Flowers Gardens and Outdoors

How to Grow and Care for Orchids

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Orchids are some of the most popular indoor potted plants and are known for having more specific requirements when it comes to growing conditions. This is definitely not your usual houseplant, but don’t worry because once you get the hang of the basics, you should be able to easily take care of your beautiful orchid. This is a delicate exotic flower that doesn’t grow in soil in its natural environment. Orchids prefer attaching themselves to the bark of trees although some species are semi-terrestrial.

1. Types of Orchids

Considering how there are more than 22,000 species of orchids in the world, it’s important to better understand that not orchids have the same needs. Depending on the type, orchids will have different shapes, sizes, colors, and come with specific care requirements. There are also countless hybrid plants that you can find in stores to purchase. Despite the impressive level of variety, there are two main types of orchids – moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) and cane orchids (Dendrobium).

The large moth orchids group includes the most common orchids you will find. Thanks to its less demanding care requirements, this orchid type is ideal for beginners. It shows off beautiful blooms for a long period of time resulting in a stylish contrast with the thick leaves. Cane orchids have a different look compared to the moth variety. They have small flowers growing on thick canes and narrow leaves. The Dendrobium group is native to Southeast Asia and has more individual species as opposed to the Phalaenopsis variety.

2. Ideal Orchid Pot

If you plan on growing orchids indoors, it’s important to choose the right container. Orchids are a bit different compared to other plants as their roots like a certain degree of freedom and tend to grow outside the pot. By ensuring that roots stay in good health, you will be able to grow healthy orchids. When choosing a pot, you need to make sure that it’s designed for orchid roots. Lots of growers opt for clear orchid pots because you can check the health of the roots more conveniently.

Clear plastic pots aren’t that attractive but they’re the superior choice for orchids as they need some extra light to penetrate deeply to their roots. Alternatively, you can go for white pots that look better and can also let some sunlight through. Pick a container that’s well-suited for the dimensions of your orchid. It’s often recommended to go for smaller pots to let the roots take a firm hold. Another advantage of going for a transparent pot is that you can see more clearly when it’s time to irrigate the plant.

3. Watering Needs

Not all orchids have the same watering needs but it’s safe to say that it’s essential to avoid overwatering. Things like soil and other environmental conditions can influence the watering requirements of your plant. Orchids thrive when you’re feeding them with just the right amount of water.

With a bit of practice and patience, you can learn how to adapt your watering frequency to create ideal growing conditions for your particular orchid. As long as you water the plant in a balanced manner without adding a huge quantity per watering, you should benefit from increased blooms.

4. Humidity and Light Requirements

Humidity is another aspect that needs to be taken into consideration if you wish to grow orchids successfully. Unless you get specially designed humidity trays, you will have some difficulties growing orchid flowers indoors. Here’s a great model from Amazon. With the help of this tool, you can let your orchids take advantage of water evaporation to simulate their natural growing conditions.

When it comes to light requirements, orchids are fairly pretentious. Some varieties like extra sunlight while others prefer more shade. Regardless of the type, the same balanced dose rule as we’ve seen in the watering section needs to be applied here. Most orchids like full sunlight but not in the same way as other plants enjoy it, such as tomatoes for example. They only need enough light to bloom. Too much or too little sunlight is detrimental. If you grow your orchids indoors, we recommend placing them in bright areas like the sunroom and to invest in growing lights if you keep them in a very shaded spot.

5. Fertilization

Unless you get your hands on some quality fertilizer, it’s safe to say that you might not get the expected growing results. That doesn’t mean you can’t successfully grow orchids without fertilization but you can simplify your work by a lot. Consider choosing a dedicated plant food for orchids because they have quite specific nutrient needs. Check out the Miracle-Gro orchid fertilizer from Amazon that can give you the desired blooms. Most orchid growers recommend adding fertilizer on a weekly basis with a diluted amount.

6. Pests and Diseases

Orchids can be sometimes affected by certain pests and diseases. Watch out for mealybugs, aphids, and scale. These bugs can be usually removed by hand if you detect them. The affected leaves should be cleaned with a soapy homemade solution or a powerful commercial insect soap such as this one found on Amazon. Blight and root rot are some of the common diseases that can cause problems for your orchids. If the infestation spreads, it’s important to remove diseased leaves and carefully disinfect your cutting tools.

By Stefan Bucur

Stefan is the founder and owner of Rhythm of the Home. He has 6 years of experience in home improvement, interior design, cleaning and organizing.

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