Top Tips for Raising Healthy Orchids

While orchids may be intimidating for some, they are not as hard to grow as you think. There are a variety of orchids and there is most likely an orchid that fits your growing conditions, making raising indoor orchids easy.

Choose the Right Variety

Phalaenopsis 'Pandora'

A lovely phalaenopsis, also known as moth orchid.

The best way to be successful when you are raising an orchid is to choose the right one. Determine how much light you have available, the typical temperature of the area and the available humidity. Moth orchids or Phalaenopsis are usually a sure bet. They require medium to low light and are very popular for growing indoors. They will thrive in moderate temperatures in an east or west facing window.  Oncidiums and Dendrobiums are ideal for growing indoors as well, but they require medium to high light. They prefer their light bright and indirect.

Potting Medium

Orchids are unique from other plants because they require very specific potting medium. You can find orchid mixes at garden retailers. Typically these mixes are made out of bark, but they can also be made of sphagnum moss. How much water and what type of potting medium an orchid needs can be determined by how it looks. If the orchid has large pseudobulbs, which are large swollen roots, it should be potted in bark and watered less frequently. When orchids lack pseudobulbs they should be watered more frequently or planted in sphagnum moss.

Water

Because bark based potting medium doesn’t absorb water quickly, there is a specific method for watering orchids planted in these special mixes. Set the entire container in a waterproof bowl that is larger than the plant container. Pour water into the container and allow it to flow out into the bowl. Once the bowl is full of water allow the container to sit for 10-15 minutes. This will help the bark absorb the water so that it will be available for the orchid. If you set the container in water rather than watering it in the bowl, the bark is likely to float away. Getting it wet first will help it stay in place. When you lift the container out of the water let all of the water run out of the container. Sphagnum moss simply requires a thorough soaking.

Depending on the type of orchid and the type of container, orchids will require water at varying intervals. You may have to experiment a bit. Be sure to allow the potting medium to dry before adding water. You will most likely need to water your orchid every five to seven days.

Humidity

In addition to water, orchids love high humidity. Most species are native to moist forests and require humid environments. Some orchids will enjoy being misted while others will require a humidifier close by. You can also place an orchid on top a gravel filled tray with a bit of water in the bottom. Providing enough humidity may be one of the toughest parts of growing an orchid.

Fertilizer

Orchids will benefit from a liquid fertilizer applied during the growing season, which is typically spring and summer. You can also try misting your orchid with fish emulsion or seaweed for added nutrients.

Repotting

Orchids do not like to be repotted. Only disturb your orchid if the potting medium has decomposed too much and does not allow effective drainage or roots are growing out of the pot.

Variety

There are over 30,000 species of orchids in the world. Many produce beautiful flowers annually and are a lovely addition to indoor landscapes. By choosing the right species and caring for it well, you can enjoy long lasting blossoms year after year.

What is your favorite species of orchid?

 

Sources
“How to Grow Orchids Indoors.” Better Homes and Gardens.
“How to Grow Orchids.” Gardener’s Supply Company.
 Image: “Phalaenopsis ‘Pandora’” by Roger Fenton

Melanie is a plant enthusiast and expert contributor at Bromeliads.info and OrchidPlantCare.info. Melanie's experience in internet marketing, business management, and horticulture allows her to bring a unique perspective to the community. Melanie received a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership from Purdue University and is the Marketing Director at NewPro Containers.

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