Orchid Growing for Wimps
Ellen Zachos Offers Techniques, Tips

A Review by Rachel Bolduc

Title: Orchid Growing for Wimps
Author: Ellen Zachos
Publisher: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., New York
Date: 2002

Description: 128 pages, softcover, with many color illustrations and photos

ISBN: 0-8069-7935-6
List Price: $17.95

For the leery skeptic who has heard that orchids are hard to grow, Ellen Zachos takes the basics and simplifies them tenfold. Orchid Growing for Wimps is insightful and interesting, and makes learning about orchids easy to understand for gardener of any level of skill.

From basic background information to step-by-step instructions on how to water, fertilize, repot and get your orchid to bloom again, Zachos makes her reader feel confident enough to grow one of these beauties next to an African violet at home. Her choice of orchid profiles ranges from easy to more difficult varieties that can be grown in normal household conditions without too many lifestyle changes, and the charts providing light and water requirements are easy to read and understand.

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If you have ever entered a store or greenhouse and have been drawn to the orchids by their color, fragrance or shape, this book will persuade you to go ahead and try one at home. With a clear message, Ellen Zachos shouts, "It can be done. Anyone can grow orchids!"

A must-read if anyone has ever wanted to take home that exotic flowering plant in the store but has been afraid to do so.

From the Publisher:

Don't be afraid to grow orchids. You can have a green thumb in no time! It isn't hard if you have the proper information to do it right. Whether you received an orchid as a gift, have always admired them, or would like to get your to bloom again, you've come to the right place.

Once you learn how these lovely tropicals grow in nature, you'll see that not all of them are temperamental; in fact, many are easy to maintain! With a grounding in the basics of potting mixes, containers, and mounting orchids on a slab of bark or tree ferm fiber, move on to establishing a feeding and watering schedule with which both you and your plant can live.

Naturally you'd like to keep your orchid looking pretty and healthy. The 16 gorgeous varieties featured here--along with their care requirements--are easy to find and grow. Phalaenopsis, for example, are not fragile beauties. They may bloom continuously for months at a time and are available in a wide range of flower colors, including white, pink, yellow, deep rose, and striped. Or try Bassavola nodosa, commonly called the fragrant lady of the night! You'll know why as soon as you smell its complex, exotic perfume. Another perfect choice for beginners is Cattleya, a classic. If you ever wore or gave an orchid as a prom corsage, it was probably this one! They come in an assortment of rich hues, from billiant whites to vibrant magentas and soft lavenders.

Your success is further assured when you follow the advice on propagation, repotting, and preventing pests and diseases. Don't worry if you don't have ideal conditions at home--there are ways of getting around that, too such as artificial lights and orchid cases. Learn the great gardeners' tricks to further boost the bloosm, as well as how to divide and multiply plants.

You'll even find out which orchids are the difficult divas--the ones to avoid because they need careful temperature manipulation or daily misting and watering, and the orchids that are similar in appearance but less demanding and fussy.

There's no doubt about it, you can grow magnificent orchids.

About the Author

Ellen Zachos
s is the daughter of Kimon and Anne Zachos of Manchester, New Hampshire. Growing up, she'd do anything to avoid yard work. Now, her company Acme Plant Stuff designs, installs, and maintains commercial and residential interior and exterior gardens in New York City.

Ellen is a Harvard graduate, a horticulturist certified at the New York Botanical Garden, a garden writer, and photographer. She lectures at the New York Botanical Garden, the Horticultural Society of New York, and at garden events across the country. She is also a regular contributor to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's handbook series.

Rachel Bolduc is a professional florist, a co-owner of The Flower Kiosk in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.