Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'm having babies! *

Every so often my orchids actually do something that get my attention.  Recently this was sprouting a few leaves in a couple of unexpected places, their upper stems.  “That’s interesting,” I thought when it first happened.

Then the leaves got bigger,

 and my other orchid decided to join in on the action and sprouted a set of leaves on one stem

and then on it’s OTHER stem!

Not being a total idjit, I looked around for a father and then came to the conclusion that I’m having babies! *Well, the orchids are at least… not me for a long while yet!

The babies are called keikis technically and I am giving them the original names of Keiki #1, Keiki #2 and Keiki #3.  Or maybe I’ll be cute and call ‘em Ke, i, and Ki.  We’ll see.

 They still have a while yet before they have enough roots (2 or 3 at about an inch and a half long) before they can leave their roosts off their respective mama orchids.  I have to wait until then before I can be plant midwife-like and yank them off their mothers and replant them in their own pots.  It’s a cold world little orchids, just you wait and see! (Man, I feel slightly evil.  I blame the awful rainy weather.)

The cool thing about keikis is that they are clones of their mothers and because they have been growing piggyback on mommy for a while, they are hearty and strong and will bloom within a year or two rather than the usual 3-5 years seedling orchids take.

I have never had any problems growing an orchid interestingly enough and am slightly mystified by how other people seem to think of them as terribly difficult to keep.  All the orchids I have kept too are the generic “grocery-store-didn’t-know-how-to-take-care-of-me-and-now-I’m-dying-and-on-sale” kinds.  Maybe they only stay alive out of gratitude to me?  My only tricks are professional orchid potting material, little water and whatever light my dining room table gives it.

If anything,  I wish more people would grow orchids and not feel so intimidated by them.  Adopt a discounted one from your grocery store so it doesn’t feel like such an expensive investment!  Just do a little research to get them spruced up again (a good bit of fertilizer, a sheltered spot, and some neem spray for good measure) and you’ll have yourself a nice orchid to cherish for years!

What do orchids, other than being interesting lovely plants, have to do with my blog?  Ta da, they’re edible!  The most common edible orchid is the vanilla orchid (which I desire greatly to have), but in general ALL orchids are edible.  The flowers can be used in many dishes and salads, too.  The roots also are purported to be edible (though I wouldn’t recommend it if you like your plant living).

Flavors can vary from sweet to bitter to chive-like, so be wary if you decide to nosh.

Interesting links: