orchids in window

How to care for Orchids

How to care for Orchids. Typically these varieties of Orchids are what most beginners purchase. They are the most common and can be found in most greenhouses or nurseries throughout the U.S.

Orchids are really easy to take care of. If you are new to these colorful plants we recommend the following book. Understanding Orchids.

Orchids do not like potting soil

Did you know orchids thrive and live in the bark of other trees?  This is why It is best to use orchid bark or mix.  They also do not like standing water as it will develop root rot quickly.  It’s important to check water consistently water less often during the winter.  More often during the hottest part of the season.

Orchids do not like temperatures below 32° degrees f.  Keep them indoors and use them as indoor decor. They produce beautiful long-lasting blooms.  The flower is used in gift baskets and flower shops use them for bouquets and gift baskets on holiday and birthday deliveries.

Orchids are Tropical Plants

They like humidity and warm conditions and that is why they grow wild in Hawaii and other tropical areas.  It is important to note that most orchids will bloom for about 3-4 months at a time.  Once the blooms expire they will go into dormancy. Continue watering and fertilizing until they bloom once again, this may take a few months before it blooms again.

Where to place them

Place them where there is humidity or mist them once or twice a week for better growth.

Use Orchid food when fertilizing.  Use Grow More all-purpose orchid food to feed all types of orchids analysis of 20-20-20.  If you want them to bloom use the 6-30-30 formula.

Orchids will thrive outdoors where there are no freezing temperatures during the winter seasons.

How to care for Orchids
Phalaenopsis orchids in a greenhouse.

The Most Common Type of Orchids

Phalaenopsis – Is a favorite among orchid care enthusiasts. Long-lasting blooms with many colors and are inexpensive.  This variety is best for indoor home planting.
Temperatures – They need about 15 to 20° Fahrenheit temperatures seedlings need about 10° degrees higher than mature plants.

Water – Do not let plants dry out. Younger plants need more watering and attention.
Fertilizer – Should be fertilized on a regular basis. A good 20-20-20 or similar ratio. Fertilize every week at one-quarter to one-half of the recommended dilution.
Potting – This should be done every 2-3 years. They will do better if done during late spring.

Common Types of Orchids

Paphiopedilum – These are easily suited for home growing, requiring only bright light and your normal home temperatures. Also called the slipper orchid because the flower resembles a slipper.  The blooms are long-lasting, up to 10 weeks, blooming, and sometimes longer.
Temperatures – Most mature orchids need about 15 to 20f. temperatures between night and day.

Water – Never let plants dry out.
Fertilize – Must be fertilized on a regular basis, but requires less fertilizer than other types of orchids,
Repotting – should be done about every one to two years. Use a good 10-10-10 balanced orchid food ratio.

Paphiopedilum beautiful orchid in the garden / Lady’s slipper orchid, aka lady slipper orchid or slipper orchid, Cypripedioideae Paphiopedilum. Click the photo for a larger image.

Oncidiums originate from sea level to the tropics.
Temperatures – should be 55-60° at night and 80 85° during the day.
Water – Generally plants with large fleshy roots need less water. Watering should be thorough. Plants not active should be watered less.
Fertilizer – Apply a good 30-10-10 balanced fertilizer twice a month.
Potting – Re-pot when the plant is about half mature. Keep Humidity high and should be medium dry until new roots form.

A cluster of Purple Oncidium Orchid.

Dendrobium – This is a very common orchid at retail gardening stores. Also called an air plant. Very leafy appearance.  Temperatures – Mature plants like 15 to 20f. difference between night and day. Leaves may drop if temperatures drop below 50f.  Water. They like moist soil but can tolerate dryness when the plant has matured. Fertilizers – They like to be fertilized often, especially during the growing period. Use a good 20-20-20 orchid food balanced ratio.

Beautiful orchid flowers Dendrobium, a species of Hibiki. Tropical orchids in full bloom

Repotting Orchids

Repot them every 2-3 years, and be sure to give them good aeration and drainage. They tend to like small pots for their size.  Remove the old mix from the pot, being careful not to damage the roots.  Rinse the roots with water and trim off any hollow or mushy ones, as these roots are basically dead.

Place the plant into a new pot, preferably an orchid pot.  These plants like to be root-bound, so there should only be about 1″ between the roots and the edge of the pot.

How to care for Orchids
Typical Orchid Pot

Add the new orchid mix to the pot, and tap the sides to make sure it settles into the pot. Press gently to settle the plant but don’t use too much force or the roots may break. Use a small stake to support the plant in the pot so it stays secure.

How to Care for Orchids
Beautiful Phalaenopsis Orchid.


How to care for Orchids

Remember always to use a good orchid care fertilizer, orchid bark, or mix for all your orchids. Typically, the above orchids are what most nurseries have, but there are over 28,000 varieties.

Repotme.com has some great information on orchids.

The care of the Money Tree Plant.

Houseplants Las Cruces

How to care for Orchids

Understaorchid-booknding Orchids: An Uncomplicated Guide to Growing the World’s Most Exotic Plants – by William Cullina.

Highly Recommended by Paul Guzman.


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