Thursday, 9 January 2014

Microenvironment... How to make your orchids feel at home...

So we fell in love with orchids and then like every other love story, started the difficult part of our relationship... Adjusting with each other :-) ...

Armed with very little know how given by our retailer, we decided to dig deep to find out how we can keep our darling Dendrobium happy. From various sources on the internet (which are many and even contradicting), we came to believe that the Dendrobium actually needed sunlight and so we it placed in our balcony. It was peak of summer, the sun was scorching and we watered the plant well in the morning. Yet, we found the plant seemed to be drying out. We weren't sure if it was about the sun or the watering. What also bothered us was that we knew they needed humidity and Bangalore was a dry city especially in peak summer. We were disheartened when we also recollected that orchids grew in forests which normally had a lot of humidity.

Then we learnt a new word which changed the way we grew our orchids and the word was microenviornment.

Its as simple as it sounds but just in case you are wondering what that is, let me explain... Imagine two little orchids, discussing the weather and one of them lives alone on the terrace of your house and the other lives along with other plants in your eastern balcony. The guy on the terrace gets the brunt of the afternoon sun and says its scorching and the other orchid enjoys the early morning sun and a gentle afternoon breeze. So to put it in a nutshell, it is the environment that a little plant feels around it. Still ambiguous? Here are the primary factors that make up the microenvironment for any orchid plant:

  1. Humidity (water in the air)
  2. Light
  3. Air circulation
  4. Temperature
The next question is how can we manage the microenvironment to meet the orchid's needs? It starts with the steps mentioned in our earlier blog. Once you know your orchid, understand its needs and observe it, you just need to make minor adjustments to keep your love happy.

Coming back to our first plant in summer, we realised it needed humidity but how? Keeping the roots wet is the biggest life threat to an orchid as it starts to rot or gets affected by fungus. Then we heard of humidifiers which were used by people who had a large orchid collection which also did not suit our requirement. Finally, we came upon a very simple plan... Place an ice tray with water under the orchid (without water touching the roots) and let the water evaporate in the sun thus creating artificial humidity in a dry Bangalore. It worked like a miracle... Our plant came alive within a few days, grew a new shoot and the existing flowers on the spike lasted for very long time. Microenvironments can be altered by changing the placement of the plant, changing or adjusting the potting media etc. Keep reading our blogs to know more about potting media, lighting etc.
A happy dendrobium in a favourable microenvironment will signs of growth like new shoots

A tolumnia mounted on wood is also suitable for this little orchid... Look at the growth!!!

The success with our first plant, made us think of buying the next orchid plant... One is never enough. Is it? The story of our second plant is what made us start The Urban Orchid Boutique...For more, wait for our next blog...

Meanwhile, another small but very important tip for growing orchids is that they are amazing companion plants. In other words, they like to be grown along with other plants or like they grow in nature (most of them), on a tree. More about this in the blogs to come... 

So until the next time, if you have an unhappy orchid, experiment with its microenvironment and do share your success story with us. For those who haven't yet tried growing an orchid, its never too late to fall in love. Visit to buy your first orchid today.

You can also write to us at for further details.

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