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Care Instructions for a Chirita

These care instructions are written specifically for our chirita plants.  Other growers may have different care requirements for their plants based on how they have grown their chiritas.  But if you have a Brennan’s Orchids chirita, these rules will help you keep it happy and robust.

Rule No. 1:  Let the planting medium lightly dry between waterings.  Chiritas can survive a short drought, but they don’t recover from drowning.  Use lukewarm or tepid water when watering because cold water can cause unsightly marks to appear on the leaves.  Nobody enjoys a cold shower.  Do not let the plant sit in water, it must be well drained.  Chiritas are among the easiest houseplants to grow and are certainly among the most forgiving of neglect, but it does not like sopping wet feet.

Rule No. 2:  Give the plant the proper light.  Morning or soft late afternoon light is best.  That means an East, West, or shaded South-facing window. Avoid direct sun during the harsh “skin cancer” hours of the day.

Rule No. 3:  Regular meals all year long, please.  Fertilize every other watering.  Use a fertilizer with a balanced formula (10-10-10 or 20-20-20) mixed at ¼ to ½ the usual strength.  Chiritas can suffer from too much fertilizer, so it is much better to underfeed rather than overfeed.

Rule No. 4:  Your plant is potted in a peat potting mix but any soil-less mix will be fine.  Repot when the plant has filled its current pot.  Increase the pot size by the smallest increment possible.  Avoid deep pots; they will hold too much moisture.   Moisten the new mix before planting.  Pot the chirita so that the mix is firmly in the pot but still airy. 

Rule No. 5:   Remove spent flowers.  In particular, do not let spent blossoms drop onto the leaves and lay there.  This will invite rot and disease.  Remove old, yellowed, or unhealthy leaves.  A clean plant is better able to remain pest and disease free.  If you use anything to cut leaves or stems, please sterilize the instrument first.

Rule No. 6:  Chiritas can tolerate wide temperature swings, often surviving anywhere from 45 to 85 degrees.  For optimal results, it is best to grow your chirita in the range between 60 and 80 degrees.