Easy Orchid Care

Orchid care and cultivation is often thought of as challenging, to be left only for expert orchid growers to tackle. Many home gardeners don't try it due to the notion that orchids are just too difficult to take care of. The good news is, orchid growing isn't as hard as you think.

The key to orchid care is based on a few simple rules. Orchid plants need

  • a nice, warm environment (60 to 80 degrees F)
  • high humidity
  • around 12 to 14 hours of light daily
  • protection from direct summer sun
  • proper food and potting
  • good air circulation

Display your orchids on window sills, shallow ornamental dishes, groups of pots, on wall-mounted brackets, or in ornate half-barrels. The following basics will get you started in the colorful world of orchid growing.

Orchid Care Basics

Orchids don’t grow in dirt like regular plants do. Instead, they grow in a chunky, airy mix of charcoal, sphagnum moss, bark, and a few other ingredients. Orchid roots need to have exposure to the air, or the plant will die.

Most garden centers sell orchids, orchid supplies, and the bark mix that they grow in. For the best blooms and growth, apply a special orchid fertilizer once every 2 to 3 weeks. Feed the orchid a weak orchid food every other week.

Another must-have for proper orchid care is good air circulation; it's essential for healthy orchids. An open window is all you need, or use a small fan that is directed away from the plants.

Orchids crave humidity. You can mist them lightly each morning. An easy way to give them a humid environment is to set the plants on a tray of damp pebbles, keeping the base of the pots out of the water.

Water in the morning whenever the potting fiber looks dry, but never let it get soggy. Use room temperature water. While you can water orchids once a week most of the year, you may need to do it daily in summer.

Good Orchid Care Means Repotting

Once the orchid plant outgrows its container, or the fiber begins to break down, it's time to repot. This will happen about every 2 years. The best time to transplant is after the plant has flowered.

When you repot them, groom them! Prune away dead roots with clean, sharp scissors. Divide overgrown orchid plants so that each new plant has three or more pseudo bulbs (the swollen stems) and some new growth.

Orchid roots are a wonderful indicator of the plant's health. They should be firm and white, showing healthy green tips. Soft brown roots may mean the orchid has received too much food, or too much or too little water. It also may indicate the potting medium has decayed and needs to be changed.

Practice orchid care as you go with a good starter orchid plant that is easy to grow!


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