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Fragrant orchids

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It's amazing the number and types of orchids to choose from. In the last 10 to 20 years there's been an explosion in interest in orchid growing and you can get them anywhere, from a garden center to a grocery store.

They are all pretty, but you do have to be careful about what ones you get. Some are harder to grow than others. I always steer people towards the moth orchids. So named because the flowers look like little moths. They range in flower color from white to pink to red and, what's really nice about them, is they bloom for months and months.

I've had them bloom for 6 months at a time. They often take a break for a few months in summer. They also branch out making for more flowers.

To grow moth orchids, have indoor temperatures around 70 degrees during the day and in the low 60s at night. You want to put them on a petal tray with some water so the humidity stays high. Place the orchids in a window that gets some Eastern sun. They like bright light, but not direct sun. Keep the soil slightly moist, but not over watered. If you overeater them the flowers just shrivel up so you know that you're doing it wrong.

If you're into a little challenge, there are some fragrant orchids, too. Most people don't think of orchids as having a scent, but this one is one of my favorites, it's called Dancing Ladies, and the variety name is 'Sherry Baby'. The flowers are so delicate and it has a beautiful, chocolate smell  It blooms on these three foot long flower stalks and they'll just perfume a room. It needs a little bit more moisture and a little more light than the moth orchids, but its another one that you can grow indoors relatively easily.

Another one is cross between the dancing ladies and the Miltonia orchid. This orchid has got more of a citrusy smell. Some people think it smells like a mix of raspberry and chocolate. It has a beautiful flower that will last for a number of months and bloom more towards the spring than the winter. You can have these bloom for one or two months in a row and again they'll have that beautiful  fragrance when there is little else that's scented in your house!

By Charlie Nardozzi

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