do you want to know how to care for orchids?
Growing orchids in the home:
If you grow houseplants, you already know how to care for orchids.
Orchids are one of the modern houseplants that are easy to take
care of with just light, house temperatures, water and
a little fertilizer. They are such beautiful gifts of God!
There are more types of orchids throughout the world
than any other plants. All the different types give the gardener a wide selection of forms
The orchids suitable for home
culture are; Phalaenopsis, Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Paphiopedilums, Oncidiums and Cymbidiums
Beautiful cattleya orchids.
to care for orchids
When you start out with orchids, buy
Many orchids take several years
before they flower. With mature plants you can enjoy their beautiful flowers
without waiting for years.
Phalaenopsis are an exception; they
flower while they are very young. But even a young phalaenopsis may take a year
before they flower.
So, to be safe, purchase orchid
plants that are already flowering.
Correct watering is the most
important part of how to care for orchids.
Follow the 1, 2 and 3 of watering orchids:
- Water early
in the day to prevent leaf diseases. Moisture on the leaves during cool
night temperatures can cause leaf diseases.
Take special care when watering
phalaenopsis to not get water down in the crown where the leaves attach
together. This may cause crown rot and the eventual demise of the plant.
- Water until
you see water coming out of the bottom of the pot.
Thorough watering will flush the
extra salts out of the pot. Salt build-up in the pot may cause the roots to
After you have watered, wait until
the extra water had drained out of the pot. Then pick up the pot and feel how
heavy it is.
Give the plant a chance to dry out
before you water again.
- Don't water
again until the potting medium is dry on top. The pot should feel light,
compared to how heavy it was after watering last time.
If the roots stay constantly wet, they will rot and
die. This is so important in learning how to care for orchids!
Not enough water is better than, too
Epiphyte and terrestrial orchids differently
The epiphyte orchids grow hanging
onto tree trunks, branches or on rocks. They have developed a root system that
can store water. This type of orchid needs to dry out between waterings.
The cattleya and dendrobium orchids
have an enlarged stem, called a pseudobulb to store water. They must dry out
completely between waterings.
Phalaenopsis, also live in trees.
The do not have an enlarged stem, but their roots can store extra water. Let
the top of their potting mix dry, but they will still have moisture down in the
Terrestrial orchids in the wild grow
on the ground. They have a finer root system that is unable to store extra
water. They need to stay a bit moist at all times, but not soppy wet. Lady
Slippers are a terrestrial orchid.
much water is a common cause of orchid death.
Light is the second most important
item of how to take care of orchids.
Lady Slippers grow in low light.
Orchids need light to make them grow
A lack of light means not enough food to produce the beautiful
- East and
south facing windows are good for growing orchids.
- Growing orchids need bright,
them at or near a window, in a porch, patio or in a sun room.
In nature they grow in or under
trees in dappled sunlight. Rarely would you find them growing in the direct
Our homes provide the diffused light
get too hot and may cause the plant to burn.
Cattleyas require a lot of light.
Orchids need light to grow, so more is better? Not necessarily, too much light can cause damage.
Only use west windows that have an
awnings or shade cloth.
The danger of too much hot sun is
that the plant will transpire (evaporate water from the leaves) in an effort to
If the orchid plant can't keep up or
if it runs out of water, the leaves will burn.
The only orchid maybe, safe to grow
in a west window would be a dendrobium orchid or the mule-ear type of oncidium
because they have heavy leaves.
Use an orchid fertilizer once a month
during the warm growing months.
Orchid fertilizer is good or use a regular 10-10-10 fertilizer.
- Orchids growing in bark should get a
weak strength fertilizer every watering.
- Make sure there is moisture around the roots before applying fertilizer.
- If the plant is dry, water it one day and fertilize the next day.
When the plant is dry,
the fertilizer will be too strong and burn the orchid's roots.
Fertilizer is called "plant
food" but it is just actually salts and minerals. Plants pick up water and
minerals (fertilizer) through the roots, but they require carbohydrates for
The carbohydrates (food) for the
plant are produced in the leaves of the plant by photosynthesis. Photosynthesis
only works only in the presence of light.
Dendrobium orchids are good cut flowers.
for Growing Orchids
Orchids like the same temperatures
people enjoy, 60-80 degrees. That makes growing orchids in the home easy.
- 65-75 day / 55-60 night - These are great temperatures for cattleyas, dendrobiums, oncidiums
and hybrid paphiopedilums.
- 70-85 day /
- Phalaenopsis, vandas, and tropical paphiopedilums like these temperatures.
Keep the orchids that like it warmer away from the
window, so they get the warmth from the room.
Move your phalaenopsis away from the
windows at night time, if you live where there are cold winters.
- 50-55 night / 60-70 day - Many orchids will not flower properly, if the
temperature is maintained below 60 degrees.
However, paphiopedilums (Lady
Slippers) and cymbidiums are cooler growing orchids. They would be happy at
During the winter keep the cool loving orchids growing
near the window glass. They like the cool temperatures to promote
Even during summer nights move your
Lady Slippers up close to the glass to enjoy the cooler temperatures.
Phalaenopsis orchids are easy to grow indoors
The light and temperatures of our homes make Phalaenopsis orchid care easy.
A semi-alba Phalaenopsis
Phalaenopsis is very popular. We find them in all the garden stores, building supplies and even in Walmart.
People call the 'Phals' for short. They are a wonderful gift from God. They are the easiest orchid to grow in our homes.
Phaleanopsis may also be called
When they were
first seen in the jungle, they looked like white moths fluttering in the
breeze. Hence the term "Moth Orchid" came into being.
Modern white Phals have been refined
and bred up in size. Their white flowers and plants are large compared to another
Now-a-days we can get Phalaenopsis orchids in a
variety of colors and sizes.
- The stunning semi-alba has white
petals with red lips.
- There are beautiful pinks, from
light to dark pink, even yellows.
- The intergeneric cross of a Phal
with a doritis is called a doritaenopsis. It has slightly smaller flowers that come in hot pink colors. They bloom a bit later than the Phals
extending the flower season well into summer.
- There are Phals with spots,
splashes, blotches and blushes in all sorts of colors.
- Miniature Phals have been available
the past few years. They can fit comfortably on a windowsill.
A stunning French-spots Phalaenopsis
re-potting is part of how to care for orchids
- Orchid plants in bark require
repotting about every year. Soak the bark in water for an hour
or two before potting.
Orchids in sphagnum moss are good for
about three years. Wet the moss before using it and squeeze out the extra water.
Young Phalaenopsis that are still growing should be repotted
Sphagnum moss is my favorite.
Potting is usually done in the
summer after they are finished flowering.
Orchids will be growing during the warm months. That way the roots will grow and establish into the new potting medium.
Take the plant out of the pot and
remove all potting medium, wash the roots under running water to remove the
last bits of medium. Cut off any broken or rotted roots.
the plant in a clean pot with
plenty of drain holes.
It's best is to use an orchid pot that has holes
on the sides of the pot. Then the air can get in around the roots.
Pack the potting medium firmly
around the roots. Water the plant. When the pot feels light, it's time for the regular watering.
Phalaenopsis orchid care is one of
my hobbies. Painting is another of my hobbies.
This painting is of a Phal in
a clay pot. I liked the complimentary colors of the clay pot.
Phals actually are happier in
plastic or glazed ceramic pots because they hold the moisture better. They dry
out too fast in terracotta pots.
During painting, I was thinking about wild Phals in
the jungle and how they look like white flying moths.
So, this painting is named
Growing and caring for orchids has
been one of my passions for many years. They bring so much joy.
Learning how to care for orchids are so rewarding!