Orchid rescue project. So far so good

I’ve been taking in stray orchids for about a year now. The one’s that people usually toss away after the flowers die (yeah you).

They aren’t the pretty kind like you’d buy in the store or boutique but to me that’s what makes them even more beautiful.

I’ve spent at least a year many of these and I love giving them as gifts although I admit I can get a bit attached. Like the one below. This one was so mangled when I got it, the best I could manage was to replant it sideways. And now the leaves are growing completely upside down. Now she’s a double spike, super healthy and is certain to put on a real nice show in about a month.

How about this crispy critter? The previous owner was certain it would die. But orchids are tough as nails and would rather be neglected than killed with kindness.

Here’s the full view of the same plant. Note the side branching. This one’s going to be a beauty.

The previous owner of the one below thought it was toast and it was just sitting in the planter looking like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

So I scooped it up and before doing a wholesale cutting, I noticed that it was starting to put out a second growth. So I gave it a little trim, replanted it and I’ll get about a two month display out of the gorgeous white one above.

But what kind of beauty? Maybe that’s the beauty in all this. Truth is I have no idea. They could be any color or any pattern. I don’t keep track of the phylum, genus and species, but all those pictured here are Phalenopsis. Very common here in South Florida. I gave the one above away today to a friend, my first giveaway from this batch. Sad to see her go but happy knowing about the upcoming show this one will throw off.

Here’s a happy camper. In one year, the roots are going every which way which is a real good sign. Truth is growing orchids is as easy as making ice.  Once you know some of the of the basics.

I’m running long so I’ll wrap this up.

I love aging the pots when I can. It gives them so much more character.

Here’s another double spike with some nice gashes on the leaves.

Here’s where I grow them mostly, right on the patio. And some I regrew in an Eastward facing window at Beber Silverstein. Not too complex it is? The wood and bricks set me back about 10 bucks. Looks like a lot of work, but it’s not. I spend about 10 minutes a week on them.

And here’s the set I made for this post.

All of these pics were taken and edited on my iPhone 4G. If you have orchid questions, fire away. I’ll do my best even though I’m not a pro.


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20 Responses to “Orchid rescue project. So far so good”

  1. danny Says:

    I have a good relationship with the garden manager at Lowes. every time I go there she shows me the orchids that need to be rescued and she discounts the for two or three dollars and sometimes for 50 cents. I take them home repot them if need be and I get some nice plants for hardly anything.

  2. Jeannette T. Hull Says:

    A lot of things you’d just as soon not have in your memory. But then, you come home to these orchids, and there’s nothing but beauty.

  3. Kaley Says:

    Great post. I just rescued two orchids from the bulky trash a few days ago.

  4. The Orchid Diva Says:

    I am so impressed with your passion for Orchids and your mission to save them. Great job!
    I am a passionate Orchid lover myself. I dress them up and create an artful arrangements with Orchids in New York. I know you like Orchids in the most natural and organic state but check my website to see my Orchid Divas and let me know if you like it 🙂

  5. Beth - The Botut Blog Says:

    My daughter loves these beauties but sadly we are manglers! Hopefully, we will become better (I just saw special Orchid soil in the store) but I think you’d wince at how we have maimed creation! She (me) just can’t keep them alive.

    • Mike LaMonica Says:

      Hi Beth!

      Sorry to get back so slowly…

      I can’t wince any more than I already have. I’ve seen it all. There was a link in the post about some basics. Sounds like you’re on the right track. They’re tough buggers with a crazy will to survive.

      Best piece of advice…don’t kill them with kindness. If you have any questions, you can leave them here or email them to mlamonica@bellsouth.net.

      My best to you!


  6. Squathole Says:

    Orchids can be a tough struggle. We’ve killed our share, but we’re still involved with them. I’ve never seen one discarded, but if I did I’d bring it home and try to nurse it back. You’re doing great. Thanks for this post and the great photos.

    • Mike LaMonica Says:

      Hey there,

      Thanks for stopping by and for the good words. Actually some I get from the trash and many from people who were going to just huck them anyway.

      Best to you!


  7. Jeff Zelaya Says:

    What an interesting hobby Mike. They’re beautiful

  8. Annette Says:

    Thanks Michael. I have an orphaned orchid from my friend Marta who moved to Naples, FL. Her dad grows them on his patio there. Mine looks healthy but has not flowered since she left. I will read and take heed. First thing I’m going to do is buy a ceramic pot and place it on a humidity tray. I have a spray bottle and orchid food. Thanks for the re -inspiration.

  9. Lore Says:

    I’ll be calling on you to make sure my beautiful orchid stays just beautiful… 🙂

  10. Rob Says:

    Where are you rescuing them from? Is there some underground community?

    • Mike LaMonica Says:

      Hi Rob,

      Nah, they’re the one’s that people usually toss after the flowers die. Maybe the clarity of my writing would go up if I drank more craft beer…


      • Rob Says:

        haha. so you see them with the Tuesday trash and grab them? Just curious because I wanted to see how I could get involved with the crisis. 🙂

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