Hi, and welcome to Caring For Orchids. If you’re anything like me I’m sure you have admired these amazing, exotic and beautiful flowers for a while.
You may have heard that growing orchids is hard and only for the very rich or very skilled grower. But your curiosity got the better of you finally, and you’re seriously thinking taking the plunge anyway.
Well I have good news! Orchids are not that difficult to grow. True, they are very different from regular house plants. But once you get hold of the easy orchid growing tips that follow, you will soon be growing your own amazing orchids.
I want to warn you though, once you start growing orchids, there’s a good chance you will catch orchid fever. There is no known cure for this strange disease. There is only one effective treatment and that is to grow more orchids.
So who am I? Well, my name is Steve and I have been involved in agriculture and horticulture for over 20 years, first as a commercial grower and now as a hobbyist.
In addition to orchids I grow Nepenthes and other carnivorous plants. I also raise koi and seahorses. I love the exotic and unusual and orchids are no exception.
So I started this website to help new orchid lovers everywhere learn to grow and care for orchids successfully and get them off to a quick start.
I have tried to keep things as simple and non technical as possible on Caring For Orchids to help avoid information overload.
Caring For Orchids – Overview
The idea that growing orchids is difficult has been around for a while. Where it came from I’m not exactly sure but it is totally unfounded. This idea may have been true long ago, but nowadays horticulture has advanced to the point where just about anyone can grow beautiful and amazing orchids.
Today there are more than 25,000 species and over 100,000 hybrids that have been developed to meet specific grower needs. Realistically, anyone can find an orchid that will fit into their lifestyle, budget and level of skill as a horticulturist.
How To Grow Orchids – Easier Than You Think
Most types of orchids require no more work than any other house or garden plant. Although most orchids are simple to care for, they do have specific needs. Most problems stem from treating them like regular garden or house plants.
Learning How To Take Care Of Orchids
The first step in caring for orchids is to find out what the growing requirements are for that specific type of orchid. That way you will know if you can meet its needs and be successful with it. It goes without saying that you should do this before buying it. However I know sometimes we just wind up with one, especially after a wedding or other affair.
The type of orchid you received as a gift, took home from a wedding or bought from the store is most likely to be a Phalaenopsis. These are the popular white or purple orchids that you are most familiar with seeing. They are available most everywhere due to the fact that they are easy orchids to care for. These are commonly called moth orchids as the flowers somewhat resemble a moth or butterfly.
If you are planning to go out and buy an orchid, it’s a good idea to do some basic orchid research beforehand. In this day of huge chain store conglomerates there’s a really good chance the salesperson will be just that, a salesperson, and not be really familiar with your plant or caring for orchids.
Few plants can produce such a delicate and beautiful bloom as the exotic looking orchid. It is one of the reasons they are so popular as house plants and with hobbyists. If you take good care of your orchid, you will be rewarded with beautiful and often fragrant blooms.
Some types of orchids will bloom for at least three months if they are taken care of correctly. There are even some orchid types that bloom almost continually.
Lighting Is Important For Growing Orchids
Your orchid will require bright but also diffused light to grow well. Too much strong, direct sun will harm the leaves. A window on the eastern side of your home is an excellent place for your orchid. You can also use fluorescent lights as a substitute for natural sunlight or to augment it. This gives you the freedom to place orchids just about anywhere in your home.
Even with fluorescent lighting you still want to limit exposure to normal daylight hours. Bear in mind most orchids are tropical and areas near the equator receive 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. By using a simple timer you can easily control the amount of light your orchids receive.
Temperature And Humidity – Important Factors In Orchid Growing
Orchids thrive in temperatures that are above 55 degrees Fahrenheit but no higher than 8o degrees. Fortunately most homes or offices meet these requirements. When temperatures hit 90 degrees, orchids will start to lose their buds or will stop blooming at all. Since they are tropical they also will start to decline as temperature drops below 55. It’s a good idea to avoid placing orchids near heating or air conditioning vents if possible.
It is important, when caring for orchids to maintain high humidity and to make sure that the orchid stays moist. But be careful not to over water the roots because it can kill the blooms. Water the plant about every 5 to 7 days. To help keep the humidity up place your orchid in a rock filled tray of water. But make sure that the roots remain above the water level in the tray. Otherwise your orchid will constantly be wet. Too much water can result in fungal and root rot problems.
Taking Care Of Orchids – Keep Them Blooming
One tip for caring for orchids that will help you keep your orchid in bloom for as long as possible is to fertilize the plant before it blooms. Once it is done blooming you don’t need to fertilize it any longer. Another tip to extending your orchid’s bloom is to carefully prune the orchid while it is blooming. You will then be able to see a second set of flowers develop.
Caring For Orchids – Summary
As you can see, caring for orchids is not terribly difficult. In fact, once you know what they require, orchid care can be pretty easy. Just by providing the right amount of light, moisture and fertilizer, you will own a healthy,beautiful orchid plant that will thrive and display full, rich sprays of flowers throughout its blooming season. Growing orchids can become habit forming and once you start caring for orchids you wont want to stop.