Why not go small? Miniature orchid isn’t an “official” name. It may mean different things to each grower. For some it may be plants that grow less than 6 inches tall or have leaves less than 6 inches long. For others it could be very small flowers. Have you got a collection of mini orchids going yet? If you are running out of space and who isn’t, then having an area that features small orchids allows you to do more with less. There are a few important considerations when dealing with mini orchids. If the plant is small or lacks media, you may have to water daily and in the hot summer months even mist the roots or leaves to cool them down. If grown in a small pot or basket then use media like sphagnum moss to hold moisture. Provide some shade, allow morning light and good airflow. Fresh air is essential, it helps to remove excess moisture and keeps temperatures moderate. Using plants in baskets or mounted allows you flexibility. A wire mesh horizontal or vertical allows more hanging area and can be spaced out in layers to make the most of a limited area. Plants that do better with more light can be placed higher up while those that like shade can be lower on racks or tables. Hanging plants can be hung on each other but avoid crowding plants.
I have a section of my covered patio set aside for my mini orchids which hang from an open wire rectangular garden box. Since most plants are small, I can have 30+ plants in layers and easily pull them out for care or inspection. The outer facing plants do get more sun.3 What else to watch for? Small flowers can be easily missed so be on the watch daily. Flowers can also be short lasting so just be aware and ready to enjoy them. Bringing them indoors or taking a picture is a good practice. As each month passes ask yourself if the plants look healthy and happy? Are they growing and blooming? Maybe they need a cooler area or more sunlight. Plants in baskets and mounted may not need new media but anything in pots may benefit from repotting each year. So where do you find mini orchids? Kawamoto Orchids in Palolo and H&R Nurseries in Waimanalo both carry species orchids of which many will grow small or have tiny flowers. Ask questions so you know what to expect. Andy’s Orchids in Encinitas California has a good website to learn more, you can search for orchids that grow under warm conditions for Hawaii. Finally if your plants are growing well you may be delighted with some keiki plants which you can share with others. Write new tags with the date so you can keep track of your progress. The journey to grow these orchids will not always be perfect, you’ll loose a few along the way but gain experience and appreciation for how diverse orchids can be.
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