Orchids are fascinating flowers to grow. There are many different types of them from which to choose. It is important to know how to take care of orchids properly though, before you even purchase one. This way, you will ensure your success at having beautiful blooms.
Choose the Right Type
Analyze the conditions of your home to help you choose the right type of orchid for you. You should know your average nighttime temperature in your house. Some of the species of this flower grow best with a nighttime minimum of 45 to 55 degrees F, while others grow well with a nighttime minimum temperature of 65 degrees F. There are species that also fit into the temperatures in between. This means you need to learn which species are right to grow in your house.
Orchid care involves the need for adequate lighting for orchids to thrive. An east or south facing window is best for these flowers, as this will provide the most sunlight. It is important not to have them in direct sunlight, just near the light. They have a hard time handling direct sun. Make sure nothing (including dirty windows) hampers the plant’s ability to absorb the light. Even the leaves of these flowers will need to be dusted occasionally. If your lighting is not adequate in your house, you can use grow lights to provide enough lighting for your orchids. There are many different setups which you can purchase, for example, the Hydrofarm JSV2. You can also use something which is much simpler that we prefer for our orchids, the Hydrofarm Compact Grow Light.
Orchids are tropical plants that grow on trees, on rocks, or in soil depending on their species. However, most of the popular breeds grow on trees or among the rocks as they are epiphytes. That means, the plants grow in air and need no soil. This does not mean that no growing medium is needed, though. The orchids do need something to cling their roots to.
The growing medium should provide air to the roots and drain water quickly. Air circulation is of the utmost importance to the health of the roots and orchids do not like to sit in too much moisture. The trick is to provide just enough moisture for the roots to absorb what the plant needs.
If you are just learning how to take care of orchids for the first time, you may want to purchase some commercial orchid growing mix. As you get more experienced, you will learn how to mix your own using such items as:
- Sphagnum moss
- Fir bark
- Peat moss
- Coconut husk chips
- Lava rock
- Tree fern
Some of these things can be used on their own such as the tree fern, while others can be mixed together like perlite, peat moss and vermiculite. It all depends on the specific needs of your species of orchids. All of these different growing mediums can be purchased at any good garden center.
How to Water Orchids
Watering is another important factor in understanding how to take care of orchids properly. Typically, once a week is quite enough for most orchids. Some can even wait longer to be watered. It does depend on the species though, as some prefer constant moisture, while others like to dry out in between being watered. This is why pots with drainage holes are necessary. You can’t go wrong with owning a small watering can to make this easier. Sometimes you can even get little spray cans. The best option is getting a kit like the Haws Indoor Watering Set.
Providing the Ideal Humidity
Orchids like the humidity to be on the higher side ranging from 60 to 80 percent. Many times, this is achieved by setting the pots of orchids on top of trays filled with gravel. Then the water can be placed in the gravel to provide humidity without the plants getting an excess of water. There are those species of orchids that also benefit from misting.
The ideal growing temperature for most orchids is 75 to 85 degrees F in the daytime and 45 to 65 degrees F in the night. This does vary, though, according to the specific species you are growing.
How to Fertilize Orchids
Since most growing mediums for orchids are not rich in nutrients, you will need to fertilize them on a periodic basis. Use a fertilizer that is designed specifically for tropical plants or orchids for the best results such as this Orchid Fertilizer. Do not fertilize too soon after re-potting them and typically, it is not necessary to fertilize them in the middle of winter. During the rest of the year, you should fertilize about once every 30 days, but follow the directions for your particular orchid.
The instructions above are the main things you need to know about how to take care of orchids so you can successfully grow them. These will get you started exploring these fascinating flowers.