Orhideje Ocean Orchids  
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Frequent questions and answers
When do orchids flower?
How long do orchids flowers last?
How long do individual flowers last on an orchid plant?
Why isn't my orchid flowering?
Why are the leaves on my orchid turning brown?
Why are the leaves abnormally bended like an accordian?
How to take care of the plant that has finished flowering?
What to do when black spots appear on the leaves?
What to do when black spots appear on the blossoms?
What to do when the leaves are soft and the plant is in poor condition?
Why is the orchid droping its buds?
The new roots grow out of the pot. How do I tackle this problem?
Are orchids difficult to grow?
Which orchids are the easiest to grow?
Are orchids fragrant?
What is a hybrid?
Are orchids parasites?
Do orchids grow in Slovenia?
Is it necessary for orchids to be grown in a greenhouse?
 
When do orchids flower?
This is a question which cannot be answered in a single uniform answer. A number of orchids have specific blooming periods, stimulated by climate. If suitable climate conditions are not provided, an orchid will not develop buds and subsequent flowers. Such a group are Dendrobiums of the nobile group, Cymbidiums, Phayus, Cycnoches and other species and genuses. Unlike these orchids, there is just as large a group of orchids which do not have specific blooming periods and simply develop flowers when the plants are strong enough and thus capable to sustain the flower energywise. This group includes the Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilums, a number of Masdevalias etc.
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How long do orchids flowers last?
The Phalaenopsis genus, the most widely grown orchids, can flower for over a year, developing new buds on ever new branches. However, most orchids won’t flower that long, with the average flowering period being between 14 days (Miltonias and Cattleyas) and one month (Cymbidiums, Paphoipedilums, Oncidiums). Flowers of Vanilla orchids and complete Stanhopea genus last for only a day or two before fading very quickly.
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How long do individual flowers last on an orchid plant?
The flowers found on a Phalaenopsis and Paphiopedilums can stay in good condition for more than four weeks, whilst the Cattleya flowers have a shorter lifespan and lose vitality after 10 to 14 days. As they age, a number of orchids change the colour of flowers until these finally turn yellow and drop off. This group includes a number of orchids form the Vanda genus (Vanda coerulea and its hybrids) as well as Zygopetalums, Cymbidiums and others.
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Why isn't my orchid flowering?

Flowering is one stage (generative phase) in plant growth, which is directly connected to the growth of the green parts of the plant (vegetative phase). Some orchids develop flowers once the vegetation stage has terminated, while others flower before this stage. In this rough categorisation there are a number of variations which are of crucial importance when we want to help an orchid plant to flower again. A thorough look into the growth cycle of individual orchid genuses is the key to the successful development of flower stalk and buds. Due to scope and versatility found in the Orchidaceae family it is impossible to create a clear list of growth cycles and formulas to stimulate the growth of flower stalk, therefore we have created a short list of “tricks” for some of the most widely grown orchids:

Phalaenopsis If a plant has strong and healthy looking leaves it will flower when transferred to a colder place. The difference in temperature has to be at least 5˚C. Minimal temp. is 16˚C.
Cymbidium In spring this orchid will grow fast, in summer time it will form pseudobulbs which will ripen in autumn and form flowers in the winter season. In autumn, the plants need to be exposed to low temperatures (approx. 7˚C) until the first bud bursts, otherwise the plant will not grow flower stalks, consequently skipping its generative phase.
Paphiopedilum The type with marble-patterned leaves develops flowers when the shoot has reached a certain size or strength and is therefore strong enough to develop flower stalk.
Type with green leaves develops flowers under identical conditions, with the only difference being that plants need to be exposed to a temperature between 10 to 13˚C in autumn to initiate formation of flower stalk and buds.
Dendrobium The nobile type develops flowers if grown under similar conditions as Cymbidiums.
The phalaenopsis type develops blossoms under similar circumstances and conditions as the Paphiopedilums with marble-pattern leaves.
Odontoglossum,
Miltonia
and all hybrids from in this group
The flowering period is not defined exactly and the initiation of flower stalk greatly differs from genus to genus and even species found inside individual genuses. For further information please consult the expert literature and internet sources, or turn to Orchid society for advice.
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Why are the leaves on my orchid turning brown?
There can be many reasons why orchid leaves turn brown, but most frequently this will happen due to light exposure (burning caused by direct sun exposure), low air humidity (orchid placed near heat source) or insufficient watering (it is possible you have watered the plant too much, which causes the roots to rot while the water flow in the green part of the plant was disconnected and the plant dries away). Don’t worry if the old leaves are fading away, this is a natural process of aging in plants.
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Why are the leaves abnormally bended like an accordian?
This problem mainly occurs with Miltonias and in cross-breeds with Odontoglossums and Oncidiums. These genera are sensitive to uneven levels of humidity around their roots and react either with an intense or low growth in youngest leaves of new offshoots. After watering a plant that has been dry for a while, growth will continue very fast. Younger leaves grow faster and can not “escape” the older leaves surrounding them which grow at a slower pace. The young leaves are therefore caught between older leaves and get an 'accordian' like appearance.
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How to take care of the plant that has finished flowering?
In most orchids, the flower stalk dries out after the flowering period, while some genera (Phalaenopsis) and species (Masdevalia infracta etc) grow new flower branches which will develop buds in time. If you are not sure what to do, leave the flower stalk intact until it to dries out completely, which is a clear sign that it will not flower again. You can cut it off and wait for the new flower stalk that will form between the leaves, when the plant is strong enough.
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What to do when black spots appear on the leaves?
In most cases black spots are the consequence of a fungi (Fusarium, Botrytis) or bacteria (Erwinia, Pseudomonas) infection. It is hard to tell the difference between these two infections, however, the affected plants should be isolated. Fungi are treated with fungicides (Dithane M45, Antracol), while plants affected with bacteria need to be thrown away as treatment of such infections with bactericides is often ineffective. However, this spots should not be mistaken for the spots which develop as a result of the natural aging process and dying of old leaves. This is normal and inevitable.
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What to do when black spots appear on the blossoms?
The delicate tissue of flowers is an easy target to the aggressive fungi (Botrytis), which cause sunk-in black spots on blossom petals. The use of fungicides is pointless since, in such a case, the blossoms will remain permanently damaged. This problem can easily be avoided if you stop sprinkling the blossoms, especially after sunset when the air temperature  drops for few degrees. In other words, you should avoid a high level of humidity in the air (watering, sprinkling) in combination with a low temperature (below 16˚C)at any time of day.
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What to do when the leaves are soft and the plant is in poor condition?
If your plant is dehydrated, water the orchid as soon as possible. However, if you have been watering it too much in the past you will have caused the roots to rot. The plant above the soil will not have received any water or nourishment. The plant ironically will have dried out, despite the large quantities of water you have been pouring in the pot. In this case, you can sometimes save the plant by transferring it into a fresh orchid substrate, removing the old wet substrate and all rotten roots. With a little luck, your orchid will grow new roots and survive. You should avoid use fertilisers in the first month after the plant has been transferred into a new pot.
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Why is the orchid droping its buds?

Buds are the most delicate parts of the plant and they are the first to show the consequences of inadequate care, climate exposure or pests. The following reasons are among the most frequent:

  1. Water – insufficient or over-intensive watering
  2. Sprinkling – the soft and moist tissue of the buds is an easy target for fungi
  3. Temperature – in most cases inadequate temperature causes the buds to fall off. The Phalaenopsis drops blossom buds at a temperature lower than 16˚C, while cymbidiums drop buds at a temperature higher than 25˚C. When growing orchids it is good to become familiar with the care requirements of individual genus and follow them as strictly as possible.
  4. Air humidity – if the air humidity is too low the buds will begin to dry and eventually fall off. 
  5. Air quality – if your plants are placed near a window along a road loaded with traffic, keep the window closed at least during the flowering period. Orchids are also sensitive to tobacco smoke and ripe fruit, which exhausts the ethylene gas, so it is best to keep them away from such objects.
  6. Light - too much light can burn the delicate buds, but if a plant, on the other hand, does not receive enough light it probably won’t be able to assimilate sufficient quantities of nourishment to feed its buds and will subsequently throw some of them off to ensure survival of the rest.
  7. Chemicals – overintensive fertilising or application of certain pesticides causes the buds to fall off or the opened blossoms to fade away prematurely
  8. Pests – the most common pests are thrips and lice, which will suck the sap  out of the tender flower tissue, causing either deformations in blossoms or the blossoms never to open up and fall off the plant.
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The new roots grow out of the pot. How do I tackle this problem?
It is pointless to try to prevent the roots from growing out of the pot as this is one of the characteristics of orchids. Roots in orchids don’t grow downwards, according to the principle of geotropism, but rather ramble in all directions to find a humid substrate and nourishments. Growers should not cut off the roots on the surface until they have dried out completely. If most of the newly grown roots grow out of the pot, you should think about repotting the plant into a new, slightly larger pot.
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Are orchids difficult to grow?
If you have succeded in growing other pot plants in your home, you will probably have no problem growing orchids. However, it is good to keep in mind that these plants need to be taken care of with a little more preliminarily acquired information and a well developed sense of monitoring a plant’s condition. That is why the old saying “fools have good fortune” does not apply to growing orchids.
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Which orchids are the easiest to grow?
The Phalaenopsis orchids are the easiest to grow in most homes. This type of hybrid is relatively insensitive to temperature changes between 16 and 32˚C. They are also well adapted to a lowering in the level of air humidity and lack of light. Lady’s slippers (Paphilopedilum) with marble-pattern leaves are also amongst the most simple-to-grow orchids. Cymbidiums, Dendrobiums, Cattleyas, Miltonias, and Odontoglossums are slightly more demanding for growing at home. Vandas are quite delicate orchids and inappropriate for growing at home since they require plenty of light and high air humidity levels to grow and develop flowers.
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Are orchids fragrant?
Most orchids don’t smell since the pollinators are attracted in other ways to the plant, such as the colour and shape of flowers, nectar etc. Despite this, there are orchid genera such as Zygopetalum and Strahnopea, and species such as Oncidium fuscatum, Cattleya iricolor and hybrids (Oncidium “Pupukea sunset”), which have fragrant aromas. There are also a few fragrant species of the Phalaenopsis genus (P.violacea, P. bellina, P. venosa), which appear on the market as cross-breeds among them.
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What is a hybrid?
A hybrid is a cross-breed of two different orchid species, e.g. Vanda coerulea x Vanda sanderiana = Vanda Rotschildiana. The new orchid group is given a name which is technically called grex – “Rotschildiana”, in the above example of a Vanda hybrid. Since the plants grown through cross-breeding are different, gardeners sometimes give them additional names and register them if they poses an outstanding feature. The Royal Horticultural Society in England keeps a record of the complete list of registered hybrids. There are now more than 125,000 different registered orchid cross-breeds (www.rhs.org.uk/research/registration_orchids.asp).  The genera name and species is always written in italics with the first letter in capital (Vanda) and the species in lower text (coerulea). The grex name is not written in italics, though it does start with a capital letter and is always in ‘single inverted commas’.
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Are orchids parasites?
Despite the wide-spread myth, orchids are not parasites and do not harm the plant they are grown onto as epiphyts. Orchid roots merely attach the plant to tree trunks or tree branches to grow high in the canopy. Orchids that grow on the ground (geophytes, also known as terrestrial orchids) are closely connected to different fungi and live with them in a symbiosis. Orchids are therefore not parasitic plants at all.
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Do orchids grow in Slovenia?
Yes. In Slovenia there are 76 orchid species and sub-species. For more information about orchids in Slovenia, please refer to the excellent book, “Orhideje Slovenije” (The Orchids of Slovenia) by Vlado Ravnik, 2002 Tehniška založba Slovenije.
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Is it necessary for orchids to be grown in a greenhouse?
Certainly not. A number of orchid hybrids can be grown at home, since they are less delicate than botanical species found in nature. Before purchasing an orchid it would be wise to familiarise yourself with its care requirements (sunny-shady position, warm-cold place). It is wise to choose an orchid which will best adapt to the conditions in your home. It would be unwise to buy an orchid for the sake of its appealing appearance and then just place it somewhere where there is room for it - in the long run it’s very likely your orchid will die.
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