Dear Docs - November 11
I have a few bent orchids as a result of Hurricane Sandy. I cannot complain, though, as I did not have much damage. Should I stake the bent orchids, or should I let them be?
You didn't say what type of orchid it is; however, I will guess that it might be a dendrobium. If it is, try to keep it upright in the container and fertilise and water as usual. That piece of the orchid won't grow back roots, but in a few months you will see some babies. After the babies have grown some good strong roots then you can remove them and pot them, not too deep though.
Or, if it is a sun vanda, provided the vanda has roots along the body, go ahead and cut it with at least 3 roots. The bottom part will spring again. You might get two suckers at once. On the other hand, if it doesn't have any root on the top part you will have to settle for only the suckers later on.
How does one create a vanda bed?
T Chin of St Elizabeth
Dear T Chin:
The area you are considering must be getting sufficient sunlight. Ensure there is no settlement of water in the area and excavate soil about two inches deeper than the pot in which the orchids are already planted. Put a layer of gravel on the earth and arrange orchids the way you prefer, and backfill with gravel and charcoal.
Betty Ashley is an avid orchid enthusiast who has spent decades successfully cultivating orchids for herself, as well as for orchid lovers across the island, earning herself the title 'Orchid Doc'. Send your orchid questions and/or concerns to: firstname.lastname@example.org.