Top tips for orchid success | Indoor plants

Growing orchids for decades, Todd Marshall shares his expert tips so you can have stunning orchids too.
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If you’ve ever had your heart broken by an orchid that died despite your best efforts, don’t worry; within the orchid family there are 30,000 species, 70,000 hybrids – and some of them are bomb-proof!

Jerry meets orchid grower Todd Marshall, who can suggest some easy-to-grow types for black thumbs to try.

Todd has been growing orchids in his family-run Brisbane nursery for decades. He says his most bullet-proof orchids are Cattleyas, Dendrobiums and Oncidiums. “The perfect drought plant is an orchid,” he says, especially in Queensland from Rockhampton down to Coffs Harbour in northern NSW.

Todd’s top tips for orchid success:
Don’t put orchids in a pot that’s too big because the roots will get too wet. Many epiphytic orchids are happy to have roots growing outside of the pot but if you must pot it up, only go up one size.
Growing mix – Todd uses five parts bark to one part perlite.
Oncidiums like to be planted in the centre of a pot, but Todd plants up a cattleya to one side of its new pot so the rhizomes can grow across.
Make sure the rhizome sits on top of the bark.
Use pots with lots of holes to allow good air flow.
Todd also grows a lot of bromeliads, which act as humidifiers, because each one has a little reservoir of water in its centre.
Get to know your plants – you will feel when the pot is light and needs watering.
Fertilise orchids once a week by spraying the leaves with a liquid fertiliser.
Never fertilise on a cloudy day – the stomata cells on the leaves are closed and won’t absorb the nutrients.
Orchids flower best where they get about six hours of filtered sun a day.

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