Big Ben – The Rescue Orchid!

I wasn’t going to buy another Orchid just yet…!

…and believe me I had been tempted with all the amazing ones out at the moment showing off their blooms!!

However, we were in Wilkinsons the other day and amongst their ‘reduced to clear’ items were 3 orchids at the bargain price of £2.50 each! I had a look at them and all seemed to be in pretty good condition apart from the blooms having dropped from all but one of them.

Should I buy one? The price was great, of course, but the main consideration was 1. Where would I put the orchid and 2. This was no miniature like my other orchids – this plant was full size! Could I handle it!!?

Careful consideration duly made over a coffee in Caffe Nero we returned to Wilkinsons and picked out what we were now calling our ‘rescue orchid’. I went for the one that looked the healthiest and would be a contrast colour to my other orchids.

As the orchid was pretty dried out the first thing to do was to get the plant out of the pot, have a look at the roots and change the orchid mix.

The fallen blooms seem to suggest that the flowers were originally a dark purple colour with some nice markings – we’ll see!

Getting the existing mix off this orchid was not an easy job! The plant came out of the pot easily enough but when I started to clear away the mix there was a ‘column’ of other material inside a white plastic cage which I eventually had to get a pair of scissors to!

I managed to get all the roots free eventually and the majority of them looked in pretty good condition. I cut off any of the roots which looked dead, removed a couple of small leaves and cut down the flower spike. I sprinkled some cinnamon onto any of the cut parts as it acts as a natural fungicide.

So, onto the fresh mix! After putting a layer of mix in the bottom of the original pot (which was still good) I carefully placed the orchid roots in the pot packing more moistened orchids mix around them. I managed to bury all of the roots. I also gave the leaves a clean so they can absorb as much sunlight as they feel fit!

I found a nice white plant pot we usually use for bought herbs and re-purposed it as it fitted the new orchid perfectly!

After only having experience of miniature orchids this new addition seemed huge! You can see from the pictures the comparison between the plants (Julie is being the miniature model in the picture below).

If you have read any of my other orchid posts you’ll realise that we have given names to our other two orchids. So, of course, this new addition also needed a title!

Al came up with a brilliiant one ‘Big Ben’ – both because of the orchid’s size and also as Big Ben in London has recently been silenced to allow some work to be done to the Elizabeth Tower. Very tropical…er, topical!

The only thing remaining was to find a location to put the new orchid. In a small house this is a difficult decision!! I decided not to put Big Ben near Julie and Sandra yet, just in case he has any diseases (god forbid!) that might spread. As the ‘girls’ seem to be thriving on their window-sill I picked the bathroom window-sill which is facing in the same direction.

So he’s not lonely Big Ben is joined by a little jade Buddha we bought ages ago.

So, we will see what happens with Big Ben! Hopefully he will survive as he seems a good healthy plant. I will include his progress in my usual monthly update posts about my other orchids which is due soon!


Take advantage of cinnamon fungicide control by making a cinnamon spray for plants. Stir some cinnamon into warm water and allow it to steep overnight. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter and put the results into a spray bottle. Spray the stems and leave of affected plants, and mist the potting soil in plants that have a mushroom problem.