Orchids definitely brighten up a room during the darkest days of winter. Many cultivars start spiking (putting out flower stems, known in the orchid world as spikes) right after the winter solstice. It seems to be all about the change in daylight hours.
The above orchid is oncidium Wildcat “Chadwick,” another freebie from the club. In my experience, oncidiums do well in the same conditions as phalaenopsis, the ubiquitous moth orchid. This is a rangy plant, with many burgundy-colored, white-rimmed blooms that last well over a month. I’m not a fan of the yellowish brown oncidiums, but this one is a pretty color.
This is one of the smaller phalaenopsis, not exactly a miniature, but sold as such. These are great little plants, robust and floriferous. This one took a first prize at an orchid show a couple of years ago, despite its humble beginnings at Trader Joe’s, where I bought it for $10. You can see the bud at the very tip of the spike has blasted (shriveled up) for a reason known only to the plant. That’s a common occurrence, and in the case of this orchid, there are many other blooms, so it’s not a catastrophe.
This time of year, I continue my regimen of Michigan State University “Tap Water Special” granular fertilizer one week, plain water the next, Superthrive the third week, and plain water the fourth. My plants tend to sulk and even scorch during the heat of summer, but, like me, they’re loving these cool winter temps.