Orchids are well-known for their striking beauty and unique petal shapes — something that entices orchid lovers but can scare away first-time growers. Despite what their exotic looks might suggest, caring for orchids is not much different than caring for ordinary houseplants. In fact, many people would say that orchids are an “ordinary houseplant,” as the desire for them has skyrocketed over the years thanks to their ability to bloom year-after-year. Though orchid care may be a little different than you’re used to, it’s by no means harder!
Location, Location, Location
Well, “light, light, light” may be a more accurate statement. It’s important that your orchids are getting plenty of bright light. East-facing windows are ideal because they get plenty of early morning light that’s not too harsh. If you only have south or west-facing windows, don’t panic just yet! Using a sheer or thin sheet works to protect orchids from the strong rays of the sun. If you do not have one available to use, simply place the orchids further away from the window. Your orchids should still flourish just fine!
Unlike most plants, orchids shouldn’t be potted in soil. In the wild, orchids grow on the bark of trees so you’ll want to replicate that environment as much as possible. Instead of soil, use potting mix made especially for orchids. Potting mix is usually made up of tree bark, moss, sand, and charcoal.
Keep a Mild Temperature
Just like humans, orchids don’t like it to be too hot or too cold. During the day, try to keep the room your orchids are in around a comfortable 70 degrees. At night, you can bump the temperature down to a cooler 60 degrees. It’s also important that you not keep your orchids in the path of a vent or draft.
Prune Cut Flowers
Trees and shrubs aren’t the only plants that need a good pruning from time-to-time. If your flowers begin to fade, you can do one of two things:
- Cut the plant down to its leaves and replant it in a new pot. After about a year, it should start to bloom even larger flowers.
- Cut the stem just below the last faded flower. In 8 – 12 weeks, the stem should start producing new flowers.
Though it may seem like a no-brainer that flowers need water to survive, over and underwatering are major mistakes orchid owners rarely realize they’re making. Generally speaking, a once-weekly warm water bath is enough for most orchids. But during the winter and summer, you may have to decrease and increase regular waterings, respectfully.
Don’t Forget the Food
Water isn’t the only thing an orchid needs to survive, it also needs just a bit of food. Roughly three out of four weeks of the month you should sprinkle a teaspoon of indoor, liquid fertilizer on your plant.
Repot When Need-be
Roughly every other year you should be repotting your orchid. But it’s important to remember that in addition to a new pot, you also need all new potting mix.
The great thing about orchids is that they’ll tell you if they’re on the verge of dying. Keep an eye out for these signs:
- Dark green leaves: your orchid is not getting enough light.
- Red-tinted leaves: your orchid is getting too much light.
- Falling buds: the temperature of your house is fluctuating too much.
- Brittle/ wrinkling leaves: you’re under-watering your orchid.
Now, who’s ready to start growing their own orchids?!