February 20, 2011

Maine Gardener: Don't be a slave to your plants -- and that includes orchids

By Tom Atwell tatwell@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

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Orchids have a reputation for being tough to grow – but not if you choose well.

Courtesy photos

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And water is a very good pesticide.

"Just take the plants into the shower with you, and you'll wash off a large percentage of the pests," he said.

If the plants need more than washing, he recommends sun oil spray -- which kills the pests by smothering them -- or Neem oil, derived from the Neem tree.

Another important piece of information for orchids, Kearns said, is to hold onto the label. Even an orchid expert can't tell exactly which orchid you have if it isn't in bloom. If you're ever looking for orchid advice, you'll need to know which one you have.

If you want to grow native orchids in your garden, Kearns recommends the yellow lady slipper, sold by a number of garden centers. The pink lady slipper, which also comes in an albino form, requires specific conditions beneath evergreens and is very difficult to transplant. So leave them where they are unless construction is coming and they would be sure to die if left alone.

Skillin's offered a series of classes on Saturdays through January and February. On Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Falmouth store and 2 p.m. in the Brunswick and Cumberland stores, the program will be "The Edible Landscape," looking at how to grow berries and cherries, apples and pears and maybe more.

Skillin's will also offer a four-part landscape design class at 5 p.m. Tuesdays March 8-29 at its Brunswick location. Check Skillins.com for any other classes.

Staff Writer Tom Atwell can be contacted at 791-6362 or at:

tatwell@pressherald.com

 

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