10 Helpful Tips for Orchid Care and Handling
Anyone looking for the perfect houseplant to decorate with this spring should consider adding a pot of orchids to their décor. These flowers are relatively easy to grow, but they have a few distinct traits that new growers should be on the lookout for. If you’re a first-time orchid-grower, you may be wondering how to care for an orchid flower. Look no further than this guide, where you’ll learn about 10 helpful tips for orchid care and handling.
Know the Main Requirements for Growing Orchids
One of the best tips for growing orchids is to take note of the main requirements for these flower to thrive. Orchids grow differently than other flowers, so they also have differing needs. The first thing you should know is that orchids require you to water them once a week. However, be sure to avoid overwatering, because this can rot the flower’s roots.
Next, you’ll want your orchid to face east or west in an area that receives plenty of sunlight, such as on a windowsill. Finally, your orchid will get hungry just like you do, so you have to feed it weekly with fertilizer made for orchids and repot it in fresh potting mix when it stops blooming.
Use the Right Potting Mix
The potting mixes that work the best tend to promote adequate drainage and healthy airflow so that your orchid can thrive. However, it’s important to note that since orchids don’t grow in dirt, you could smother them if you pour it on the plant’s roots. Different mixes are suited for different kinds of orchids and their growing conditions. Therefore, you should carefully consider which type of orchid you plan to grow, its ability to retain water, and the mix you need to use to grow a healthy plant.
Buy a Proper Pot
Since orchids don’t naturally grow in pots, you must know that which pot you choose can have significant effects on your plant. When orchids grow in the wild, their roots get plenty of space to breathe, but in a cramped apartment or on a narrow windowsill, there might not be enough space for this.
Also, orchids need plenty of moisture, but since most homes aren’t humid enough to support an orchid naturally, you’ll need to buy a pot that provides enough airflow for the orchid to obtain moisture without drowning in water. Smothering the roots with dirt or water is the biggest risk for growing orchids in a pot, so choosing the right pot is an essential part of the growing process.
Use the Right Type of Fertilizer
Fertilizers come in many different varieties, so as you obtain growing materials for your orchid, you should educate yourself on the differences between the various fertilizer types. For instance, urea is in many common fertilizers, but you’ll want to skip these, since orchids can’t absorb urea well.
Many companies offer fertilizers specific to orchids’ needs, so you’ll want to find one of these if you want to grow your flower properly. Orchids don’t require much fertilizer anyhow, so seasoned growers will recommend that you fertilize your orchids “weekly but weakly.”
Know the Effects of Airflow and Humidity
Although orchids don’t need much water, they certainly love humid environments. For this reason, orchid-growers use humidity trays to collect water around the base of the pot while suspending the orchid above the tray. As the water evaporates, the moisture will work its way upward into the plant.
You can make your own humidity tray with a large cake pan or inverted saucer, as long as the orchid is above the water. However, you’ll want to achieve a balance between the humidity and airflow that your plant receives, because too much of either could lead to rotting.
Learn About the Light Requirements
The amount of light that orchids must receive varies based on the type, but even “high-light” orchids don’t need as much direct sunlight as a crop such as a zucchini plant. Finding the middle ground is essential if you want your plant to look its best. When an orchid doesn’t receive adequate light, its ability to bloom will be inhibited.
Before purchasing your orchids, find out if your plants are “high-light” or “low-light” varieties, and position them in the sunlight based on their needs. You can use broad-spectrum fluorescent light bulbs as well as high-intensity discharge (HID) lights to grow your flowers, but make sure you follow a natural light schedule, because your plants won’t want to be in the presence of the artificial light you use at night.
Keep Your Orchids at the Right Temperature
Separate orchid varieties will also want to be at different temperatures. For example, Phalaenopsis orchids prefer a warmer temperature between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, but other types of orchids will thrive 10 degrees below this range.
Also, the variation in temperature that comes with the changing seasons tells your orchids when they should bloom. So if you keep your home at a steady temperature, it might affect the arrival of your blooms. Therefore, you’ll want to keep them in an area where you can monitor the temperature and change it at will.
Water Your Orchids Appropriately
One of the most common problems that a first-time orchid-grower will experience is overwatering their plants. This is often the most challenging aspect of growing orchids, because they require a careful balance that can differentiate between drowning and starving.
If you aren’t sure whether your plant has enough water, it’s better to wait and see rather than drenching it. Overall, you’ll want to remain consistent with your watering and adjust the amount of water according to what your plant needs each time.
Recognize When You Need To Repot
Although it might look intimidating, repotting your orchid is actually quite a simple procedure. There are 3 things that should motivate you to repot your orchid: if it’s new (for example, you’ve just had plants delivered to your home); if the roots are crowded in the pot; or if you haven’t repotted it in a while. Thankfully, all you have to do when you need to repot your orchid is to take the plant out of the pot, let it soak in some water, pour some fresh mix into a larger pot, and place the plant in the new pot so that it has more room.
Take Care of Your Orchid if It’s Sick
When bugs or harmful bacteria get into your flowerpot, they can be devastating for your orchid. You’ll want to repot your plant immediately if this ever happens. To prevent this from occurring, sprinkle your plant with cinnamon, which works as a natural fungicide and bactericide.
Overall, orchids might require you to use a bit more caution than you would with other types of flowers. However, now that you know these 10 helpful tips for orchid care and handling, you can look forward to growing a beautiful flower without a hitch.