is growing like a weed.

Wishing everyone love, stability, and calm today & all week. ✿

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