How to Easily Care for Orchids

How to Easily Care for Orchids

Follow these key tips and you’ll have gorgeous orchids all season long.



By: Marina Delio

Orchids are one of the most stunningly beautiful flowers to grow, and a favorite of home decorators. Thumb through any home magazine, and you’ll surely see orchids gracing coffee tables. Though orchids are easy to care for, there are some important rules to follow in order to properly care for them.

Orchids 101

  • From clean white to deep purple, orchid flowers burst open from statuesque stems and thick lush base leaves.
  • Orchids do best in tropical to subtropical climates, but can be grown outdoors in most warm areas. They also do very well indoors, in bright, warm spots.
  • Phalaenopsis is the most common type of home grown orchid. These flowers bloom for several months and then can bloom again under the right conditions.

Orchids Love Humidity
Since orchids are tropical plants, they love humidity. It’s easy to add extra moisture to air inside your home:

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  • Keep a humidifier near your orchids and turn it on often.
  • When you are boiling water, place your plants near the stove to catch some of the humidity.
  • Regularly misting the air with a spray bottle filled with water is another great way to add moisture to the air and keep your orchids happy.

Water with Care
Watering plants correctly is one of the biggest concerns home gardeners have. Too much or too little water can harm almost any plant. Overwatering is the most common way well-meaning people kill their orchids.

Keeping the roots too wet can easily cause an orchid to rot, as orchids like to obtain water through wet air, not wet roots.

Tip: Though orchid species vary slightly in their water needs, most do well with just three ice cubes every week placed in their pot. If you are concerned about overwatering your orchids, simply place the ice cubes at the base of the orchid and allow them to melt.

Prune with Care
Orchids require very little pruning compared to other plants. Once the stem, called a spike, is finished blooming, it can be pruned to encourage another bloom. Some (but not all) orchids are able to produce a second bloom from the same spike. A second bloom will appear within three months.

To trim the spike, use a sharp knife or garden shears and trim just before the node where the flowers bloomed. Nodes are the triangular shaped bumps jutting off the spikes. Cut off any spikes or leaves that turn brown and die.

Potting and Soil is Key
It’s crucial to keep orchids in well-draining pots and soil. The pots many orchids are sold in are not optimal and will remain too wet after watering, which will eventually kill the plant.

  • Replant orchids in a good quality, well-draining pot with an orchid potting mix.
  • Bark is most commonly used for potting orchids, as it holds water without letting the roots sit in it. When the water evaporates from the bark, it creates the humidity that the plant needs while keeping the roots dry.
  • When repotting, trim off any shriveled roots. Fertilize your plant with a high-nitrogen orchid fertilizer monthly, following package instructions.

As you can see, orchid care is minimal — they’re actually one of the easiest plants to care for, even if they’re finicky. By following these steps, you’ll have beautiful, well-kept orchids in no time.



Marina Delio is the author of the Yummy Mummy Kitchen blog and cookbook. She lives in Santa Barbara with husband, two little girls, cat, and egg laying chickens. Marina loves cooking, gardening, photography, and living a healthy lifestyle with her family.

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What if leaves start growing on the stem where the orchid bloomed previously? Can it be trimmed and will it root in some orchid soil or water to start another orchid?

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eriejsf

eriejsf

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When you say to cut the spike before the node where the flowers bloomed do you mean cut below the node and remove the node also or cut above the node leaving the node on the plant?

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