Choosing the Right Orchid
Choosing the right orchid is key when it comes to caring for indoor plants. There are plenty of varieties to pick from, which can be daunting.
Evaluate your space, how much sunlight it gets and how much care you can give it. Think which type fits best, how easy it is to look after and its desired look. Let’s explore 10 tips for looking after indoor orchids.
Identify the type of orchid
When selecting an orchid, it’s essential to be aware of the type. There are three main categories: epiphytic, terrestrial, and lithophytic. Epiphytic orchids grow on trees and branches, terrestrial ones root in soil, and lithophytes grow on rocks. Knowing their needs will help your orchid live longer.
Epiphytic types are most common indoors. Examples include Phalaenopsis, Epidendrum, Oncidium, Miltonia and Vanda. They need little soil, so they can thrive in hanging baskets as long as they get plenty of ventilation and humidity.
Terrestrial orchids live on the ground, often between rocks in shallow soils. Paphiopedilum, Cymbidiums and Cattleyas are examples. They need little fertilizer, but lots of space for their roots.
Lithophytic orchids do best when mounted on stony surfaces. They have shallow root systems and need good ventilation to prevent fungal infections. A popular example is zygopetalum, which prefers to stay attached to tree trunks instead of plant pots. Pots need frequent watering and could cause rot due to too much moisture around shallow roots.
Choose the right size pot
When picking a pot for your orchid, take note that traditional ones have holes in the bottom and slits on the sides. This helps the roots get air. If your orchid came with a plastic pot, take it off and move it to one that is clay or ceramic with similar drainage.
To pick the right size container, pick one just one inch wider in diameter than the current pot. This gives room for future growth, but not too much soil, which could cause root rot. Even if you keep it in the same pot for years, check annually to see if you should divide and repot it. Click here to read about A Guide to Creating Stunning Flower Arrangements for Any Occasion.
Location matters when caring for your orchids. Usually, bright light is best, but not direct sunlight. Give them indirect light for 4-6 hours daily. Keep orchids away from cold and drafty spots.
Some species require special light and temperature needs.
Find the right spot
Search for the best spot for your orchid. Consistent light is vital. Avoid intense hot/cold temperatures and humidity. Direct natural sunlight should be given several hours each day. This could be a window with a sheer curtain. Air flow is also important – use a fan on low if needed. Cold air, hot air and other plants can harm the orchid.
Consider LED lights to provide consistent lighting levels. These will help keep them healthy even through changing lighting conditions.
Provide the right amount of light
Orchids need light for photosynthesis, growth, and blooming. Depending on where you live and the type of orchid you own, your orchid may need bright, indirect light or filtered sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves. In winter, when days are shorter, give your orchid a grow light. Aim for full-spectrum and 12-14 hours of daylight each day.
Visualize an outdoor location away from trees but under an awning. Then, try to find an indoor area that emulates this.
H2O-ing is critical for looking after orchids in the house. Correct watering methods can help keep your blooms healthy and lively. Here’s the scoop on watering orchids: when to wet ’em and what sort of water to use.
Determine the right amount of water
Getting the right amount of water for your orchid is essential for its health. Don’t follow a strict schedule, judge based on how the plant looks. Pick up the pot – if it feels light, it needs watering.
Orchids come in many sizes, with different water needs. When potting, add moss around the sides. This helps the root zone stay cooler, humid and absorb excess water. Use soft water, and avoid chlorine and hard minerals in tapwater.
Start with small amounts of water and observe results. In summer, water more frequently due to higher evaporation. Be careful not to over-water, one good soak every 5-6 days is enough. Indoor plants require less regular hydration, adjust depending on environment.
New plant owners need to be aware that over-watering is one of the main killers of potted orchids! To avoid this, don’t water your orchid until two inches below the surface feels dry. To determine how much water your orchid needs, stick your finger in the soil. If it’s damp, you don’t need to water. Use luke-warm tap water, left out overnight to dissipate chemicals. Water until it runs out of the holes in the bottom of the pot. Then, let it drain completely before replacing the saucer.
Generally, water plants once a week during the growing season (late winter through late summer). Increase watering during periods of extreme heat, but don’t over-water. Too much water can lead to root decay and rot.
Fertilizing your indoor orchids is a must! They need certain nutrients to be happy and healthy. So, fertilizing them regularly is key.
Here are some tips for fertilizing your indoor orchids:
Identify the right type of fertilizer
Research your orchid species for the right type of fertilizer. Different orchid species need different fertilizers. For instance, phalaenopsis orchids need a fertilizer listed for them. If you have multiple types of orchids, try a balanced all-purpose 20-20-20 mix.
Too much fertilizer can stop blooming. Most houseplant fertilizers come as liquid. Dilute them according to their directions. Use half the recommended amount if you’re not sure.
Finally, flush containers after using the fertilizer to avoid buildup.
Apply the fertilizer correctly
Fertilizer is key for blooming orchids. January to September, use a water-soluble or slow-release fertilizer once per month. Don’t overfertilize – it may damage roots and stop blooming!
In summer months, apply fertilizer every two weeks due to higher temps and light. Sprinkle it around the plant, but keep it off the leaves. Excess food particles should be washed away with water to avoid fertilizer burn.
Temperature and Humidity
Beautiful, delicate orchids need special care to thrive indoors. Temperature and humidity play a major role in their growth.
Let’s review the optimum levels for keeping your orchids healthy. Temperature and humidity are the keys!
Monitor the temperature
Monitoring temperature and humidity is key for keeping your orchid healthy. Ideal temps are 65-75˚F (18-24˚C) during the day, and 60-65˚F (15-18˚C) at night. Big drops in temperature can shock your orchid and cause damage.
Humidity should be around 70%. Use a hygrometer to measure existing levels. To increase humidity, use a humidifier on low or group pots together on trays with moss and water.
Increase the humidity
To ensure your orchids thrive indoors, increasing the humidity is key. Since many homes have dry air, a simple fix is to fill a tray part-way with stones and water. Place the orchid pots on top of the stones, so the bottom is not submerged. As the water evaporates, it creates a humidity pocket around the plant, helping it grow healthier.
In areas with high humidity naturally, this step may not be necessary. However, make sure to give your plants good airflow and bright, indirect light from a south-facing window. Additionally, check the temperature in your home during different times of day. Orchids can be shocked from chillier nights with temperatures lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 Celsius).
Pruning and Repotting
Keep your orchid healthy and blooming with pruning and repotting! Pruning helps the plant create new growth. Repotting gives your orchid the room to thrive. Here are 10 top tips for looking after indoor orchids:
- Prune your orchid to help it make new growth.
- Re-pot your orchid to give it more space.
- Use the correct soil mix for re-potting.
- Prune away dead or damaged leaves.
- Don’t over-water your orchid.
- Place your orchid in the right spot in your home.
- Feed your orchid with the right fertilizers.
- Have the right pot size for your orchid.
- Don’t remove flower buds.
- Be careful when handling your orchid.
Prune the orchid correctly
Pruning indoor orchids is common. Check for a healthy stem-like protuberance near the lowest leaf. If you can’t find it, use scissors to trim away dead or discolored leaves. Pinch off browned roots with your fingertips.
It helps orchids by encouraging new growth. It creates a healthier root system and removes old spent blooms that could be harboring pests. Be careful not to over-prune as it can remove vital parts of the growth cycle. Only snip away spots with signs of death or decoloration to keep orchids vibrant and strong.
Repot the orchid when necessary
Repot your orchid every two to three years, depending on type and soil. If the pot is old, cracked, or soil is decomposing, it’s time to repot. Tap one side of the pot until the plant slides out. Check for root pests and decaying matter – treat with organic pesticide if present. Prune dead roots with scissors. Rinse debris off with lukewarm water.
Place in new pot with fresh orchid-friendly soil mix. Make sure no roots are sticking out of drainage holes. Water lightly and provide enough humidity.
Pests and Diseases
Awareness of pests and diseases is vital for orchid care. Mealy bugs, scale and spider mites often appear on their leaves. Diseases can be harder to spot, but some usual signs are: wilted or yellowed leaves, discoloration, spots, root rot.
Let us discover the usual pests and diseases and how to avoid them.
Identify pests and diseases
To prevent and manage pests and diseases, it is important to identify them early. Most can be spotted with observation.
Orchid pests include aphids, scales, thrips, mealybugs, slugs and snails. Aphids are small yellow-green or white bugs that feed on juices of leaves. Scales are small bumps on leaves, stems or roots, and are brown, gray or black. Thrips are tiny pale tan insects that damage leaves by feeding. Mealybugs are similar size to aphids but covered with a white waxy substance. Slugs have slimy bodies and can eat entire leaves in large batches at night. Snails eat young foliage at night, leaving visible holes and silvery trails.
Fungal diseases an orchid may suffer from include bacterial soft rot, greymold, stem-rot, and powdery mildew. Bacterial soft rot is caused by pseudomonas bacteria, and deteriorates fleshy parts quickly. Greymold produces light gray fuzzy coating and scattered brown specks with asexual spores. Stem-rot is caused by wet soil and leads to yellowing of foliage. Powdery mildew produces white patches which can kill unprotected areas if not treated.
Treat pests and diseases correctly
To keep your indoor orchids healthy, identify and treat any pests or diseases. Aphids, thrips, mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites are common. Fungal and bacterial problems can also occur. Use neem oil or insecticidal soap for minor infestations. For severe cases, use chemical pesticides.
Look for wilting leaves and yellow spots on the foliage. Act fast to minimise damage. Isolate affected plants from healthy ones.
If you need advice, ask experienced growers or contact a garden center for tips.
Orchid care can be tricky. But, with the right know-how, you can keep your plants blooming and healthy! Here are 10 top tips for orchid care:
- Provide plenty of light.
- Choose the right potting mix.
- Water regularly and thoroughly.
- Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer.
- Prune away dead or dying stalks.
- Repot when necessary.
- Control pests and diseases.
- Provide adequate air circulation.
- Avoid extreme temperatures.
- Use humidifiers if necessary.
There you have it, ten tips to get the most out of your indoor orchids!
Provide the right amount of light
Provide the right amount of light for your orchid and it will bloom again! Most varieties like bright, indirect sunlight. East- or west-facing windows are great. Take the plants outdoors in a shady area during summer. Don’t place them near a window with direct midday sun – it will burn the foliage and hurt flowering. Rotate the orchid every few days for even lighting and healthy growth.
When it comes to caring for orchids indoors, fertilization is key. Using the wrong ratio can lead to stunted growth. For success and blooms, follow these tips:
- Use a fertilizer designed specifically for orchids. Regular household fertilizers won’t have the correct nutrients. Look for a balanced fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-K).
- Fertilize during the growing season (usually spring through late summer).
- Water the orchid before applying fertilizer. This prevents root burn from over-fertilizing.
- Use a water soluble plant food. Mix 1/4 teaspoon per quart of warm water and feed your flowers weekly during the growing season.
- Apply the diluted liquid mixture directly into the potting mixture. Don’t cover leaves. Use half strength every other week. Discard any unused mixture as it will become concentrated with nitrogen when exposed to air.
- Don’t use slow release type formulas while plants are flowering. They can reduce blooms if used while buds are forming. Use them before spikes appear.
Propagating orchids is awesome!
The most common way is dividing them. Cut a mature orchid in half. Each half should have healthy roots and foliage.
Another way is taking a cutting from a new growth.
Here are the best methods for propagating orchids.
Identify the type of orchid
It’s important to know your orchid type before trying propagation. Not all orchids can divide into multiple plants. Orchids are sorted by their growth habit: Rhizome formers or Monopodials.
Rhizome formers grow from an underground root. They produce plantlets at the end of petioles. To propagate, separate the young plantlets from the parent plant and pot them individually. Examples: Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium nobile, Oncidium.
Monopodials have one stem with a single inflorescence. To propagate, break off 3-4 sections with roots and pot them. Preserve some of the stem for support. Examples: Vandas, Cattleyas, Cymbidiums and Oncidingas.
Propagate the orchid correctly
Propagating orchids must be done correctly. It needs two growth points (the rhizome). Each species has different rules. Cutting off the top portion is not good. Ask for advice from a nursery or experienced growers.
The best way to propagate an orchid is to divide the stems and rhizomes at their joints. Break off an old stem with several growth points and you have propagated your orchid! Look for young plants growing along the roots. Re-plant them in separate pots with more light, air and water.
Make sure each division has enough roots. So that each half has enough support and food for new shoots.
Orchid care’s a must! Let’s take a look at the basics. Sunlight’s important. Proper drainage, too. Make sure not to overwater or underwater.
When taking care of indoor orchids, remember these tips. Water’s key. What type of potting soil and fertilizer? That’s what we’ll discuss now!
Provide the right amount of light
Aid your orchid’s growth by giving it the right amount of light each day. Orchids need a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight, either in the morning or evening. To grow an orchid indoors, find a spot with a nearby window facing east or west. This helps ensure your orchid gets enough light and avoids too much heat or midday sun.
Also consider other light conditions when picking a window location for your plant. If indirect light is available all day, you don’t need to worry as much about direct sunlight. Your orchid should still get 4-6 hours of filtered direct sunlight daily so its leaves and stems can photosynthesize and stay vibrant. If needed, put sheer blinds over the window to reduce excessive exposure while still allowing light in.
Water and fertilize correctly
Water your orchids using softened or distilled water for best results. Let the potting mix dry out before watering again to avoid over-watering. Use a moisture meter to check the soil.
Fertilize your orchid during its active growing cycle. Dilute the fertilizer according to the label and use half of the recommended dose if it is a high nitrogen fertilizer. Avoid fertilizing in wintertime as the plant takes rest.