Plant rescuer Sarah Gerrard-Jones shares tips caring for orchids

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Orchids can thrive really well if given the right conditions. spoke to Sarah Gerrard Jones, also known as The Plant Rescuer about the best ways to care for an orchid. 

Most households will have Phalaenopsis orchids, more commonly known as moth orchids. 

The plant features long, coarse roots, short leafy stems and long-lasting flat flowers arranged in a flowering stem that often branches near the end. 

One of the most common signs of an unhappy orchid is “limp, yellowing leaves which suggest an issue with root rot caused by too much water”. 

Sarah explained how and how often a Phalaenopsis orchid should be watered. 

She said: “Orchids are tropical plants; they don’t come from a cold environment. 

“I do not recommend [using] ice cubes [to water] as they can shock and kill the plant.” 

The ice cube trick involves leaving a cub on top of the orchid’s roots, which slowly melts and drives water through the roots. 

Instead, Sarah suggests: “The most successful method is to soak the pot in water for 30 minutes to an hour. 

“This method hydrates the roots and allows the bark to absorb moisture which the orchid roots can slowly extract. 

“To know when to water your Orchid, look at the colour of the roots – hydrated roots are plump and green; when they turn silvery-coloured they are dry and need water. 

“Avoid getting droplets in the crown of the Orchid; if left, it can cause the plant to rot.”  

To boost an orchid’s chance of thriving, Sarah “suggests adding plant feed to water once every four to eight weeks and always following the dilution instructions on the bottle”. 

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The Plant Rescuer also shared her do’s and don’ts when it comes to orchid care. 

Sarah said: “Orchids attract various pests, commonly mealy bugs, thrips, and spider mites. 

“The sooner you find pests, the quicker you can deal with them and the less chance they have of multiplying. 

“Do check underneath the leaves regularly. Don’t water your orchid on a schedule; always check the roots first to see if they need hydrating.”

Sarah also spoke about her new book, The Plant Rescuer; that “covers all aspects of care including light, water, fertiliser, substrates, propagation, and pests, but importantly it helps the reader diagnose and remedy any issues before the plant reaches the point of no return”. 

She said: “I wrote the Plant Rescuer ultimately to save plants from being thrown away. 

“I don’t believe in the notion that people are ‘serial plant killers,’ nor do I think people are born with ‘green fingers. 

“The secret to growing thriving plants is simply a case of taking the time to understand what your houseplant needs to survive and what it’s conveying through changes in its appearance.  

“Plant care isn’t rocket science; anyone can grow healthy, happy houseplants by following the simple guidance in my book,” Sarah added. 

You can purchase Sarah’s The Plant Rescuer book from Amazon. 

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