Guest Author - Susan Taylor
If you hare having trouble growing orchids indoors, especially if you like the tiny ones, you can try growing in a simple fishbowl. My first trial came when I purchased a Masdevallia I couldn’t resist at an orchid show. These are generally rather cool growing orchids and we live in southern Texas where it gets very hot during the summers. Most of my orchids grow in the greenhouse and must be able to survive temperatures up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius. Once I got the orchid home I realized that it would never survive outside. Mind you, this is completely against one of the most important orchid tips I espouse: only buy orchids that will grow in your conditions! But it was so cute I simply couldn’t resist.
These little orchids need quite high humidity to grow well so I decided to try growing in a fishbowl near a north window indoors. The ball-like fishbowl was about six or seven inches, or 15-18 centimeters in diameter. I put white gravel in the bottom, about one half inch or 2 centimeters deep, then placed the plant in the middle and then used rainwater to just below the surface to increase humidity. Do not put anything over the top of the container. Your orchids need air circulation as well as high humidity.
The only problem I’ve found with this system is that the plants grow so quickly, and flower so much that I keep having to find larger and larger fish bowls so that the flowers do not stick to the sides. Also watch the leaves to make sure the plant is not getting too much light. The leaves will turn very light green. Try to keep the leaf color about the same as the leaves when you purchased the plant. Do not cut off the inflorescences if they stay green because they will develop new buds on the live growth. I’d recommend finding out how large a plant the orchid will be before starting this project – I’m on my third fishbowl for one of them (I now have three since I had to fill up the empty fishbowls). Garage sales are good sources for glass containers that can be used for this. They’re decorative looking and the orchids love the humidity.
Give it a try with one of the great miniature orchids available to orchid growers!