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Orchids can be found in almost any grocery store, large retailer, or home improvement store.
This once elusive tropical plant is now trendy and mainstream.
Designers are using them as home décor accessories to bring color and modern flair to homes.
Orchids instantly make a room fashionably on-trend.
It’s common to see them in magazine photos and television shows.
If you have been hesitant to try growing one, we want to give you easy orchid care tips to make it easy!
Selecting an Orchid
Moth orchids (also known as Phalaenopsis orchids) are some of the most common orchids sold at retail.
They get their name from the large petals that resemble a moth.
Fortunately, these are great for beginners.
When selecting an orchid, choose plants with a strong flower stalk and plenty of unopened flower buds.
This ensures a long bloom time!
Leaves should be clean and free from blemishes and dark spots.
They should also appear full and plump. Wrinkled leaves indicate that the plant hasn’t been watered properly and is dehydrated.
When to Water
There is no standard guideline for watering frequency.
It is more art than science.
However, it’s better to err on the side of underwatering than overwatering.
It’s easier to hydrate a dry orchid than to save one from rot.
Generally, when the top 1-2 inches of the potting mix is dry, it is time to water.
The best way to determine this is to feel the top inch or two of the potting mix with your finger.
Another method is to gauge the weight of the container after watering.
Water again when the pot becomes significantly lighter.
Factors such as airflow, temperature, and humidity will affect watering frequency.
How to Water
I place plants in a utility sink so that I can generously add water to the pot.
Focus the water on the potting mix and roots, avoiding leaves and flower stalks.
A watering can with a narrow spout is helpful.
Although it won’t inherently hurt the plant to get water on it, I find that I have fewer problems with leaf diseases and crown rot issues when I keep leaves dry.
Allow the plant to sit for a few minutes and drain completely.
Water again and allow all the excess water to drain.
This allows the roots to absorb plenty of water but keeps them from “sitting” in excess moisture.
This method of watering promotes deep, strong root growth while removing any excess fertilizer salts.
There is also a movement to use ice cubes to water orchids.
While this is an easy and simple way to water, it may not be the best alternative long term as orchid roots need an occasional thorough drenching to remove excess salts from fertilizers.
Also, ice cubes can cause frost damage if placed on exposed roots and leaves.
Fertilizing orchids regularly will increase growth and promote flowering.
Ideally, water the orchid first, then fertilize it.
This prevents roots from burning if they have direct contact with the fertilizer.
If using the liquid fertilizer, fertilize them 2-3 times per month during the spring and summer.
Orchids grow more slowly in fall and winter, so decrease fertilizer frequency by half in fall and winter.
When using a slow-release fertilizer (my favorite way) just apply the prills in the spring and you don’t have to worry about it again until next spring!
It is hard to give an orchid too much indirect light.
They prefer a location in the home that faces south or east.
Windows that face west can be too hot and sunny during the summer months.
However, they may be perfect in cooler seasons.
Orchid leaves can become sunburned, so avoid placing them in hot, direct sun.
Similarly, the leaves can freeze if they come in contact with a cold window in winter.
Orchids will also grow in bright rooms that have lights on most of the day.
An orchid’s leaf color indicates whether it is receiving appropriate light levels.
Orchids with dark green leaves are not receiving enough light.
They may be healthy, but will not bloom.
Light green leaves with yellow tones indicate that the orchid is receiving enough light to bloom.
Bonus Orchid Care Tips
- Orchids like humid environments, so a humidifier may be necessary for extremely dry environments.
- Orchids thrive in a room with good air circulation. However, they prefer not to be in the direct path of a breeze. An overhead fan on the lowest setting is sufficient.
- The American Orchid Society has an entire website dedicated to orchids!
Orchids have become very trendy and fashionable plants.
Although they are unusual and exotic, don’t hesitate to give them a try.
Follow these simple orchid care tips and you will have a beautiful addition to your home décor!
Want to learn more about Phalaenopsis orchids? We have a workshop for learning how to care for them and how to get them to rebloom, click here to learn more!