M Y A D V I C E
If you’re asking for help online, or if you’re searching Google/YouTube for orchid-related help,
DON’T TAKE ORCHID-GROWING ADVICE FROM EVERYONE WHO OFFERS THEIR OPINION!
Be skeptical (but not disrespectful) about what information you take from others—a lot of people lack real experience, that or the advice they offer may not apply to your climate or the specific species or hybrid you are growing.
Follow This Checklist:
Before Taking Orchid-Growing Advice From a Fellow Grower…
- Ask yourself, “Are they even good at growing orchids?”
Aspire to be like good growers, not like “average growers.” I see LOTS of people wheeling and dealing their “expert advice” on forums, on Facebook groups and on YouTube—so many of them have average or bad-looking orchids. For example, they’re dehydrated, stunted, dropping leaves, etc. You want to take advice from people who know what they’re doing, which leads to my next point;
- Request to see a couple photos of their orchids and/or their growing area
“Photos as proof.” If they can’t back up what they’re saying…pay no attention to their advice. If they do show you their plants, look for signs of health and vigor, good leaves, hydrated roots, a HEALTHY plant… don’t just look for a spike or flowers. Did you know…if an orchid is in spike, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s thriving? Orchids will spike/flower to ensure the genetic lineage is preserved…even the most beat up, crappy looking plant will spike in an effort to save the species.
- Ask how long they’ve had their plant(s) for
It always makes me laugh when people dispense info about their experience with such-and-such orchid, and when I ask for a photo, it’s a flawless version of a recent store-bought orchid (still not repotted and in it’s original container). Then when I ask how long they’ve had it for, they say, “1 month.” HAA! Their advice on the topic of care for that orchid (unless they have others of the same species/hybrid) is irreverent because they don’t ACTUALLY know if their care is going to work out. Take advice from people who have had a plant for at least a year. Orchids grow really slowly; having an orchid for one month is like driving a motor bike once, and telling people how to drive their motor bike. The point…it’s not enough experience to be advising others.
- Make sure their climate and conditions are similar to yours
I have had so many people tell me, “I’m doing it wrong.” It happens so often, it makes me want to claw my eyes out every time I read it. I’ll tell you this…despite what others say about how I grow my orchids, if you put my plants up next to theirs—9 times out of 10, mine either look comparable or better than theirs. Further, if you live in a tropical place like say Mexico, your experience and advice on growing orchids is NOT applicable to someone growing in a condo or home where the humidity is 30%. Sure, it’s good to share experience, but it’s more valuable to make sure your contribution is helpful to the person you’re talking to.
- Figure out if they have experience with the situation you’re dealing with, or if they are just chiming in to be heard
Everyone wants to feel smart, and be helpful—it feeds the ego, right? But not everyone has the insight and understanding into YOUR orchid, your climate and your growing conditions. It’s comical how often I hear three different people give three opposite bits of advice all at the same time…and they can’t all be correct, can they? You gotta be a sleuth and get to the bottom of your orchid issues, and absorb information that’s relative, in order to solve your growing problems.
- Beware of the “Fact Junky”
This is the guy/gal who reads a lot about theoretical orchid care, but has little experience successfully growing orchids him/herself. These people will often comment with “fact bombs” to inform you, that you are wrong. These people will also often have shitty-looking orchids but will post photos of newly-purchased orchids in an attempt to garner “experiential points.” Rarely do these people offer any real experience in orchid culture and you can tell because their understanding of orchid culture is theoretical…and you know what they say about that right? “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”
- Last but not least, be appreciative (even if you don’t use their info)
If someone has taken time out of their day to give you insight, be thankful; all i’m suggesting is that you be selective about the advice you decide to follow. You want the best advice because it will help you become a better grower…anything else is just a distraction.
If you’re sharing your orchid care tips…
Make sure the recipient of said advice has similar conditions to yourself. If they grow in conditions different from yours, your miss-directed advice is potentially harmful and counter productive.
Looking for more quick tips on orchid care?
Read the 10 things I’ve learned in 10 years of growing orchids
BUT WAIT!!!! If you’re like…
“But guy, you just gave me advice, what about your orchids?!”
I’m so glad you asked…