Have you just started your orchid collection, but you have no idea what to do? Don’t worry! This information is just for you.
Orchids are one of the most beautiful flower-bearing plants in the world. They are strikingly unique and delicate to look at. People grow them because of their remarkable variety, stunning flowers, and even colorful leaves. Because of this, most people think that taking care of one is difficult, but most orchids are very easy to maintain.
They wouldn’t have survived the dinosaur age if they weren’t resilient and extremely adaptive to begin with. They are extremely good at withstanding many beginner mistakes. And in the end even with those mistakes, they can still grow beautifully like they have received the care of expert hands.
They require only the basic things that any plant needs to survive. There’s a lot of information out there, so it can get a little overwhelming. To help new growers out there, let’s get back to basics with simple orchid care tips you can follow:
Let There Be Light
Orchids like any other plant need light. Basically, most orchids flourish best in bright, indirect sunlight. Too much sun and you risk burning their colorful flowers and leaves. Place them near windows or under the shade of a bigger plant of tree, but do not completely keep them in the dark. Like the saying goes, too much or too little of anything is never good. That is why the only two places you cannot find these ancient plants are the gloomy glaciers and intense deserts.
You’ll know that they are receiving the right amount of light from their leaves. If your leaves are a darker shade of green, then the plant isn’t receiving enough light. If your leaves are brown or yellowish, then your orchid is getting too much light. Keeping this radiant orchid care tip in mind will surely contribute to the survival of your orchid.
Another orchid care tip that is a no-brainer is watering them. Water them once or twice a week. Be sure, though, to water them depending on the temperature. When the weather is hotter, water them more and less when it’s cooler. Never leave them soaking in water. Make sure that if you grow them in pots, they have holes at the bottom where water can exit completely. An orchid’s sponge-like, ball-shaped roots quickly absorb water and nutrients around it. In fact, their ball-shaped roots got them the name orchid, from the Greek work “órkhis” which means testicle.
Before you water your orchid, lift the pot to see how heavy it is when it’s dry. Then after you water, lift it again. You’ll be able to tell the difference in how heavy it is, which will help you figure out when it’s time to water it again.
Fertilize, Fertilize, Fertilize
If you are serious about growing orchids, consider fertilizers. This orchid care tip is optional but highly recommended for optimum growth of your plants. Be sure to use soluble fertilizers, which are best for orchid growing. Look at the packaging to ensure you have a 20-10-10 mixture, or if you are using something other than bark or tree fern as a grow medium, look for a 20-20-20 mixture. (The ratio does vary depending on the specifics of orchids, so do a quick Internet search first for help.) Do this once a week. Every end of the month, clean the pot with water to eliminate fertilizer residue such as salt.
Temperature Tip for The Serious Grower
Orchids can be easily classified into what temperature they need when growing. There are cool-growing, warm growing and intermediate growing ones. If you want to know the type of your orchid, do some research. There are lots of free resources available online. Be sure to classify them correctly and supply the needed temperature for each kind to obtain the optimum result. Usually, nighttime, and daytime temperatures need to vary 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit for each kind.
Cool Growing (daytime) – 65°F – 70°F
Intermediate Growing (daytime) – 68°F – 75°F
Warm Growing (daytime) – 72°F – 80°F
It’s such a waste to just watch a beautiful plant wilt away because you didn’t do enough research before anything else. Just a little information about your specific plant can prevent this from happening.
Now, if you follow these orchid care tips carefully, you are virtually sure to have perfectly grown plants. Nevertheless, if you really are serious about growing orchids, spend more time learning about these magnificent plants before embarking on your adventure of growing them.
Mary Ann Berdak is the author of the #1 best seller, Phalaenopsis Orchid Care: The Ultimate Pocket Guide to Moth Orchids, now available at Amazon. For more information on growing healthy orchids, download her free report, “The 5 Biggest Orchid Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them!)”, at OrchidCareZone.com.