Book Review: The Essential Guide to Growing Orchids in the Tropics

The Essential Guide to Growing Orchids in the Tropics
By Chia Tet Fatt & David Astley

A beautifully illustrated book, with colourful photographs showcasing the diversity of orchids, this is a book for the novice who wishes to know how to get started.
Launched at the 20th World Orchid Conference in Singapore in November 2011, The Essential Guide to Growing Orchids in the Tropics is written in layman language.

At the same time, the authors also introduce useful horticultural terms that one should know when cultivating orchids.

The pictures used in the book showcase the most attractive species and hybrids that can be found in nurseries. The reader is well advised to read the captions accompanying the numerous pictures carefully. The authors have scattered nuggets of useful tips and interesting facts in the captions throughout the book.

Overall, this book is concisely written with staple information for beginners. For example, how to choose a good orchid plant for growing at home, cultivation and nutritional needs of these plants, repotting and propagation, etc. Apartment growers will appreciate the section on the challenges of growing orchids in a high-rise environment and how to overcome them.

Notably, the authors have included information on orchid species that will thrive in the tropical lowlands (like in Singapore), and those in drier and cooler environments (such as in the highlands). Beginners who may not be familiar with the types of orchids that will thrive under local conditions will find this section useful, as cooler-climate orchids may sometimes be sold in local nurseries.

Also very helpful is the section on the range of organic pest and disease measures that one can employ. These measures will prove handy for the environmentally-conscious gardener, and people with pets and young children at home.

By Wilson Wong
You can get a copy of this book at the Singapore Botanic Gardens' retail shops: The Garden Shop and the Library Shop for $30 (inclusive of GST). Or, take part in our contest to win a copy!

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