OUR TIPOrchids are tropical plants: to grow and produce their magnificent flowers, they need abundant light but in a place where they are not overheated by the sun’s rays.
Colorful and elegant, orchids are the perfect plant to give a touch of class to any home. Like all flowering plants, orchids need special care and attention to make sure they flower and re-flower year after year. Follow this short but useful guide of how to care for orchids at home and you will learn to embrace the rhythm of the particularly beautiful plants.
How to Grow and Care for Orchids at Home
- Make sure to position the plant in a south-facing room, to get the best light.
- To ensure the roots don’t dry out, don’t expose the orchid to direct heat.
- Water the plant regularly, but with small amounts of water. Generally once a week in colder months, and twice a week during the warmer summer season. This way, you prevent the roots from rotting.
- Pay attention to how you water: instead of using a traditional watering can, use a spray bottle to spritz the water inside the plant pot.
- Caring for orchids at home requires consistency and time: clean the leaves of the plant every day to prevent dust from obstructing absorption of sunlight by the plant.
- Periodically check the plant to make sure it isn’t carrying parasites. You can find some natural solutions for parasite control here.
photo © mybeautifulcookbook.com
Light, temperature, and soilThe first thing to consider when growing orchids at home is exposure to light. Orchids are tropical plants: to grow and produce their magnificent flowers, they need abundant light but in a place where they are not overheated by the sun’s rays.
The ideal position, as long as the plant receives enough light for flowering, is behind a light curtain that will filter the sunlight, to prevent the plant from burning. If you’re missing natural light in the home, you can use lights that replicate sunlight, such as LED grow lights. These are best as they are cold, colored lights that won’t burn the leaves but will stimulate the plant in the correct way.
The best temperature for orchids is between 20°- 25°C but typically they can tolerate heats up to 35°C or as low as 16-17°C. Don’t forget that the humidity can influence the orchid’s growth: a high level of humidity can cause stains on the flowers of the orchid, while too little moisture in the air can damage the leaves, making them yellow and shriveled.
With the correct light, humidity and temperature, it’s possible for the orchid to flower 3 to 4 times in one year.
Orchids love a soil that is soft and unstable. You can make an ideal mix for growing orchids by mixing pieces of peat moss and bark with coconut fiber and if you want, even polystyrene. The soil should drain well, and allow for proper aeration of the root system.
Repotting your orchidRepot your orchid only if it meets these three conditions.
- The pot is no longer able to hold the plant
- The soil is rotting.
- Parasites or mold are evident.
One last bit of advice on growing and caring for your orchid in the house: to stimulate flowering, subject the orchid to a mild thermal shock. Bring the night temperature down to 16° for two weeks. At the same time, give the orchid a fertilizer with a high amount of phosphorus and potassium and make sure that the plant is exposed to less intense light than usual.
Banner photo © mybeautifulcookbook.com