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Bromeliad & Orchid Care Guide

Every plant and flower has its own unique guide to caring for and ensuring its longevity, however, the amazing Orchid and Bromeliad families deserve a little more attention than most.    These points below serve as general guidelines to caring for and maintaining your Kokedama and are not in depth for each individual plant and flower. 

BROMELIAD
Care & Maintenance Guide

ABOUT THE AMAZING BROMELIAD FAMILY

Bromeliads [BRO-MIL-EE-ADS], or Bromeliaceae, are a family of several thousand tropical American plants that includes Spanish Moss and the edible Pineapple.  It is one of the basal families within the Poales and is unique because it is the only family within the order that has septal nectaries and inferior ovaries. These inferior ovaries characterize the Bromelioideae, a subfamily of the Bromeliaceae. The family includes both epiphytes, such as Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides), and terrestrial species, such as the pineapple (Ananas comosus). Many bromeliads are able to store water in a structure formed by their tightly-overlapping leaf bases. However, the family is diverse enough to include the tank bromeliads, grey-leaved epiphytic Tillandsia species that gather water only from leaf structures called trichomes, and a large number of desert-dwelling succulents.

It is said that Bromeliads entered recorded history some 500 years ago when Columbus introduced the pineapple (Ananas comosus) to Spain upon return from his second voyage to the New World in 1493. On that voyage he found it being cultivated by the Carib Indians in the West Indies. Within 50 years this tropical fruit was being cultivated in India and other Old World countries.

Bromeliads are commonly called "air plants" or "epiphytes" for their habit of growing up in the air on tree limbs and crotches, or in rock crevices, free of any connection with the ground beneath, although there are a few species which grow on the ground and are rooted in the soil. Bromeliads are so highly distinctive due to the many different forms, textures and colors of their leaves and for their amazing, long-lasting blooms. As a bonus, they're among the easiest of indoor plants to grow and maintain. Popular bromeliads include Aechmeas, Neoregelias, Vriesias, Billbergias, and Cryptanthus.  Aechmea fasciata is a favorite and has been grown in Europe as a houseplant since the 1820s.

Bromeliad species range in height from only a few inches to up to 30 feet (including the flower stalk). Most cultivated species are 2 to 4 feet tall and spread 2 to 3 feet wide.  The largest bromeliad is Puya raimondii, which reaches 3–4 m tall in vegetative growth with a flower spike 9–10 m tall, and the smallest is probably Spanish moss. Bromeliad flower spikes typically grow at the tips of stems that emerge from the center of leaf rosettes and generally last 2 to 6 months. Some flowers hunker down in the center of the leaf rosettes, others dangle from long stalks. Often the flowers are outshone by even more colorful "bracts" or modified leaves that protect them. All bromeliads flower only once, then send out new young plants ("offsets") from the base to produce another spectacular flower.

All bromeliads share a common characteristic: trichomes, tiny scales on their leaves. These scales serve as a very efficient absorption system. In species found in desert regions where the air is hot and dry and the sun beats down relentlessly, these scales also help the plant to reduce water loss and shield the plants from the solar radiation. These plants are so covered with scales that they appear silvery-white and feel fuzzy. On many species (especially in more humid areas), the scales are smaller and less noticeable. Sometimes the scales can form patterns and banding on the leaves that add to the plant's beauty.

With few exceptions, the flower stalk is produced from the center of the rosette. The stalk (or scape as it is called), may be long with the flowers held far away from the plant (either erect or hanging pendantly) or the scape may be short with the flowers nestled in the rosette. The scape may produce a single flower or many individual flowers and may have colorful leaf-like appendages called scape bracts that serve to attract pollinators and delight bromeliad enthusiasts. With rare exceptions, bromeliads only flower a single time - once the plant stops producing leaves and produces its flower, it will not start making leaves again. It will, however, vegetatively produce new plantlets called "offsets" or "pups". These plants will feed off the "mother" plant until they are large enough to set roots of their own and survive as a separate plant. The mother may sometimes survive a generation or two before finally dying off. Pups are usually produced near the base of the plant - inside the sheath of a leaf. Sometimes, however, pups may be produced on long stolons or atop the inflorescence (flower spike) of the mother plant. The green, leafy top of a pineapple is in fact a pup that may be removed and planted to start a new plant.

Individual bromeliad leaves are usually strap like and stiff, with smooth or toothed margins, and are often striped or spotted with white, yellow or red. Leaf surfaces are covered with a bloom of fine white scales, which absorb water when wetted. They frequently form a stemless rosette, or crown, which in many species serves as a catch-basin for water.

 

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR BROMELIAD SELECTION

Light:  Different genera of bromeliads are tolerant of different levels of light. Some can withstand full tropical sun, while others will quickly scorch. In general, however, the plants prefer well-lit, bright windowsills, but not direct sunlight. A south, west or east window is often perfect. Plants that are yellowish may be receiving too much light, while plants that are dark green, or elongated, may be receiving too little light.

Temperature: Bromeliads are also highly tolerant of temperature variations, but remember that plants in hotter conditions will need more humidity. Ideally, bromeliads prefer temperatures between 55ºF and 80ºF. They should not be exposed to temperatures under 40ºF.

Water & Humidity: Bromeliads are very tolerant of drought conditions. In a normal house, it's not necessary to keep the central cup filled with water, but this is an option if the light levels, temperature and humidity are high enough. If you do centrally water your bromeliad, make sure to flush the central cup every so often to remove any built-up salts. In general, however, it's enough to water these plants through the soil weekly during the growing season and reduce watering during the winter rest period. Never let the plant rest in standing water. If possible, maintain 30 percent humidity around the plants with a humidifier, or with trays of damp pebbles.

Potting Soil: Although they are epiphytic, bromeliads can be grown in a fast-draining potting soil. A mixture of 2/3 peat-based soil mix and 1/3 sand is a good idea. Bromeliads can also be grown mounted to boards and logs. These plants will need to be watered more often and consistently throughout the year.  We have painstakingly developed a proprietary soil mixture specific for our Bromeliad selections.    

Fertilizer: Bromeliads are not heavy feeders and normally live on the scanty nutrients their roots obtain from tufts and rotting leaves.   During the growing season, use a liquid fertilizer at 1/2 or 1/4 strength. Add this fertilizer to the plants' leaf cups or mist the leaves with the solution once a month.

 

DIAGNOSING SYMPTOMS

      SYMPTOM

PROBABLE CAUSE

  1. Brown Spots Forming On Leaves

Too Much Light

  1. Leaves Too Long And Thin

Insufficient Light

  1. Leaf Tips Look Burned

Humidity Too Low

  1. Leaves Wilted or Turn Brown At Base

Overwatering

  1. Lower Leaves Turn Yellow

Leaf Aging

  1. Plant Fails To Bud or Bloom

Needs Stimulant

  1. Central Leaves Die or An Odor Present

Crown Rot

 

SOLVING THE PROBLEM WITH YOUR SELECTION

  1. Brown Spots Forming on Leaves Due to too Much Light

Different genera of bromeliads are tolerant of different levels of light. Some can withstand full tropical sun, while others will quickly scorch. In general, however, the plants prefer well-lit, bright windowsills, but not direct sunlight. A south, west or east window is often perfect. Plants that are yellowish may be receiving too much light, while plants that are dark green, or elongated, may be receiving too little light.Simply move away from direct sunlight if brown spots start forming on your selection.

  1. Leaves Too Long and Thin Due to Insufficient Light

Too little light may cause bromeliad leaves to elongate abnormally or may be caused by too much nitrogen (N) in the fertilizer. Move the plant to a warmer and sunnier location or feed with a diluted fertilizer solution.

  1. Leaf Tips Look Burned Due to Lack of Humidity

If room air is excessively dry, leaf tips and margins may turn brown. Raise the humidity to about 28-30% with a humidifier, move to a more humid environment, or simply add water to your decorative stone or seashells.We also recommend misting your selection several times a day for a few days until the plant recovers.

  1. Leaves Are Wilting or Becoming Brown at Base Due to Overwatering

Bromeliads are very tolerant of drought conditions and should not be overwatered. In a normal home environment, it's not necessary to keep the central cup filled with water, but this is an option if the light levels, temperature and humidity are high enough. If you do centrally water your bromeliad, make sure to flush the central cup every so often to remove any built-up salts. In general, however, it's enough to water these plants through the soil weekly during the growing season and reduce watering during the winter rest period. Never let the plant rest in standing water and the best possible solution to ensure longevity is to include decorative stone to ensure air flow to allow your selection to properly drain.

  1. Lower Leaves Turning Yellow  Due to Age of Leaf

The oldest leaves are lowest on the plant, and will lose color as they age and die. Carefully remove unsightly leaves with a clean pair of snippers, scissors or knife.

  1. Plant Fails to Bud, Bloom Due to Needing Stimulant

To induce flowering in a plant, enclose the plant in a plastic bag and include an apple in the bag and let sit for 5 to 10 days. Bromelaids are often stimulated by exposing the plant to ethylene gas and this approach usually does the trick.A new bud should appear 30-60 days after this treatment.

  1. Central Leaves Die or Odor Present Caused by Crown Rot

A bacteria sometimes attacks bromeliads, particularly in locations where bacteria thrives. Bacteria turns the crown (where the root system is attached to the plant) to become soft and soggy, and is often accompanied by an odor. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to reverse crown rot.

 

ORCHID
Care & Maintenance Guide

ABOUT THE AMAZING ORCHID FAMILY

The Orchidaceae, commonly referred to as the orchid family, is one of the most diverse and highly evolved families of flowering plants on earth. There are more than 30,000 current species and new orchids are being discovered every day, especially in the tropics where most orchids are found.   The world's richest concentration of orchid varieties is found in the Himalayan region of Nepal as well as in the tropics, mostly Asia, South America and Central America. 

Orchids have been cultivated for more than 2,000 years and have a rich and colorful history. Modern breeding methods have placed these once exotic and expensive plants within the reach of most people. Furthermore, today's hybrids, which outnumber the species, are easier to grow and are, in general, better suited for ordinary home conditions.

Orchids, for many unknown reasons, have developed highly specialized pollination systems, thus the chances of being pollinated are often scarce, so orchid flowers usually remain receptive for very long periods, and most orchids deliver pollen in a single mass. Each time pollination succeeds, thousands of ovules can be fertilized.

Pollinators are often visually attracted by the shape and colors of the labellum. The flowers may produce attractive scents. Although absent in most species, nectar may be produced in a spur of the labellum, on the point of the sepals or in the septa of the ovary, the most typical position amongst the Asparagales.

Simply put, these amazingly gorgeous flowering plants are one of Mother Nature’s wonderful gifts and are often called the most spectacular of all flowering plants. There is rarely a better selection of garden décor to symbolize luxury, taste, distinction, beauty, passion and love.


HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR ORCHID SELECTION
 

Phalaenopsis (fal-en-OPP-sis)

Phalaenopsis, or "Pha", are among the easiest and most rewarding orchids to maintain, as the plants have adapted well to the indoor home environment.  From the time that the first flower bud opens, the sprays will remain in bloom for the next 2-3 months.

Light:

As with most plants, sufficient lighting is critical to ensure a plant’s successful cultivation.  Phalaenopsis flourish indoors with indirect sunlight, but prefer either an east or lightly shaded south facing window.  Be cautious to place your Phalaenopsis selection in a west facing window as this may cause burning.

Temperature:

Phalaenopsis enjoy temperatures between 60 to 65°F in the night and 75 to 85°F during the day. 

Water & Humidity:

Typically, Phalaenopsis prefer to be kept on the moist side, however, most of our selections are wrapped in a dry moss, which will retain more water.   Avoid over watering to a fault as it will cause root rot.   Watering once every 7-10 days should be sufficient and do not soak for more than 2 or 3 minutes. Always place the base on a tray of pebbles or small stones to raise the height of your plant and ensure that it does not sit directly in the water.  Avoid letting let the plant rest in standing water.

Phalaenopsis enjoy moist air, with a humidity level of 50-60%. 

Potting Soil:

Although most of our selections have been contained in a base wrap for over one year without the need for repotting, many of our custom designs and limited selections are meant to be temporary bursts of artistic expression, which will have an anticipated life in the base between 3-4 months.  After the orchid can no longer tolerate the base, simply remove the base and repot using Sphagnum Moss or Medium Orchid Bark Mix.    

Fertilizer:

Use a high-nitrogen fertilizer specifically formulated for orchids.   Typically, Phalaenopsis only need to be fed once every 45 days. 

 

Orchid Bloom

Usually in the fall, flowering is triggered by night temperatures that drop approximately five to six degrees over two to four consecutive weeks. If they are healthy plants, they will have ten or more leaves. When kept inside a home, they usually bloom for two or three months which is considered a very long time in the orchid trade.

DAGNOSING SYMPTOMS

      SYMPTOM

PROBABLE CAUSE

  1. Black Blotches on Leaves

Too Much Light

  1. Blooming Stops

Insufficient Light

  1. Leaf Tips Look Burned

Humidity Too Low

  1. Leaves Wrinkled and Leathery

Under watering

  1. Roots & Leaves Look Burned

Over Fertilization

 

SOLVING THE PROBLEM WITH YOUR SELECTION

  1. Black or Brown Blotches Forming on Leaves Due to too Much Light

Simply move away from direct sunlight if black blotches start forming on your selection.

  1. Blooming Stops

Insufficient light is the most common cause of failure to re-bloom your orchid. Leaf color is a good indicator if the amount of light is adequate. Unlike most indoor plants, lush, dark green leaves is not a good sign of a healthy orchid priming for bloom.Light green means the orchid is receiving enough light to bloom.

  1. Leaf Tips Look Burned

If room air is excessively dry, leaf tips may look burned. Raise the humidity to about 50% with a humidifier, move to a more humid environment, or simply add water to your decorative stone or seashells.We also recommend misting the base, not the leaves, for a few days until the plant recovers.

  1. Leaves Are Wrinkled and Leathery

Wrinkled or leathery leaves, typically, indicate a lack of water. We said “typically” didn’t we?At first glance, one would assume under watering is the problem, but let’s take a closer look.  Look to see if the roots appear a healthy white or green and are plump, and the medium is in good shape.If that’s the case, then you may be under watering your selection. On the other hand, if the roots are in poor condition and look wilted, then root loss is occurring, thus inhibiting the flow of water to the leaves.The immediate solution is to raise the humidity level around and in the plants’ vicinity and then slowly water before determining if repotting is the answer.

  1. Roots & Leaves Look Burned

When leaves and roots look burned, it’s usually a case of over fertilization.Too frequent fertilizing will also inhibit flowering.

 

 
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