Five Tips on Caring for Orchids
Having orchids growing in your house is a wonderful addition to any homes decor. Though caring for orchids isn’t that difficult, there is more to it than just putting it in a pot and waiting for it to bloom beautifully. Here are some tips to help you care for orchids properly.
Similar to other plants, orchids need sunlight to grow. They should be exposed to filterd sunlight throughout the day. Avoid the midday sun, since this is too harsh for the orchids. It is a good idea to place them in an east facing window so they can bask in the early morning rays while avoiding the harsh noon light. You can also make use of indoor fluorescent lights to simulate sun exposure. Make sure to limit the exposure to daytime hours though, as the plants also need a break from light during the night.
Orchids produce beautiful blooms by producing energy in the day when the temperature is higher, while storing energy during the night when it is colder. This is essential for your orchids to bloom. Without this temperature fluctuation, your plants may turn to leaf growth and not produce flowers.
Ideal day temperatures for your plants range from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, though orchids can withstand up to 90 to 95 degrees as long there is good humidity and circulating air. At night, the ideal temperature for optimum growth is between 60 to 62 degrees. It will not harm your plant though to be exposed to temperatures as low as 55 degrees.
Though different varieties of orchids may have different water requirements, generally, your plants need to be watered at least once a week. The frequency of watering orchids also depends on the potting mixture used. If bark is your potting media, you may need to water more often. Using sphagnum moss, however, will let you water less frequently, as this retains more water.
Good drainage is essential as the roots will rot if continuously exposed to standing water. You can keep the flowers moist by spraying them with water occasionally—this simulates a humid environment, which many orchids like. Use distilled water because tap water may leave deposits on your plant.
To keep your orchids blooming for a long time, it’s a good idea to add orchid fertilizer to your plants right before they bloom. This ensures that the plants have enough nutrients to grow and flourish.
Make sure to use fertilizer that is formulated for orchids. A good fertilizer is one that contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, all of which are needed for healthy growth, production of flower and fruit development.
If bark is your potting media, you may need more nitrogen rather than phosphorus or potassium because bark is filled with bacteria that use up a lot of nitrogen. A good proportion would be 30-10-10.
Learn the specific requirements of your orchid
Each orchid variety has specific requirements needed in caring for them, so you should learn a bit about the plant you bought and what it needs to thrive. Cattleyas, for example, are epiphytic orchids that come from tropical regions. Because of this, they enjoy day temperatures between 75 to 85 degrees, and 55 to 65 degrees during the night. They like humidity, flourishing at a level of 50 to 60 percent. They also need a good amount of circulating air for the prevention of fungal infections.
Follow these tips and you will be successful in caring for your orchids and you'll have beautiful, fragrant flowers to enjoy right in your very own home.