Need Zen? Get an Orchid Plant.

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I went through a ridiculous amount of self-doubt in writing this short piece. “What parent has time to stop everything and arrange an orchid plant?! This is dumb!” and so forth. I came full circle in my thoughts and arrived at my original conclusion when I remembered the dog had exploded poop everywhere just hours earlier.

Get Zen with OrchidsWe all need an orchid plant. We all need a place for our eyes to land when cleaning said poop. Or something to care for that won’t speak to you in “that” tone. Orchids can also be feisty but you needn’t be afraid. The kids were having a particularly whiny day when we arranged our orchids. We were partly to blame for teaching them to whine in the first place and maybe we didn’t have lunch on the table at the “right” time. Did I mention dog poop? We finally did feed the children (not dog poop). Then we packed their whiny selves in the car and hit the road for Trader Joe’s (cheapest shop I’ve found for orchids), silently cursing the lack of a TJ’s in north Austin.

Orchid DIY SuppliesIn order to arrange your own orchid plant and to carve out a little Zen in your life, you will need something resembling the following:

  • An orchid plant (important if you like to follow rules)
  • A container for your plant (nice to dress up your new friend)
  • String, twine, raffia, thread etc. (very important if you want to step it up)
  • Moss or other pretty filler (people will be asking what florist arranged your orchids) Found at your floral wholesaler or craft store.
  • Smooth rocks (Stop it! You are so Zen.)
  • Sticks or blooming branches (Who are you?! You are the kind of parent that goes for nature walks looking for branches to completely transform your life via orchid plant.)


Ok, so now that you’ve taken a week to garner the supplies, you’re ready to begin!


  1. Orchid DIY Action ShotPull the orchid out of the ceramic pot it came in all the while keeping the plant in it’s thin, clear plastic container (yes, you could take it out of that also but not necessary) Place in a vessel of your choosing. Use any old rock to keep it in place. One rock on each side of the plant should do just fine.
  2. Trim your found blooming branch to an appropriate height, keeping in mind the curve of the orchid stem and curve of the branch.
  3. Remove wooden stakes and butterfly clips carefully. Do not lose your cool when it looks like you’ve ruined your beautiful plant.
  4. Push the stick or branch down in the existing holes and use butterfly clips to hold it in place.
  5. Remove clips and use twine or something of the like to secure the blooming branch to each of the orchid stems. I used a bit of green thread finished off with a tiny clump of moss. Your older child could help you with this step.
  6. Get your kids involved by letting them add moss around the leaves of the potted plant. This will be messy. You’ve been warned.
  7. Add a few rocks.
  8. Lastly, have your kiddo carefully wipe down each leaf of the plant.

Place your plant in an east facing window. Give it a tepid soak once a week and you’re done. Also, please see the American Orchid Society for actual tips and useful knowledge on how to keep your plant alive and help it thrive.

Obvious notes.

The orchid is the main star. All of the other is just filler. If anything, go to the store and buy yourself a plant that will make you happy.

Less obvious notes.

Orchid  Zen Finished DIY ProjectChoose a plant that has several blooms and many buds; you are giving yourself the gift of prolonged beauty. You are also telling yourself that you can and will keep this plant alive.

The blooming branch will not be blooming for long. In fact, the flowers will shrivel up fairly soon after being clipped. If the decaying process is as fascinating and beautiful to you as it is to me, then you will enjoy this aspect of your newly dressed plant. You may want to redress your orchid as you see fit. If you have no time for stem dressing, then leave the original stakes in there and just spiff it up with some moss and rocks and call it done.

I know I’ve asked a lot here. I’ve asked you to care for one.more.thing. But really, what’s one more thing? Something fresh, and not of the diaper variety, is such an indulgence around here.

We could all use a little more pretty.

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  1. Shala Howell says:

    I used to grow orchids back in the day. Having the right kind of light is super important for keeping orchids happy. Also you’re supposed to water the roots until the roots turn green. You can either do this by leaving the plant under running water for a very long time (10 minutes or so) — or simply place a few ice cubes on their roots. As the ice slowly melts, the roots soften, allowing the orchids to absorb the water they need. Much less water waste. ENJOY!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks for your comment! Yes we have always used the iced cube trick too. I just learned about the soak! I’m going to give that a go and see if I have better success with longevity and reblooming.

    • Mary says:


      Check out the book Unexpected Houseplant by Tovah Martin. It is a monster of a coffee table book that I have neatly on the kindle app. I wish I had both copies. :) It is a beautiful and comprehensive book that is sure to inspire you.

  2. Shonda says:

    Orchids are my favorite flower. I’ve never considered having them in my home. However, I do use them for special events and dinner parties.

    • Mary says:

      They are some of my favorites also. The selection at my wholesalers and grocery stores just keeps better and better. It was in working at an Event Florist that I learned the simplicity, ease, and joy of orchid arrangements.

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