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Easy Orchids

Easy Orchids
Liz Johnson
Firefly Books,
Publication Date: 

paper, 144 p., $19.95

Liz Johnson, a professional English orchid grower, has written this book from the viewpoint of growing orchids as houseplants. Showing off some beautiful home displays, her chapters on culture, insects and diseases, and propagation are clearly expressed and factual.

The major portion of this book is an A to Z directory of both common and unusual cultivars presented with directions on temperature, light, watering, humidity, feeding, potting, and after flowering care. Each plant description is accompanied by a beautifully clear photograph of its flowers, and often repetitious advice on each cultivar of the same species.

Having grown orchids in my greenhouse for many years, I kept calling this book "Uneasy Orchids" no matter how well I liked what Johnson had to say. I know from growing some of them that orchids need certain temperatures and humidity levels, difficult to maintain in a home or greenhouse. It seems to be me her recipe for inducing flowers from a recalcitrant orchid, "to reduce temperatures by 10 degrees for four weeks," is a little hard to comply with, but then English homes are cooler than ours.

Nevertheless, Easy Orchids, aimed at the casual grower, gives concise, pertinent, practical information in an easy to find format.

— Adele Kleine, volunteer, Master Gardener, and contributing writer to Chicagoland Gardening magazine