(Growing Orchids and its other common variants at home)
The beauty, intricacy and incredible variety of orchid flowers are incomparable in the plant world.
They said, once you grow an orchid, you should try and have to think like an orchid too.
The golden rule for growing orchid success is to duplicate their natural conditions as closely as possible.
In nature, most orchids are epiphytes, meaning they grow on other objects, clinging to rough bark or even stones.
Flourishing orchids look so ethereal that it’s hard to believe you can grow them inside your home. And like most pretty things, they are also high maintenance.
They are capable of growing either indoors and outdoors, orchids are no doubt unique and, unfortunately for some potential green-thumbs, difficult to grow successfully.
Someone who hopes to grow orchids should prepare themselves for both the failures and triumphs that breeding this lovely plant variety bring.
For success, choose the right one for your conditions, and then watch them bloom. (More information and discussion can be found here: Indoor Garden Ideas.)
(Selecting a variety of orchid that is easy to grow)
Look beyond the pretty face when deciding which orchid you want to grow indoors.
Assess first the growing conditions you can offer for an orchid, and make your choice from there.
A lot of considerations are required when you are choosing an orchid.
Few aspiring orchid growers take the time to consider their environment before they buy, but always ended up bringing home a gorgeous orchid that is completely inappropriate for your home.
Before deciding to bring home an orchid, you need to consider the average daytime and nighttime temperatures in summer and winter where you live, and the amount of light the orchid will get in your home.
The most common type of orchid that was found on sale includes:
Phalaenopsis is also known as the “moth orchid” and is extremely popular among new and aspiring growers.
The moth orchid, is perhaps considered the best orchid for indoor growing, and is also a favorite with greenhouse growers.
They are easily grown in the home and stay in bloom for a very long time.
From pure whites to unusual spotted harlequins, Phalaenopsis are sure to please.
Unlike many other orchids, Phalaenopsis can be repotted anytime, though it is usually best to do so when not in bloom.
Moth Orchids do very well as houseplants and will grow and flower in a moderately bright windowsill, and each year they will grow one or two new leaves. Once the growth phase is complete, usually in the fall, a bloom spike will emerge from the stem beneath the second or third leaf from the top. See also: Choosing the best flowers to grow indoors
Dendrobium flowers, often seen at florists in bouquets, offer long-lasting blooms in a wonderful array of colors from white to purple, pink, and even green.
There are over 1,000 types of Dendrobium orchids and hybrids. They vary in size, bloom color, appearance, and growing requirements.
They are native to tropical and subtropical Asia, many Pacific islands, and Australia.
Many are cultivated as ornamentals, and some are important in the floral industry. Dendrobiums are separated into two main groups, and they are the hard-cane and the soft-cane. Many are cultivated as ornamentals, and some are important in the floral industry. Check also Ornamental Cactus Plants Indoors for other ideas in growing ornamental plants indoors.
They are sometimes called the dancing lady orchids, oncidiums offer lots of colorful smallish flowers in clusters of 50 or more and they commonly appear in shades of yellow, purple, red, pink, and white, often with flamboyant, contrasting markings.
Most Oncidium and their hybrids prefer filtered, subdued light.The blooming season varies depending on the type of oncidium orchids you have, but many of them will bloom in the fall.
Some oncidium orchids are wonderfully fragrant, so watch for them to add an even more delightful note to your indoor garden.
Orchids are a bizarre variance.
On the outside, they might be elegant and fascinating, but on the inside, these plants are highly flexible and tough.
Orchids are of course not invincible, however.
Where you place your orchid in your home can mean the difference between flourishing and fading.
Some first-time orchid growers make their first mistake by assuming that orchids need to be potted in soil like other blooming flowers, and choosing potting soil as a conduit.
That would likely kill your orchid. Most orchid roots need far more air than potting soil would give them, but they still need something to anchor their roots, and so they benefit from a looser, more porous mix.
You can use bark chips, sphagnum moss, coconut husks, charcoal, perlite, and even Styrofoam pellets as potting mix, often in combination.
And put them in a wall planter if you want to attach the orchids in the wall, and a hanging wall planter if you want it hung outside your house or even in the windows. (for more items, check in gardensonata.com.au)
You can also use a snug pot, because they are more comfortable being root-bound.
Choose a smaller pot to place your orchid in, making sure that there are plenty of holes in the pot itself for drainage.
Always remember to avoid decorative pots because the glaze used is harmful for orchids.
The following types of pots offer a break from the traditional clay pot (which is perfectly acceptable and preferred by most orchid growers):
These pots have wire mesh and allow your orchid for a breathable environment. These can be hung in advantageous locations for better sunlight.
These pots will allow your orchids to get better sunlight to the roots. These allow the grower to inspect the root systems without disturbing the orchid
These are constructed of rot-resistant wood. Just line any wooden pots with sheet moss before adding your potting mixture.
Orchids that are sold in shops are most probably in bloom when bought them.
And like most other people, you would want to prolong their bloom as long as possible. In nature, orchids typically grow on trees and their roots are water-gathering organs that need loads of fresh air flow to be healthy.
Orchids with wet roots are susceptible to root rot and other problems. The best way to take care of your orchid is to place it near a south- or east-facing window that receives strong, indirect light.
Water your orchid whenever the soil feels dry, and fertilize it once a month while it’s blooming. Always make sure that the room your orchids are in receives a good circulation, or you can set an overhead fan to low if it doesn’t.
Orchids that are grown indoors are almost put in pots filled with chips of bark, stones, treefern or some other loosely packed material, which keeps their roots well-aerated and permits water to drain quickly. Nothing kills your orchid faster than letting it sit in a water-logged pot, since a lack of oxygen will cause the roots to suffocate and rot. They should be place in a hanging wall planter, or in a pot where there are a lot of holes for drainage. Water orchids thoroughly, usually about once a week, then allow them to dry slightly before watering again. Orchids are better armed to tolerate periods of forgetfulness than they are to being over-watered.
The single most important variable when growing orchids indoors is light.
Most orchids require plenty of light, preferably at least six hours per day. However, many orchids can withstand more or less than the amount of light recommended, but providing more light heighten blooming possibilities.
Conversely, insufficient light prevents orchids from flowering, although they will grow. The leaf color of orchids always indicates if the amount of light is adequate.
The lush, rich, dark green of most houseplants is not desirable in orchid leaves. Dark green leaves are attractive, but indicates that there is not enough light.
A grassy green color (light or medium green with yellowish tones) means the plant is receiving sufficient light to bloom.
Where windows with sufficient light are not available, consider developing your orchids beneath artificial lights.
Four (4) foot-long fluorescent tubes that are placed 6 inches apart side by side should do the trick. And two shop-light fixtures with cool-white bulbs will suffice.
The grow lights may bring in much better results, although data on this are inconsistent. Place plants 6 to 8 inches below the tubes.
Put the lights on a timer set to operate the bulbs for 14 to 16 hours a day.
Most orchids, such as phalaenopsis and paphiopedilums, will be satisfied. Orchids that need more light, such as vandas and cymbidiums, however, need natural sunlight or high-intensity discharge lights to bloom.
A fluorescent fixture placed in a dimly lit window adds extra light to natural sunlight too, and can mean the difference between flowers and no flowers. Orchids that do not bloom often means they are in need of more light.
Another difference between orchids and many houseplants is that in nature most orchids experience a big difference between day and night temperatures.
Most orchids originate from a tropical climate, meaning good air, plenty of light, and 12-hour days (365 days a year).
The temperature (depending on the species of orchid) should range between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 to 23.8 degrees Celsius).
Manipulating the temperature of your home is also considered so it will drop at least 10 degrees at night, especially in autumn and winter when most orchids initiate buds, this will induce your orchids to set flower buds more readily.
You can accomplish this by lowering the temperature on the thermostat. This little trick can mean the difference between an orchid plant that merely lives, and one that thrives and flowers.
Many of the orchids tolerate exposure to warmer or cooler temperatures without even suffering damage. The temperature groupings refer to the lowest temperature the orchid prefers during winter nights.
Warm-growing orchids, such as phalaenopsis, mope if the temperatures drop much below 60 F.
Intermediate growers, such as cattleyas, prefer winter nights around 55° F and cool-growing orchids, including cymbidiums and odontoglossums, are accustomed to winter nights of 50 F.
At the other extreme, most orchids perform poorly when exposed to temperatures above 90° F. As with light, some orchids easily adapt to more than one temperature range.
Most orchids are not heavy feeders. Many orchids bloom year after year with no fertilizer at all.
Orchids do not require heavy doses of fertilizer.
However, to maintain healthy plants and see blooms on a regular basis, apply a weak solution of 20-10-20 fertilizer once every week.
During your orchids’ lively growth and when new leaves are being produced, you may fertilize every other time you water at half the strength recommended on the fertilizer package.
Decrease the fertilizer dose to one-quarter the strength recommended on the package and when in doubt, give less rather than more.
Switch to a blossom-booster fertilizer in the autumn, when many orchids are initiating flower buds.
Blossom-booster is a fertilizer ratio with higher phosphorus and lower nitrogen, such as a 10-30-20 formula.
Most orchids are winter bloomers, which makes them even more special as houseplants. They fill an often otherwise flowerless void in the dullest of months.
Peak of orchid bloom usually occurs between December and April.
However, it’s important to distribute water without fertilizer at least once a month to flush excess fertilizer salts from the bark mix and avoid fertilizer burn to the orchid roots.
Most orchids we grow indoors come from the tropics, and most parts of the tropics are much more humid than the average living room. Orchids tend to grow better if you can boost the humidity in their immediate growing area by grouping your plants together, or placing them on a dry well.
Here are some tricks to increase humidity:
Operate a humidifier near the plants;
Place the pots on flat, black pebbles set in a tray in which water is added until it almost covers the stones, group the orchids together; or
Cordon off the growing area with clear plastic.
An orchid is a beautiful and vibrant addition to your home. They might be complicated to take care of, and a bit difficult for some parts, but if you use the tips mentioned above, it will help your orchids to be healthy and will flourish for a long time.