Orchids have a bit of a reputation for being fussy, often deterring the casual admirer, however, armed with a little knowledge, anyone can cultivate an awesome orchid nearly year round. Today we will be covering care basics for the most common and easy-to-grow orchids.
Orchids are not your typical houseplant, and do not usually grow in potting soil. In nature, most orchids are epiphytes, meaning they are found attached to trees by their roots. Orchids absorb water and nutrients from the air, rain, and debris that accumulates at their base. There are hundreds of genera of orchids, and they are indigenous to regions all over the world. Hawaii only has three native orchids and they are all quite inconspicuous and quite rare. The orchids you will frequently find at Paiko are Phalaenopsis, Grammatophyllum, Intergeneric hybrids, and Lady Slippers.
1. Do I need to provide humidity for my orchid?
Orchids enjoy moist air, with a humidity level of 55-75%. Luckily for us, Oahu’s average humidity generally falls within this range, so no additional steps to increase humidity are needed.
2. How do I know if my orchid is getting enough light?
Orchids flourish indoors in indirect light. The leaves of your plant can help you decipher whether the plant is getting the proper amount of light. Grassy green leaves indicate that your plant is receiving enough light to bloom, whereas a plant with dark green leaves could use more light. Inadequate light can prevent your orchid from flowering, although it will still grow. Intergeneric hybrids will tolerate a wide range of light, but watch out for black spots on the leaves, which indicate the plant is getting too much light.
3. How often should I water my orchid?
Ideally, orchids should be watered enough to keep a little continuous moisture just below the surface medium. It is important though to not to overwater, as overwatering is probably the leading cause of orchid death. Healthy moisture levels can be achieved by thoroughly watering your plant once a week. Lady Slippers are a bit different from other orchids in that you do not want your potting mix to dry out between watering.
A good watering technique is to run the pot under water until the medium is saturated, and then allow it to drain completely before returning it to a shelf or table. If you are little lazier, the ice method of watering might be the best choice for you. This method is as simple as “watering” your plant with three ice cubes (approximately ¼ cup of water) once a week. Larger plants may require more cubes. The ice will melt slowly, distributing the water throughout the soil without leaving a pool of water at the base.
To tell if your orchid is getting the proper amount of water, take a close look at it. If the roots are green, your orchid is well watered. If the roots appear white or grayish, or the foliage is wrinkling, then the orchid can use some more water. Yellowing leaves can indicate overwatering, so let your orchid dry out thoroughly before you water again.
4. Does my orchid need to be fertilized?
You can fertilize your plant once a month with a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Orchids don’t need large doses of fertilizer, so err on the side of ‘less is more’.
5. What do I do with my orchid now that the flowers are dead?
Once your orchid is done blooming, there are several things you can do:
A.) Take the wait and see approach; your plant may produce new buds at the end of an old flower spike.
B.) Locate a node (a triangular shaped area on the stem), and trim your flower spike just above it. This may encourage the orchid to generate new flower spikes.
C.) You can also remove the entire flower spike one inch from the base of the plant. By doing this, more energy will go into the leaves and roots. This will strengthen your plant to produce a new flower spike.
Encourage your orchid to bloom again by moving it to an area where the night temperatures are slightly lower than their current environment. Once your plant begins producing new flowers, avoid changing the plant's orientation to the light. This will keep the flowers from twisting on the stem and give you an even, arching flower cluster.
6. When does my orchid need repotting?
Orchids should be repotted every other year after blooming has completed. This will ensure that your roots are healthy and prevent root rot from old, soggy medium. Remove old medium from the roots, and trim off rotted roots. An unhealthy root will be slimy or feel hollow, whereas a healthy root will be firm. Once this is accomplished, you can put the orchid back in the same pot with new medium-grade wood bark. Water your orchid sparingly until new roots are established.
Repotting can also be a useful way to save an unhealthy plant. If your orchid wilts, falls out of the pot, or has pale or wrinkled leaves, repot with new potting mix. If you have other concerns about the health of your plant, you can contact Paiko for further troubleshooting, or check out the American Orchid Society website (www.aos.org), which is a great source for orchid information and events.
A few weekends ago we took a little research trip to the Big Island, the source of most of our flowers, and an endless source of inspiration. Starting in Hilo, we trekked our way around the east side of the island, exploring farms, national parks, beaches, and mind blowing farmers markets. We came back motivated and full of new ideas, with a new array of botanical discoveries under our belt.
We could go on for ages about all of the cool stuff we saw, but lets keep it short with a highlights section:
Tamara's highlights: Visiting the Pahoa farmers market (espescially the fresh greek yogurt and granola in a papaya), playing in the moss carpeted gardens in Volcano, seeing staghorn ferns growing on coconut trees in Hilo, and wild bamboo orchids growing in the sulfur vent fields of Volcano National Park.
Courtney's highlights: Discovering fern curls the size of her head in Volcano and speckled anthuriums in Keaau, having a constant intake of Kau coffee, driving up to McCall's farm in Pahala (where we saw a pheasant family in a macadamia orchard), and seeing lycopodium growing in the wild.
More Big Island: Botanical Basics: Protea
At Paiko, we have the pleasure of housing many of our succulents, air plants, and tropical flowers in elegantly understated, hand-crafted vessels by local artist Tricia Beaman. I met with her recently at her home on a quiet, tree lined street near Diamond Head for a chat about her craft, Paiko, and Kaka’ako.
How did you get started creating pottery?
I started in 2009, my neighbor asked me if I wanted to take a clay class at Hawaii Potter’s Guild. The Guild is like this cooperative studio, it’s been around since the 60s and Yvonne, my neighbor, when she was a little kid, her friend’s mom used to take her there to glaze pieces and that it’s this awesome place under the freeway and there’s this big garden, and she said “Do you want to try and take a class?”. Clay has always been interesting to me, I’ve always been creative, and really interested in things that are functional, and art that’s functional, so you know, I thought I’d just try it out and see what it’s like. I kinda got hooked right away, so I just started making bowls, learning about the process of clay, firing, glazing and throwing pieces, and I’ve been at Hawaii Potter’s Guild since then. So it was kinda accidental. I had always enjoyed working on different projects, and fixing things up, and so this was a very accidental foray into a new art form.
I’ve been experimenting very slowly with hand building; I’ve just made some shapes to put together a wind chime, (laughing) which I have no idea how it’s going to turn out. I really just find the process of working on the wheel to be very meditative, and relaxing, and also just fun. I’m definitely interested in just making functional pieces. I think the wheel kind of lends itself to that more.
Why do you think your pieces work so well with Paiko’s shop?
When I saw Paiko, I was right away blown away, I love their branding, and the shop inside is very clean, and simple, and organically modern, I guess you would say. That’s totally the aesthetic I’m going for. So I think I just saw their shop and was “oh this is beautiful and it looks really cool” and I had been experimenting more with making different kinds of planters, so it seemed like it would fit. Definitely Tamara’s aesthetic, the way she arranges flowers, and the way they’ve been putting plants into my pieces, lets the work speak for itself.
You recently got started in clay, do you work in other mediums?
Yeah, I’ve done projects around the house, like sewing, and refinishing furniture, but I’m definitely not like a formal art student or anything like that. Everything I’ve found interesting has been for the home. I think everything I’ve been inspired to do creatively is because it has a need, (it is) a functional thing. I think it’s really cool that “craft” has become something that’s valid to do and it’s not seen as this really cheesy thing, you know…
There are great design blogs, and great magazines right now, that are showing that it is a craft, it’s not “crafty”, and that’s something that should be elevated, and these people should be treated as artisans.
When you are creating your pieces, what is your inspiration?
I’ve definitely taken inspiration from other potters at the studio, at Hawaii Potter’s guild, some of my instructors there that have just been doing it for so long, that I’ve learned a lot from them, and find inspiration at the studio, you know you see other people working, and (The Potter’s Guild) has this great garden, that’s a huge inspiration for me to like take a break and walk around the garden.
I think I’ve just always been interested in a really modern aestheric, like Heath Ceramics. Edith Heath was around in like the 30s and 40s, and she was one of the first modern American production potters, and actually, all of her forms are still in production today, and made in California. They have a studio and they use all her molds. We use all her plates and bowls, we got like a few place settings when I got married, and it’s all I ever use, they’re really nice, like very simple lines, so I think I’ve always been inspired by simple forms, whether it’s pottery or like furniture, I think I just have a clean, simple aesthetic.
What are your thoughts on Kaka’ako?
I think it’s really exciting to see creative people doing such interesting creative work and just to see what’s happening. I love Paiko’s aesthetic, and I love that it’s really simple and modern, and the other shops are doing really cutting edge cool things. Limb has had great shows, and that space is amazing. Ian’s a really talented furniture maker. There is affordable art work, it’s local, and that’s awesome. R/D features really interesting stuff. I think (Kaka'ako) has some of the freshest and most inspiring spaces in the city and it’s cool that they’re all coming together.
Written By: Hannah Grgich
By: Hannah Grgich
As anyone who has visited Paiko in person knows, we are a part of a very special neighborhood: Kaka’ako. This week we’re focusing on our block, and taking a walking tour to illustrate what’s happening in our hood.
Historically composed of fishing villages and salt ponds, Kaka’ako has under gone many transformations over the years, and is currently evolving yet again. From a commercial center filled with warehouses and industrial businesses, this neighborhood is now known as a gathering place, where you can see artists in action, collaborate on a project, shop for one of a kind treasures, have a gastronomic experience like none other, and get to know your neighbors through events like workshops and the Honolulu Night Market.
As you meander through the streets, even in the heat of the afternoon, the sense of exhilaration and possibility is nearly palpable. Restaurants are busy serving up lunch to a diverse crowd, where you can get everything from a lobster sausage-wrapped-in-bacon hot dog to fried pa’i’ai and a salad made with local greens. Restaurants such as the Whole Ox, serve up locally sourced and cured meats to a hungry downtown lunch crowd, and our immediate neighbors Taste offer diners the experience of an ever changing roster of up and coming chefs. The ladies of Paiko can often be seen on many a Friday night sharing a bottle of wine and hanging with neighbors on the sidewalk tables at Taste.
In addition to great food, you can’t help but stumble over the often breathtaking murals created during PowWow over the past two Februaries. PowWow, a yearly meeting of respected artists from around the world, gives each artist a wall in Kaka’ako to turn into a masterpiece, breathing new life into old industrial facades.
Another artistic outlet in the hood, 808 Urban works with high school kids creating large scale murals throughout the island. They have a new storefront “The Refuge” here in Kaka’ako, which hosts free workshops, lectures, and other events. Another gallery on the block, Limb, specializes in amazing woodworking and features a changing roster of exhibits in all media. Check them out at the Honolulu Night Markets.
After soaking up the vibrant colors of the murals, bring your laptop to do work, or just relax with a cup of Morning Glass coffee, at our good friends, bookshop/coffee shop/gallery hybrid, R/D. Also, make sure to check out the adjoining Interisland Terminal gallery for the most current exhibits from key members of Honolulu’s art scene. On a side note, prior to our store opening at 675 Auahi St, R/D was where Tamara would hangout to get work done, initiating her into the Kaka’ako community and eventually evolving into her opening our storefront down the street. We love R/D!
Whatever you do in Kaka’ako, you will experience a microcosm of Hawaii’s urban island culture; a unique community that like the island as a whole, celebrates traditions and is embracing innovation. At Paiko we are so happy to have found our place in this community, and hope you come visit us to experience it all yourself.
More Kaka'ako: Kaka'ako Night Market
Written by: Hannah Grgich