Orchid Growing Tips
Beginners Start Here
You have probably already been told that orchids have a reputation of being finicky. Well, that’s really not accurate – they simply have different needs from most other houseplants. Once you understand those needs, it becomes no harder to grow than any other plant in your house. Thanks for stopping by, because as a novice orchid grower, your best bet begins with these tips.
Light is a key factor in growing healthy orchids. Direct sunlight causes plants to burn, and too little light will prevent blooms. The ideal is to arrange filtered light; curtains or sheer blinds. Leaf color is a good indicator if you are doing it right. Orchids should have bright green, healthy leaves. Dark green = good light. Yellowish-green or red leaves = too much light.
Orchids Growing in The Phillipines
Low-light, warm-growing orchids enjoy a north or east window. Moderate to high light = warm-growing orchids; these orchids like a lot of light and warm household temperatures. They thrive in a west or south window. From May to September however, place them behind a sheer curtain to decrease light intensity. These orchids like to dry out between watering.
Ideally, humidity for orchids is 50% to 70%. Humidity can be decreased by placing plants in a shallow dish or try setting them on containers of pebbles and water. Keep water just below pebbles never let water touch the bottom of the pot. To maintain quality, remove the pebbles every 2 or 3 months and wash them in a weak bleach solution to remove accumulated salts and algae. You can group your plants together in a single evaporation tray to create a humid microclimate display, but not placed too close together.
Again, both temperature and light should determine if humidity-increase is even necessary.
To produce beautiful, long-lasting blooms, orchids must produce energy in the form of carbohydrates during the day when temps are high, and store that energy at night when temps drop off. Temperature fluctuation is necessary for orchids to bloom. Without a 10-15 fluctuation, the plants grow plenty of foliage but refuse to flower.
Air movement is like medicine for orchards. In nature, gentle breezes along the leafy canopy of the forest are vital for the survival of orchids and other air plants. It helps to evaporate stagnant water where fungi and bacteria breed. You can easily improve air flow in your home so orchids grow happily. When weather permits, open windows or use a small oscillating fan to mimic the breezes of nature.
Water early in the day so your orchids can dry out by nighttime. Proper frequency of watering will depend on the climatic conditions where you live. Generally that’s once a week in the winter, twice a week when the weather turns warm and dry. Your orchid container helps determine how often you need water; a 6-inch pot – every 7 days, a 4-inch pot – every 5-6 days.
Bark has a tendency to dry out more rapidly than sphagnum moss so also take into consideration your potting medium. Quality of the water is also important. Tap water has often been chemically treated, most often with chlorine and should be used with caution. Undoubtedly, the best water for orchids is rainwater contributing to the nourishment of the plant. Hey – I set out a jar on my deck and catch rainwater without any trouble.
Look for products that contain nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), along with trace elements such as iron. Most agree that feeding should begin with more Nitrogen just when the new shoots are showing, more Phosphorous and Potassium is necessary towards the end of the season. Orchids growing in bark need more nitrogen than either phosphorus or potassium (30-10-10 is ideal) Beautiful orchids have five different orchid foods available – read and follow the directions.
The primary purpose of repotting is to provide fresh media, not necessarily a larger pot, but pot size should be made according to the root mass. Orchids like to be a little tight in their pots. Orchids transferred to overly large pots tend to concentrate their energy on root growth and may not show new foliage for several months. Orchids such as Phalaenopsis, have roots capable of photosynthesis so for these use see-through pots as they allow light to get to the roots.
Esther Smith, author
The purpose here is to simplify orchard care and show you in a brief outline what took many years to learn. Orchids have a very unique background and your will hear a variety of care methods and growing techniques depending on where you look. Come on back to our website=>