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Plant of the Week:

MOTH ORCHIDS, Phalaeonopsis

We ❤️ these gorgeous orchids - in fact, we can't get enough of them. There's such a special grace to the long, arching stem of these plants. These elegant flowers will brighten tables and windowsills in your home for months at a time. Moth orchids, also known as Phalaeonopsis, are some of the least expensive and longest-blooming orchids available. In fact, one bloom spike can look great for four months or more and there is not shortage of color options. Choose from whites, pinks, lavenders and yellows in both solid colors or stripes and spots.

Love the style, grace and beauty of orchids but afraid they look too complicated to care for? Never Fear. Moth orchids are surprisingly easy to grow. In the right setup at home they can be extremely low maintenance. Be sure to give them a spot in low, medium, or bright light and water weekly or every other week. Promote more and larger blooms by feeding moth orchids monthly with a fertilizer formulated specifically for orchids. Plants do best in temperatures from 50 to 75F. If you're looking for an easy to grow orchid, the moth orchid is for you.

So bring a little spring into your home this winter these blooming beauties... and did we mentions moth orchids make the perfect living Valentine too? Show the love this year with a blooming moth orchid!

Check out more of our favorite plants! OUR PLANTS OF THE WEEK >>

Orchids Need TLC

Orchids need TLC, but a little goes a long way!
by Kathy Van Mullekom, a lifelong gardener and gardening writer living in York County, Virginia

There it was in all its glory – a white-flowering orchid sitting on my dining room table. The scene looked very much like a page out of House Beautiful magazine. The orchid was a Valentine’s Day gift from my husband, and I cherished its specialness. For years, he gave me long-stem red roses, and the switch to a plant that would grow and bloom again was a nice change. For days, I walked through the dining room often, admiring the orchid’s silky white flower petals.

The orchid was a Phalaenopsis, nicknamed a moth orchid because each bloom looks like a dainty moth ready to take flight from the arching stem that holds it tight. It was planted in a small clay pot filled with a bark mix made special for orchids. Thinking I was giving it kindness, I watered the orchid enough to keep the bark constantly moist. Within weeks, the orchid’s fleshy leaves began to wrinkle. I fretted and watered some more, thinking the plant was thirsty.

Desperate to save my beautiful orchid, I took it to the garden center where my husband had purchased it. They kept it for several days, nursing it back to health. They also warned me – don’t water it so much! Unfortunately, my orchid didn’t make it, but I learned an important lesson that I continually pass onto plant lovers when they ask me how to maintain an indoor plant’s good health.

Watering a houseplant too much is just as bad as watering too little. When you get a houseplant, take the time to read the label which includes care instructions. Plant roots need oxygen, and quickly suffocate and rot if left in a water-logged pot. Water orchids thoroughly, usually about once a week, then allow them to dry slightly before watering again, according to the American Orchid Society on its website at www.aos.org.

Did I get another orchid? Not yet, but I’m hoping Cupid delivers one this Valentine’s Day!

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GET THIS LOOK!

DO-IT-YOURSELF LIVING VALENTINE

This year, give your Valentine a living gift made by your own two hands. All you need are just a few materials and some beautiful blooms. We designed our living Valentine using primrose - a flower that says "I can't live without you!" These little flowers make a big impact with mega color making it the perfect Valentine gift.

The primrose is an unusually vivid spring-blooming perennial flower. Unlike the faint pastels associated with spring, primrose shout out in bold yellows, reds, pinks, blues, oranges and white. Their flower stalks sprout up from low, ground-hugging rosettes of lush green leaves and stay in bloom for weeks. By forcing these blooms in our greenhouse, we can get them to you well before spring sets in. These flowers make a cheery houseplant this time of year, so dig in and create your own living valentine!

What You'll Need:

  • Heart-shape container -- Be sure it has drainage holes.
  • 3 to 6 primrose plants or any low-growing flowering plants -- We also love using succulents.
  • McDonald potting mix
  • McDonald Greenleaf fertilizer
  • Spanish moss
  1. Fill the heart-shaped container with soil and drop in your plants as desired.
  2. We recommend planting your flowers as low as possible to keep the heart shape.
  3. Be sure to sprinkle in an all-purpose fertilizer like McDonald GreenLeaf to promote optimum performance.
  4. Tuck Spanish moss in any spaces to cover soil and top off the look!

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