Orchids are exotic plants that many gardeners insist are simple to grow.
Overwatering is the most common problem growers face, said Joan McCandless, owner of Lines Orchids on Signal Mountain.
McCandless, whose family has been in the orchid business for three generations, said most orchids need watering only every two weeks.
Her grandfather, Oliver Lines, learned to care for orchids in England on private estates, McCandless said. "He came to America in 1910 and continued his career on estates in Boston and Philadelphia. He was a founding member of the American Orchid Society."
Lines passed down his orchid skills to son John Lines, who moved to Signal Mountain in 1943 to work at Rivermont Orchids. Lines Orchids opened in 1947.
McCandless offers the following tips.
1. Though different varieties of orchids have their own blooming seasons, they can be grown year-round. There are more choices for ones that bloom in the spring, but you can find a blooming orchid any time of the year.
2. There are many mass producers with acres under glass. The science of cloning plants has made orchids the largest potted plant crop in the country. Phalaenopsis is a popular orchid that's typically available in many gardening stores. Phalaenopsis will stay in bloom for two to three months or longer.
3. The biggest problem people have with growing orchids is overwatering or allowing a plant to stand in a puddle of water. Orchids should be potted in containers with good drainage. Water every two weeks.
4. Orchids need as much light as you can give them without direct sun.
5. Use a balanced fertilizer once a month.
The Tennessee Valley Orchid Society is sponsoring an orchid exhibition Oct. 22-24. The free event will be at Outdoor Chattanooga, 200 River St., on the North Shore. The event will feature hundreds of blooming orchids, orchids for sale and advice on how to grow the plants.