Are orchids toxic to pets?

One of my readers asked me recently whether orchids were toxic to pets. It is an interesting question. Most of us will have at least one orchid, and maybe one or two pets as well, so it is useful to know the answer to this question.

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Caring for sick orchids

Once in a while orchids can become sick. Last year, I rescued some that were sick and have successfully nursed them back to health. However, last month my Miltoniopsis ‘World Cup’ orchid succumbed to root rot because it was not discovered in time to save the orchid.

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Learning from this experience, and using my knowledge on caring for sick orchids will help in future. Let’s face it, it will happen to us all at some stage in this hobby. It can be upsetting, but it can also be an opportunity for us to learn.

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Orchids and the practice of mindfulness

Most of us have heard the term ‘mindfulness’ in one form or another in the last couple of years. It can be used as a technique to help alleviate stress and anxiety.

If you conduct a Google search, some of the results link mindfulness with meditation, which makes sense; it’s a similar kind of practice.

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What is mindfulness?

“A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

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Orchid Keikis

It’s time to tackle another new term: keiki (pronounced Kay-kee). In a previous post I briefly mentioned keikis but did not go into too much detail about them.

From the Hawaiian for ‘baby’, a keiki is a way for some orchids to create a copy of themselves. Keikis are normally produced by Dendrobium or Phalaenopsis orchids as a way for them to ensure their survival. These tiny plants develop from a node (an area from which leaves, or flowers grow) on the parent plant. A keiki is an exact copy of the parent plant when it reaches maturity.

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Phalaenopsis Orchids: flower spikes

This is the time of year that Phalaenopsis orchids should start to produce flower spikes. The cooler temperatures signal that the orchid can put energy into creating flowers for reproduction. The flowers do not take very long to develop, can last for months, and vary in colour, shape and size.

But what happens when our Phalaenopsis appear to be doing very little? You may have bought an orchid which lost its blooms and now does not seem to want to do anything. Commercially grown orchids like the Phalaenopsis are encouraged to bloom at specific times of the year by companies for profits. This can sometimes work against the orchids natural annual cycles.

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Monopodial vs. Sympodial orchids

With a shiny new Glossary page, it’s time to start tackling some of the terms listed on it. The first of which will be ‘Monopodial’ and ‘Sympodial’. These two terms refer to an orchids growth pattern, and there are distinct differences between them.

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