Orchids Care Guide

Orchid Care
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I'm a plant god

Oh boy, where do we start? Did you know that there are over 20,000 types of orchids around the world? Orchids come with a reputation of being one of the most difficult houseplants to grow but that isn’t necessarily true. These people either came across a super exotic orchid that actually is difficult to care for or they felt discouraged by the difference in care compared to most houseplants.

A plant being different, however, doesn’t mean it’s more difficult to care for. It just means you need to level up your knowledge on a few aspects of orchid care to make sure the flowers grow and prosper. While it isn’t ‘difficult’, we don’t recommend these plants for absolute beginners with no knowledge of gardening.

Selecting an Orchid Plant

Your journey to success first starts off with selecting a type of orchid that can tolerate the conditions in your home. As you build a shortlist of orchids, you also need to think about whether you want an orchid that offers a dramatic visual impact, an orchid that is long-lasting, or a bit of both.

Once you have decided on what orchid to grow, you will need to consider in what form you want to buy the plant. Orchids, for example, can be purchased as seeds and plants that are already in-bud. For beginners, it’s not easy to grow orchid seeds so we recommend them to start with plants that have just formed new buds.

Most Popular Orchids

Here’s a list of some of the most popular orchids we recommend to grow at home. You will notice that each orchid has its own unique appearance and features.

Doritis (Phalaenopsis pulcherrima)

Phalaenopsis pulcherrima

This beautiful species of orchids is a medium-sized plant that comes with unique features such as, thick leaves with a purple surface underneath, and roots that look like stilts. The color of the orchid petals typically range from white to purple-pink.

Moth Orchids (Phalaenopsis blume)

Moth orchids

The moth orchids are one of the most common species you will see in stores due to its year-round availability and ease of production. You will want this plant if you are looking for something that will stay in bloom for a long time. the flowers may bloom in a variety of colors including white, yellow, pink, and purple.

Cooktown Orchids (Dendrobium bigibbum)

Cooktown Orchids

The most common colors cooktown orchids appear in are flushed purple, flushed yellow, or white. Like many other species, these flowering plants will do best when grown in small pots. Flowering time is typically between March and July.

Lady’s Slipper Orchids (Cypripedioideae)

Lady's Slipper

This is an interesting species of orchid that will grow well as long as you mimic its natural environment (shady woodlands) as closely as possible. The most popular types include the pink lady slipper and the yellow lady slipper. Both comes with vibrant petals and a nice aroma.

Orchid Plant Care Tips

Here are some great tips that fellow orchid growers have shared about growing these flowering plants indoor. Knowing these tips could mean the difference between shriveling plants and beautiful blooms. Please also note that these tips are general rules of thumb so may not apply to every type of orchid.

1. Only water the orchids when they need it – this would typically be the moment when the orchid plant has just started to dry out. Orchid plants typically don’t need to be watered more than once a week.

2. Orchids prefer bright but indirect sunlight – the best places to grow your orchids at home is by a bright windowsill that faces east or west. Orchids that are exposed to strong, direct sunlight may suffer from sunburn.

3. Finding the best orchid mix – we suggest buying an orchid mix that offers excellent drainage and good airflow. Orchids that grow in compacted mediums may start to suffer from diseases like root rot.

4. Use clear plastic pots – for orchids, the health of the roots is an important visual cue for determining whether an orchid is thriving or dying. We suggest growing orchids in small plastic pots so that it is easier for you to check when watering is needed.

5. Use orchid-specific fertilizer – most regular plant fertilizers won’t work well with orchids. They contain an ingredient called urea, which orchids have difficulty with absorbing. ‘Weak’ fertilizing at a cadence of once a week should be enough for orchids to thrive.

6. Orchids love humidity – they originally come from tropical and subtropical areas so humidity helps a lot. Placing home orchids on humidity trays can help maintain a healthy humidity level for the orchids.

7. Like other houseplants, orchids are also prone to being infested with a number of pests, such as aphids, gnats, and mites. Be sure to keep a close eye on any pest symptoms such as the development of holes along the orchid foliage.

Common Questions About Orchids

What Do You Do With an Orchid After the Blooms Fall Off?

First off, don't freak out when the blooms start to fall out. It's perfectly normal for orchids to do this. Your next steps may depend on the species of orchids you are growing, but in general, the follow-up actions are to remove the flower spikes and to re-pot the orchids when the roots start to grow up and over the pot rims. The orchids will need some 'rest' before they start to bloom again.

How Long Does it Take for an Orchid to Rebloom?

Again, this will depend on the type of orchids you are growing. In general, you may expect orchids to rebloom after six to nine months of 'resting'. It's important to give your orchids proper care while they are in rest mode, such as by making sure the plants are getting replenished with the appropriate nutrients.

Are Orchid Roots Supposed to be Exposed?

Orchids aren't like your normal houseplants. Orchids have exposed roots known as 'air roots'. These tendrils help orchids grow on other plants, which is what typically happens in their native environment. So don't worry if some of the roots get exposed as it's perfectly normal.