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A Complete Guide to Orchid Care for Beginners

A Complete Guide to Orchid Care for Beginners

Orchid care is different from the standard houseplant care protocol, but even beginners can successfully grow these exotic flowering plants indoors. Most orchids are epiphytes, which means they don’t grow in soil—they have aerial roots and cling to trees or other plants in the wild. As houseplants, we keep them in pots of loose, chunky potting mix instead of soil. Keeping them alive and reblooming every year is simple if you follow these steps!

A Complete Guide to Orchid Care for Beginners

Mastering Orchid Care Indoors

Too often, people purchase orchids and treat them like disposable plants, tossing them out after their blooms fade. However, with some care and patience, you can expect your plant to bloom several times! Here’s how to keep them happy and healthy at home indoors for many years to come.

A Complete Guide to Orchid Care for Beginners

Watering Orchids

You may have heard the common technique of watering orchids by placing a single ice cube on top of their growing medium and allowing it to melt. We don’t recommend this approach—the cold ice can shock their roots, and it doesn’t thoroughly saturate them.

A much better watering method is to carefully scoop the plant from the pot, run the roots under the faucet until thoroughly moistened, gently shake off the excess, and place it back in the pot. If your plant pot has drainage holes, you can water it directly and let the excess drain out the bottom. Always wait for the growing medium to dry out completely before watering again.

A Complete Guide to Orchid Care for Beginners

Sunlight and Soil

Since orchids cling to trees in their native habitat, they’re accustomed to sitting underneath a nice, shady canopy. Direct sunlight will be far too harsh for this tropical plant, and its leaves will get bleached and crispy. Put your orchid where direct sunbeams won’t reach it—ideally, an east or north-facing window or a window that gets some tree shade. A sheer curtain can also help to diffuse the intensity of the light coming in from a West or South-facing window.

As we mentioned earlier, most orchids don’t grow in soil. A loose, chunky potting mix with lots of clean, chunky fir bark will work perfectly. Our garden center in Orange County carries potting mediums made specifically for orchids, and they’re fortified with lots of beneficial nutrients to help your plants grow strong and steadily.

A Complete Guide to Orchid Care for Beginners

Encouraging Your Orchid to Bloom Again

You’ll need to do a few things if you want your orchid to bloom again. Once its flowers fade, you’ll want to prune the stem right above its top node—the bumpy parts along the flower stem where new growth emerges. From there, the stem will usually continue to grow and eventually bloom again. You’ll likely need to provide some structural support as your plant grows taller, as its slender, arching stem will struggle to hold itself upright. Insert a slender stake or skewer into the potting medium, and use tiny plant clips, yarn, or string to fasten the stem to the stake without injuring it.

Temperature changes from morning to evening are necessary to encourage flowering. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your plant somewhere that hovers around 70–75°F during the day, then drops to 60–65°F at night—about the same temperature that people like.

Orchids don’t need very much fertilizer, and a little goes a long way. To encourage flowering, fertilize once per month from March to September with a water-soluble, well balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength.

Orchid care is such a satisfying hobby. As soon as those new, fresh blooms emerge, you’ll be bursting with excitement! Roger’s Gardens has plenty of Phalaenopsis orchids for sale, as well as some rare and exotic cultivars, so visit us soon to see what’s available now.

For more information on how to care for your orchid, view these videos from our YouTube channel: How to Care for and Maintain Phalaenopsis Orchids, How to Repot Your Phalaenopsis Orchids, or All about Orchids.