Orchids are one of my favorite plants to grow and if I could get away with it I would spend all day in the orchid greenhouse. I have grown orchids for over 10 years and today I wanted to share a few tips with you and teach you how NOT to kill your orchid plant.
- Most orchids grown commercially these days are grown in sphagnum moss rather than a bark based material. This is because sphagnum moss is the only thing that overseas growers are able to import into the US. I have killed numerous orchids by leaving them in sphagnum moss. Sphagnum moss holds so much moisture that you can go for almost a full month without watering your orchid. Plus it is packed so tightly in the container that the roots do not get any air circulation which is crucial for orchid roots. It is usually advised to not repot orchids while they are blooming, but I advise getting your orchids out of sphagnum moss as soon as possible.
- Orchids hate to have their feet wet so never let your orchid sit in any standing water. It will kick the bucket very quickly if left standing in water.
- Orchids do like to have humidity and our homes typically tend to be very dry. Orchids do well in the bathroom or the kitchen sink because of the extra humidity they receive there. You can create some humidity around your orchids by making a humidity tray. Simply use a plant water saucer and place about an inch of pebbles, rocks, or marbles in the bottom. Keep water in the tray at all times and place your orchid on top of the pebbles. This will create some ambient humidity around your plant as the water evaporates. Make sure that your orchid is never sitting in the water or you will kill it very quickly.
- Orchids like to be misted every so often for humidity but don’t use misting as a method of watering your orchid. Be sure to give your orchid a good drink of water allowing the water to flow through the pot and fully saturate the orchid media it is planted in.
- Try to avoid letting water sit in the crown of the plant. This will cause crown rot and disease. Watering in the morning will allow any moisture that might get into the crown of your plant to evaporate and prevent disease.
- People always ask me how often to water orchids. Never let your orchid go bone dry but also don’t let them stay soaking wet all the time. Try to let your orchids dry slightly in between watering. I usually water my orchids in my home about two to three times a week. It’s sort of like the goldi locks principle….not too wet but not too dry.
- Fertilize your orchid at least once or twice a month with a fertilizer that does not contain urea as a nitrogen source and also with a fertilizer that contains a complete micronutrient package. We have a great orchid fertilizer available at the nursery.
- Never let your orchid sit in direct sunlight. Orchids like bright, indirect light but they cannot handle any full direct sun without burning and causing serious long term damage. Inside the home they prefer an east facing window most but will do fine anywhere there is bright indirect light.
- Never lose your orchids nametag. Orchids are collectable plants and a lot of the time you are paying for the name as well as the plant itself.
- Never plant your orchid in potting soil. Most orchids grow in trees or in the ground in loose organic matter. So be sure to use a potting media that is specifically for orchids.
Hopefully these tips will help you have healthy orchids that give you many years of blooms!