April: What's Blooming in the Office?

It's easy to get mired in a coronavirus funk these days, but it's finally getting to be Spring and one of the bright spots for me this month is seeing so many of my plants in bloom, both indoors and out.

The two Phalaenopsis orchids shown here are special treats, and not because they're award-winners or rare subspecies. Rather, they were both given to me by neighbors. 

The white Phal is from Jean, next door. When she brought it to me, it had roots growing out of the pot every which way. She didn't know it only needed repotting in order to thrive. (Most orchids need to be repotted every couple of years. The bark in which they're planted breaks down over time.) 

I offered do to the repotting and give it back to her, or show her how to do it, but she said, "Just keep it!" You'd be surprised at how many orchids I get that way.


And this lovely, pink-speckled bloomer is from neighbors Kathy and Brad. When their mom died, someone sent a beautiful arrangement that included two orchid plants.

Kathy brought them to me, saying, "I'm not sure I can take care of anything but myself right now." I definitely understood and was happy to take them off her hands.

Even with social distancing, I've made sure both neighbors have gotten to see that their plants are thriving. It's given all of us a reason to smile.

Next time you're at the grocery store (with your mask on, of course), consider picking up a Phalaenopsis of your own. I've seen them lately from $12 to $20. They bloom for about a month.

After the flowers have shriveled or fallen off, cut off the stem, drizzle them with a little water once a week and fertilize every couple weeks. Drain them well. Try not to get their big, elephant-ear-like leaves wet, especially at the crown of the plant (where the leaves come together).

Within a year, the plant should rebloom. If nothing else, you'll be practicing patience -- which, nowadays, is a much-needed skill.