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Orchids as House Plants

One of America’s favorite house plants has become the orchid. There are many different species of orchids that can be found naturally and even more in the hybrids. They are not difficult to grow with the proper amount of care including water, light, fertilizer and air. While many kinds do enjoy cooler conditions, several species do very well in temperatures that are around 75 to 85 degrees F.


Phalaenopsis Orchid


One of the easiest orchids to grow is the Phalaenopsis orchid plant. This species adapts well to the environment of a home or office. You will find that different species will last for different amounts of time. From the time that the first Phalaenopsis bud opens, the sprays will remain in bloom for the next two to three months. Whereas, the flowers on a Cattleyas orchid plant may last up to a month in bloom from the time that the bud opens. Some species of orchids will bloom once a year – others will bloom several times a year and some even bloom continuously.

Another aspect of orchids that makes them so popular is their fragrance. Some are wonderfully fragrant, but the scents from fragrant orchid flowers are extremely variable. Some species of orchid plants are subtle and others are extremely strong. The scents can range from fruity to flowery. More amazing is the fact that many orchids have familiar aromas such as chocolate, raspberry, coconut, lilac or citrus.

Orchids should be planted in bark rather than typically potting soil. They can also be grown in New Zealand sphagnum moss. Orchids need to be grown in pots that will supply them with good drainage. Typical potting soil is bad for orchid plants because it cuts off air circulation at the roots and blocks the drainage of the water. They should also be watered about once or twice a week.

During the summer, your orchid plant may need to be watered more frequently – about every four to five days. A good rule of thumb to follow is the more heat, the more water you should give your orchid; the less heat, the less amount of water. Orchid plants that are potted in New Zealand sphagnum moss should be watered less often than those planted in bark. These plants can be watered once every seven to ten days.

Depending on the species of orchid, they prefer a lot of light that is not too strong. They do very well sitting in an east facing window. Since many orchid species can be found naturally in tropical conditions, they are used to receiving both shade and sun.

 Sun exposure that is too strong for orchids, suffer from too much light and will display yellowing leaves. If this occurs you should increase the shade that your plant receives. Yellowing of orchid leaves may also indicate insufficient feeding. Orchid plants should be fertilized on a regular basis about every other week. You should also water your orchard before applying the diluted nutrient solution if the potting media is dry.


 Esther Smith, author

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