Brooklyn Orchids

The Best “Little” Orchid Blog Online?

The following guest post is an interview with Sarah Heiman, orchid care expert and author of the very popular (and extremely well-written) blog about orchids, Brooklyn Orchids which I highly recommend you check out.

Sarah Heiman, Brooklyn Orchids

Sarah has a fascinating story about how she first got into orchids (as well as some very helpful advice – especially if you grow orchids in a small space) so I asked if she wouldn’t mind sharing with you :-)

It All Started with…

Ryan: So Sarah, why don’t we start by telling us how did you first get into growing orchids?

Sarah: I went to my first orchid show on a whim in 2009. I read in Time Out New York that the New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show was ending soon and I thought it would be a fun adventure to go up to the Bronx and explore. At the show, I absolutely fell in love with the orchids and took a million (okay, probably more like a couple hundred) photos. I was amazed by the crazy amount of variety in the flowers, and after the show I started to read up on orchids online.

The orchid bug had bit me… hard.

Phal Bastianii

A couple weeks after the orchid show I went to the cherry blossom festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and made my way to the garden shop, where I bought my very first orchid. It was a cute little pink-and-white striped Phalaenopsis.

Not long after that I bought my second orchid, a pretty yellow Phal with a magenta lip, from a Manhattan greenmarket vendor. Both of those orchids died pretty quickly because I didn’t know how to care for them properly, but I was still hooked.

And Your Favorite Orchid Is?…

Ryan: I love that story! I’m curious, what’s your favorite orchid and why?

Sarah: I think I have to say Zygopetalums. Any Zygopetalum, really—I’m not too picky. My favorite color is purple, and Zygo’s purple-brown-and-green striped flowers just get me every time. And the fragrance! It’s so strong and unexpected. I only have one Zygo in my collection and I’m just dying to get it to bloom. (Fingers crossed for it, please!)

Ryan: So, tell us… How many orchids do you have currently?

Orchids in Apartment

Sarah: I have 42 orchids at the moment. That’s a lot of orchids for a Brooklyn apartment! Only four of my orchids are currently in bloom, with a fifth that’s in spike. Most of my orchids are growing in my “orchid room,” which is a sort of makeshift greenhouse. (see below)

It’s a 6’ x 8’ room that conveniently has a large window and a glass-paneled door. Fortunately, I live on the top floor of a brownstone and my orchid room gets southern exposure, so it’s a good place to grow orchids. I don’t have a fancy setup—just a cheap wooden Ikea shelf and a small humidifier from the drugstore.

An Orchid Tip You Can Use Today…

Ryan: Okay, so give us something good: What’s one of the best orchid tips or tricks you’ve picked up along the way, that you think would be helpful to share with folks?

Sarah: Practice patience with your orchids and they will reward you. On a more tangible note, one of the most important things I’ve learned is that you should repot an orchid when you first get it. I didn’t do that with my first two orchids, and they died on me rather quickly. Repotting immediately really helps you troubleshoot any issues that may going on with the orchid and can prevent problems down the line.

Repotting may feel like a pain in the butt to do, but it can lengthen your orchid’s lifespan if you take care of any issues right away.

The Best “Little” Blog About Orchids…

Ryan: Tell us about your website. What made you decide to start your blog about orchids?

Sarah: Boredom and too much time on my hands, to be honest! I’ve always loved writing, and when I got laid off from my marketing job at the end of 2009 I ended up with plenty of free time.

I started talking to my friends about how much I loved orchids, and a couple of them asked me for advice on how to care for them. At that point I figured, “Why not start a blog about orchids?”

Brooklyn Orchids Screenshot

I thought it’d be a great way for me to organize my burgeoning knowledge of these plants while sharing my awe of them and practicing my writing. I didn’t expect anyone other than my mom and my boyfriend to actually read my blog, but once I created a Twitter account and started gathering followers, people I’d never met began reading and commenting on my blog.

It was really great encouragement to hear that people found my posts and photos helpful. I have some really great readers out there, and I’d like to thank them for all their support and kind words.

Any Last Words?

Ryan: Laura and I are big fans of your blog as well! So as we wrap things up, is there anything else you want to share?

Sarah: I hope to have a yard someday so that I can build a legitimate greenhouse instead of growing in a spare room. And I have to say that I’m no expert on orchids; I’m still relatively new to the hobby, and I’m learning more about them every day. Of course, I’ve killed my fair share of orchids (RIP, beautiful friends)—it happens to all of us.

I like think of my blogging about orchids as earning an unofficial degree: Master of Orchids, maybe?

Whatever you want to call it, this obsession of mine is here to stay.


Sarah Heiman is a writer and orchid lover who lives in Brooklyn, New York – where she has a collection of 42 orchids (and growing) in her small urban apartment. To get in touch with Sarah and learn more about her exciting orchid adventures, check out her blog by visiting http://www.bklynorchids.com.

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