Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to Care for Orchids

I've been pining over live orchids for a while now - we had one on every table at our wedding (oh... that gives me an idea for a future post!) so needless to say, I adore them. I just picked one up today and I can't stop staring at it!

Phalaenopsis Orchid

I think that orchids absolutely MAKE a room. Whenever I see one in someone's house I can't help but to respect their green thumb. Orchids are a very picky plant and have very specific needs, and I've become frustrated from the MANY differing suggestions on how to care for them. Some say water ever week, some say every month!

So I did some research and wanted to share these simple guidelines with you:

  • Keep your orchid in moss, in a pot with a hole in the bottom for drainage. Do not allow standing water under the plant.

  • Remove a piece of the moss to water under the surface, taking care not to water the leaves, and replace the moss when finished. Make sure to dry the leaves if any water gets on them by mistake.

  • Use a fertilizer that is specific for orchids once a month.

  • KNOW YOUR ORCHID - there are several varieties of orchids, and knowing your species will tell you how often to water. Feel the moss to give yourself a gauge of how moist it is before watering.

Keep these types evenly moist - water ever 5-12 days:
Cymbidium
Miltonia
Odontoglossum
Paphiopedilum


Allow these to become nearly dry between watering - water every 20-25 days:
Ascocenda
Phalaenopsis
Vanda

Allow these to become nearly dry between watering (except when growing!) - water every 20-25 days:
Brassia
Cattleya
Oncidium
Dendrobium

I made myself a reminder to water in my phone




  • If you live in a small space, make sure to avoid too much moisture in the air (like all that steam after you take a shower!) by opening windows frequently.

  • When the last flower drops off your orchid, cut the stem at halfway. This should allow your orchid to bloom again.

  • Orchids do not like direct sunlight - keeping them behind a curtain or blinds for dimmed light is ideal.

I hope this helps - best of luck keeping your gorgeous orchid alive!

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