How to care for your orchids
Orchids are the most elegant indoor potted plant. Many do not know how to care for Orchids in order to keep them blooming. This article will help you to take those first steps in caring for your Orchid.
First Step : Identify your orchid
Their are about 30,000 species of orchids in the world, and more than 100,000 registered hybrids.
The most commonly available for purchase are one of two varieties: Phalaenopsis and Dendrobium.
Phalaenopsis, also called moth orchids have round shape flowers with a notable lip that grow on a single stem and possess oval leaves (as shown on the image, in the Plaisir Cylinder Tan). Phalaenopsis flowers are usually white, purple, pink or yellow with different color combinations, spots, lines and so forth.
Phalaenopsis plant in a Plaisir Tan cylinder box
Dendrobium white flowers and pink roses in a Plaisir Greystone VIP box
Dendrobiums, also called cane orchids, have smaller petals with several flowers growing on one stem (as shown on the image). Dendrobium flowers are typically white, pink or purple. Dendrobium leaves are narrow and emerge from the sides of the stem.
Second step : your bloomed orchid
When you first get your orchid, it will likely be in bloom. Obviously, you want to prolong the bloom as long as possible, here are a few tips that can help. Mostly every Orchid is potted in plastic and packed with bark around the roots. While the current container may not be ideal, you never want to repot a blooming orchid. It’s too stressful on the plant and it will drop the flowers. Instead of repotting, it’s better to hold the orchid in is current plastic pot and keep it in a second designed vase.
– How much water does your orchid needs?
Orchids are made out of roots and don’t use soil, therefore a common mistake is to keep water inside its pot. The best way to know when your orchid needs water is to have a look at the roots. If these feel humid to the touch, wait for 2 or 3 days. Over watering your Orchids will lead to rotten roots.
If your Orchid gets yellow leaves, it means you over-watered them.
When it’s time to water your Orchid, immerse the entire plant (in its plastic container) in a sink filled with water. Keep it immersed for one to two hours. If you forget to water your Orchid for a long time (more than two weeks) you can do the same exercise but keep the plant immersed in water overnight. Carefully, make sure that no water stays inside the pot once you remove it from the sink.
– What about the light?
Orchids require an indirect light. So don’t place them on the window sill.
They don’t like direct sun, direct heat or cold drafts. These three conditions are the worst enemies of exotic flowers.
Third step : After the bloom
After your orchid have lost all their blooms, it’s time to repot your plant into a friendlier container which means a larger pot filled with fresh bark. If the stem has dried, you can cut it where the stem it is still viable.
You can fertilize your exotic plant with water-soluble fertilizer. Every time you water it, just mix the fertilizer with the water. You may also use some home-made fertilizer such as egg shells, potatoes, tea leaves or milk. Each of these natural fertilizers contains nitrogen, potassium, calcium and magnesium giving all necessary vitamins to your Orchid. Then place your Orchid at the nearest window as it now needs a strong but still an indirect light (no direct sun).
And of course, some people are natural Orchid Whisperers and some, no matter what they do, can’t revive this delicate plant. So don’t be too hard on yourself if your Orchid refuses to re-bloom. Do all the steps above, love it, care for it, even talk to it (plants love human voices) and see what happens. And if it still doesn’t re-bloom…well, at least you tried and hopefully you had some fun in the process 😉