The exotic beauty of orchids intimidated me into thinking they’d be difficult to grow and maintain. But as I wrote in my last post, I found a deal that I couldn’t refuse on some beautiful blooming orchids. Now that the holiday season is over, I wondering how I’m going to care these beauties. I did some research about orchid care and will share a few basic tips and helpful websites that I have found.
First, find out what kind of orchid you have. There are many, many varieties out there, but the most popular orchids found in the garden section of the hardware stores are the phalaenopsis, also called a moth orchid, the dendrobium, also called a cane orchid, or the cattleya. The two blooming orchids I purchased during the holidays are phalaenopsis. However, last year I bought a tiny cattleya in the “needs lots of love immediately” houseplant section of Lowe’s. It hasn’t bloomed since I got it. Evidently it needed a whole lotta love! If a name tag wasn’t with your orchid, here is a great website that has pictures to help you identify it. http://aboutorchids.com/identify/index.html
One of the most important tips I learned is to leave your orchid alone until it has finished blooming. By leave it alone, I mean don’t repot it, don’t fertilize it, and don’t overwater it. When it comes to water, less is more. Water it once a week, but make sure the pot drains properly. Don’t let the orchid stand in water. Don’t get water on the leaves. If you do, wipe the water off them. I know, that’s lots of “don’ts.” I’ll try to be more positive.
Do keep the orchid in a sunny room, but not in direct sunlight.
Do keep it away from drafts and vents.
After your orchid has bloomed, check its container. If it’s not in a pot with holes, re-pot it in one. Also, it’s helpful if your pot is a clear plastic so the roots of the orchid are visible. Orchids with green roots are healthy. Those with gray roots need more water, and those with dark roots are over-watered. If you re-pot, be sure to use a medium specific for orchids. Orchids like their roots in bark rather than dirt.
Orchids usually need fertilizer to re-bloom. Like watering, it should be used sparingly. Use fertilizer when the orchid is in its growing season which is after it has bloomed. I plan to use an orchid fertilizer rather than creating my own because I don’t have any experience with orchids. I’m going to play it safe.
I hope this information helps all of you who have these beautiful flowers. For more detailed information about their care please check out the American Orchid Society https://www.aos.org/ . May your orchids brighten your winter!