In Johannesburg, the main consideration is the winter temperature. The easiest orchids to grow here require temperatures of 12 to 28 degrees and cannot handle frost. Orchids will thrive in intermediate light, not heavy shadows. In winter they can handle more sun, not in summer. Place them on a north facing site.

SELECTION OF ORCHIDS TO GROW: Given the right conditions, they will flower every year.

WHERE TO GROW: A lean to shade house with roll down shade cloth In a frame attached under the eaves In a sheltered corner of the garden

CHINESE GROUND ORCHID. Excellent for a beginner. Treat like a bulb. They are inexpensive and need rich well drained soil in intermediate light. They shoot in spring and flower in September.

PHALEONOPSIS If you get frost, plant above 2m. Use panty hose to tie the plant to a tree, planting the roots over coir matting. Spray with Kelpak or Seagrow. Water only each 3 months in winter.

CYMBIDIUM These are easy to grow and originate from the Himalayas. They need High light NOT shade A drop in temperature at night to 10 – 15 degrees will initiate flower spikes. Not too hot Lots of air movement TYPES TO LOOK FOR: KIWI CUTIE, INSIGNE, LAELIA ANCEPS (will grow on a tree) LAELIA GOULDIANA AUTUMNALIS a beautiful dark purple.

COELOGYNE CRISTATA White/beige with yellow lips. Cool growing orchids to grow outside in a pot, leave outside after summer. Flower spikes occur in July

REED STEM EPIDENDRUMS Heads of little flowers. White, pink, purple, red, orange and yellow. Grow up to 2m. Will flower for up to 18 months in the garden. Require well drained soil, dappled NOT full sun.

DENDROBIUM NOBILE (SOFT CANES) Can grow on a tree stump. Need no rain in winter, lots of light in winter. Stop watering in May Then water only 6 weekly. When buds appear water.

DENDROBIUM KINGIANUM Easy to grow. Grows to 30 cms and has a lovely perfume. Lots of sun, no water in winter.

DENDROBIUM SPECIOSUM Grows to 1m tall with 100 perfumed flowers per spike, in white and yellow.

ONCIDIUM SPHACELATUM (DANCING LADIES) Vigorous growers needing protection in the HighVeld winter. Produce a wonderful show with stems up to 1m long.

PAPHIOPEDILUM INSIGNE (SLIPPER ORCHID) Grow in tans, reds and yellows, very exotic. Flowers last up to 3 months and are 10 – 12 cms across.

PHALAENOPSIS Tropical orchids. Do not need sun. Need increased humidity. Stand on pebbles. Battle with cold air and dry cold winters.

REPLANTING ORCHIDS Use coconut husk as a medium and press down. Use polystyrene chunks for drainage and to stand the pot on. Do not water for 2 – 3 weeks. Then resume watering and fertilizing. Do not divide a plant heavily, they will take 5 years to flower.

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