There’s nothing quite like the appeal of an exotic orchid. Their captivating colors and symmetry bring energy to the home like no other houseplant, however, it’s normal to feel some apprehension around the care of such a delicate-looking plant. Don’t worry, their long spikes and precious petals may look dainty, but indoor orchids are much tougher than they look!
Orchid Care Tips:
There are well over 30,000 species of orchids covering the planet, dwelling on every continent except for the ice of Antarctica, which we certainly can’t blame them for. With such a diverse plant family, it can be challenging to figure out exactly what your orchid needs. However, once you have the basics down, their care can actually be surprisingly simple!
Light: While many try to replicate the dim light of tropical forests, orchids actually enjoy a moderate amount of sunlight, and will prefer a space with bright, but indirect light in your home. Direct sunlight will burn their beautiful leaves. If they’re near the intense brightness of a south or west-facing window, make sure they’re a foot or two from the glass or break up the light with a set of sheers.
Temperature: As an exotic species, many orchid species would thrive in the humid heat of an Iowa summer. However, the moth orchid, one of the most common houseplant varieties, is better suited for life indoors, as it prefers common household temperatures. They’re most comfortable in 70-75℉ during the day and 60-65℉ at night.
When to Water: Overwatering is very much a problem when it comes to orchid care. The key to orchid care is to let the soil dry out almost completely before watering it again. If you stick your finger into the soil and feel moisture, it’s not time yet! While the size of the pot, light levels, and soil type all play a significant factor, the general rule of watering it about once a week, and slightly less in the winter, is a safe estimate.
How to Water: When you do water your plant, it’s very important to water it well with room temperature water until it’s flowing freely from the drainage holes of the pot. While it’s important to water thoroughly, it’s also important not to let the roots sit in a pool of water, as orchids are not fans of having wet feet. Let the excess water drain into the sink or dump the basin soon after watering.
Fertilizer: As long as you provide the ideal light and water conditions, your orchid should bloom beautifully without the need for fertilizers. In their native habitat, they can actually be found growing on trees, so they can get by just fine without the richness of soil. However, you can fertilize monthly if you want to encourage extra blooms. Use a balanced fertilizer at half of the recommended dose, or a blend specifically made for orchids.
How to Rebloom Orchids:
If we’re being honest, orchids aren’t typically grown for their foliage – it’s their vibrant, uniquely-shaped blossoms that trap both our gazes and our hearts. That being said, when their flowers fade, it can be upsetting to see them go. With a little encouragement, though, you can have the blooms returning in no time.
The first step to re-blooming your orchids actually goes back to orchid care. Fostering a healthy plant with strong roots is essential for it to re-bloom, so continuing the growth with adequate light and consistent, deep watering is crucial.
Reblooming orchids should also be exposed to a slightly greater range of daytime vs. nighttime temperatures. Inch them a little closer to their nearest window, where they’ll get more heat during the day and a cool draft at night.
While having a healthy plant is necessary for all orchids, the method of re-blooming can vary. For the moth orchid, we recommend not to cut off the flower spike entirely. Instead, cut just above the highest node on the spike, allowing a new, blooming branch to grow off of the existing spike.
If the spike has already turned brown and there’s evidence of a new leaf, it may be too late for your orchid to reflower during this season. In this case, cut the old, dying spike off completely so your plant puts all of its energy into creating a spectacular show next year!
Orchids make the perfect potted plant, with spikes emerging so strong and tall that even just a few blossoms sitting on top provides enough charm for an entire room. Utterly hypnotizing and truly transcendent, they are a sure way to captivate your houseguests and bring a smile to your face every day!