Indoor Plants, HOUSEPLANTS, Blog
February 2, 2023
Are you a little intimidated by orchids thinking they are too exotic and complex to care for? Fear not! Most orchids can be grown successfully in your home, providing blooms year after year with just a little attention to their growing environment.
Here are some tips to help you on your way:
Light Conditions – most orchids require lots of bright light to produce blooms successfully. They prefer indirect sunlight from south or east-facing windows and ensure they are not in direct sunlight.
An orchid’s leaf colour is a good indication of how your plant is adapting to light conditions.
Watering – let your orchids dry out between waterings. You can always tell if your orchid needs watering by observing its roots.
How to water – use room temperature water and water until you see it flow out the bottom. Be sure to drain off excess water so the roots don’t sit in a saturated medium, which can lead to rot. Increase water frequency during the growing season.
Humidity – orchids do best in a slightly humid environment, ranging from 40% to 70%. During the winter, when our heating systems are running, it may be necessary to spray them with room temperature water or add a supplemental humidity source like a humidifier to the room.
Air Movement – air movement is the counterbalance to humidity for successful orchid growth. A steady, gentle airflow around your orchid will help keep your orchids healthy. Proper airflow will moderate temperatures, freshen the air around the orchid, and reduce the chance of bacteria or mould developing in an overly humid environment.
Fertilizer – always use a fertilizer formulated specifically for orchids. It is best to feed orchids during the spring and summer as this is considered their growing season. Orchids go into a dormant state during the fall and winter months and need time to allow their roots and leaves to get stronger. For this reason, you should cut back or stop fertilizing during the winter so they can use their energy to prepare for spring and summer blooming.
Orchid Potting mixture–orchid potting mixtures or mediums contain various sizes of bark, sphagnum moss, pearlite and horticultural charcoal. This medium allows air to circulate around their roots. A suitable orchid potting mixture will mimic their natural growth environment providing good airflow and drainage. Never use regular potting soil.
Type of Pot – Orchids perform best when planted in woven plastic or fibre orchid pots with slits around the permitter allowing continuous airflow throughout the soil and roots. These pots closely replicate how orchids grow in their natural habitat and perform well in high humidity, keeping the plants from drying out too quickly.
Orchids like to feel snug in their space, so when choosing a pot, allow for about an inch of spacing outside the root growth area.
Repotting – Your orchid may need repotting if you see white roots growing out of its container or when its planting medium ages and breaks down. Repotting with a fresh planting medium will refresh the plant and eliminate the risk of rot at the root level.
The best time to repot is in late spring or fall when blooming is complete. When repotting, you should water lightly initially and increase water intake when new growth appears.
Orchids are an amazingly diverse and adaptable group of plants with up to 50,000 known species. With such a wide variety of gorgeous plants to choose from, it may be hard to know which orchid will be best for you. Here is a list of some of the most common indoor orchid houseplants.
DENDROBIUM ORCHIDS – are beautiful houseplants with delicate blooms that last up to 3 months and, with proper care, will re-bloom year after year. There are two different types of species of Dendrobium orchid that have slightly different care requirements.
Dendrobium Phalaenopsis – originates from the warmer climates of southeast Asia and Australia.
Dendrobium Nobile – originates from cooler regions of China and India and is sometimes called cool growing. They have thick stems with narrow oval leaves.
PHALAENOPSIS ORCHIDS – are sometimes referred to as moth orchids and are considered one of the easiest orchids to grow. They are native to the tropics of Asia and Australia.
CATTLEYA ORCHIDS – are mainly native to the tropical regions of the America’s, where they thrive in high humidity and abundant light. Cattleyas are epiphytic orchids, meaning they attach themselves to other plants. They have well-developed water-storage organs called pseudobulbs and large, fleshy stems.
Although growing orchids may seem challenging, with just a little attention to their growing environment, you will be rewarded with a healthy, beautifully blooming plant.
We invite you to come and explore any of our greenhouses for a wide selection of orchids, tropical, and flowering houseplants. Our experienced, professional gardening experts always help you find the perfect plant.
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