There is no need to fear growing orchids

I have a reader who, for some reason, dislikes it when I talk about orchids. If you feel the same way, please move quickly to Page 7 for the latest economic news. Or you could go to the calendar and work the crossword puzzle (always good for the brain). For those of you who like orchids, or at torleyheader020816least don’t mind when I talk about them, please read on.

So, why do I even talk about orchids? There are so many reasons.

There are 1,400 to 1,500 species of orchid in Costa Rica, so just about anywhere you go, there they are,
popping up out of the ground, hanging off trees, or even growing on rocks. Some have blooms so large that one flower makes an intimate centerpiece for the table, and some have blooms so small that you need a magnifying glass or even a microscope to see them (Lepanthes orchids are like that. I have a lot of Lepanthes). See blow.

Orchids can be removed and “re-homed” if you find them on dead branches or fence posts, so it’s easy to start collecting. Just carefully peel the roots from the underlayment and just as carefully attach them to new wood at home. Need to start the collection the easy way? Buy your orchid at a local farmers’ market or vivero.

Worried because you have heard that orchids are difficult to grow? Nonsense! Orchids are tough and easy to grow, and they will grow just about anywhere. If you plucked your plant from a dead tree, you can transfer it to a live tree near your house using strips of cloth or old stockings. Remember, that plant is adapted to the climate. No greenhouse necessary!

Once your orchid roots take hold of the tree, remove the tie or just let it rot away. I use cotton strips for my orchids. The roots are usually attached at the same time that the cotton disintegrates. Easy.

How about, orchids are expensive? Not so, if you collect the local orchids although the larger and more glorious orchids can be pricey. So far, I have never spent more than $12 on an orchid because I have searched out the right people, hobbyists rather than commercial growers.

Many hobbyists are happy to share their orchids with people they know. There are also large commercial growers who will share orchids at a lower price. One such has a farm near Caldera. He grows orchids for sale all over the world in places like supermarkets, Walmarts, and the like, and has excellent prices for individual orchids.

Yes, there is a lot more to talk about, but there are great books on Kindle, “Easy Orchids” for example, or “Orchids for Dummies.” So, fear not! Go out and get yourself an orchid!

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