Growing Orchids 101
Growing Orchids Indoors For Beginners
I used to think growing orchids would be very difficult and take up way too much of my time. Luckily, that's not true at all - anyone can grow these exotic and beautiful flowers. The key is to start off with easier to grow varieties and make sure they get the recommended amount of water, light, humidity and fertilizer for their individual type.
In this lens I will cover several easy care orchids ideal for those new to growing this species. Orchids are different from other familiar houseplants.
Unlike ferns or philodendrons, orchids grow on rocks and trees in the wild, not in the ground. In fact, planting an orchid in potting soil and treating it like a houseplant is a sure fire way to kill it.
Growing orchids is more like growing cactus than growing houseplants (with a little extra humidity). They are much tougher than you would think! I'm so glad I finally gave them a try...now I'm hooked on these exotic beauties.
Moth or Phalaenopsis Orchids
Try This Easy Care, Popular Variety
Moth orchids or Phalaenopsis orchids (Pronounced "fail-eh-NOP-sis") pictured above and to the right, are some of the most common, least expensive, easiest to care for, and longest-blooming orchids available. In fact, one bloom spike can look great for four months or more! The flowers come in shades of white, pink, red, green, yellow, orange, and purple.
You must give moth orchids (Phalaenopsis selections) sufficient light - it's important for healthy growth and flower production. Provide bright light, but no direct sun. In the home, an east, west or shaded south window. Water weekly or every other week. They will not tolerate soggy roots, so when you water the water should "whoosh" right through the potting medium.
Promote more and larger blooms by feeding moth orchids monthly with a fertilizer formulated for orchids. The plants do their best in temperatures from 60F to 80F. For most beginners Phalaenopsis / moth orchids are a most rewarding plant because they thrive in conditions found indoors. If you can grow African Violets, you can grow Phalaenopsis orchids.
Orchid Care Books on Amazon
Long Lasting Flowers, Commonly Used in Corsages
Featuring waxy, long-lasting flowers in winter or early spring and an easy-care nature, it's no wonder why cymbidiums (also called "boat orchids") are popular indoor plants.
Cymbidium orchids flower best if given a spot in bright light. In fact, you can even bring them outdoors to a shady spot for the summer.
Water them weekly to keep them from drying out. You can get them to bloom best by fertilizing them monthly in spring and summer. My favorite formula is a 20-20-20 solution. They thrive in temperatures from 50 to 70F. Cymbidium orchids flower best if given cool temperatures -- under 50F -- for a number of weeks, which is why they are usually in bloom in winter.
These orchids are prized for their long-lasting sprays of flowers, used especially as cut flowers or for corsages. There are two main types of cymbidiums - standards and miniatures. The fantastic range of colors for the boat or cymbidium orchids include white, green, yellowish-green, cream, yellow, brown, pink, and red.
Orchid Growing Tip
A good indicator of whether your orchid is receiving too much or too little light is the color of the foliage. The leaves of your orchid should be a light bright green. Dark green leaves indicates that your orchid is not getting enough light, whereas a yellowish coloration indicates that your orchid is getting too much light.
Favorites of Florists For Their Long-Lasting Blooms
Dendrobium orchids are often seen at florists in bouquets since they offer long-lasting blooms (they stay looking good for a month or more) in a wonderful array of colors from white to purple, pink, and even green.
Like most other cultivated orchids, dendrobiums are epiphytes, or air plants...they do not root in soil. Other epiphytes include mosses, ferns and bromeliads.
The Dendrobium varieties prefer a spot in medium to bright light. Water them weekly or every other week and fertilize them monthly with a plant food formulated for orchids. They do best in temperatures from 50F to 70F.
The most common types of dendrobiums keep their foliage all year and bloom on new stems.
It's not necessary to turn your home into a steaming jungle in order to grow beautiful orchids.
How To Get Orchids to Re-bloom - Great Orchid Care Tips in this Video
Require Less Humidity Than Other Orchids
Sometimes called dancing lady orchids, oncidiums offer lots of colorful smallish flowers in clusters of 50 or more. They commonly appear in shades of yellow, purple, red, pink, and white, often with flamboyant, contrasting markings.
Oncidium selections do best in medium to bright light. Water requirements vary with the type of plant. Generally, plants with large fleshy roots or leaves need less-frequent watering than thin-leaved or thin-rooted plants. Watering should be thorough, and the medium should dry at least halfway through the pot before watering again.
Like many houseplants, orchids not actively growing should be watered less; many species have winter rest periods. Feed them monthly in spring and summer with an orchid fertilizer. They do best in temperatures from 50 to 75F.
Some oncidium orchids are wonderfully fragrant. Oncidiums are easy growing orchids that add a cheery note to any room of the house!
Fragrant, Colorful Beauties
You might think of Cattleyas as a corsage orchid, but it's also a wonderful indoor plant, as well as cut flower. Cattleyas are among the most commonly grown orchids, and their culture is often used as the basis for comparison with other types of orchids. Blooms are often fragrant and appear in a wide range of colors, from red to pink, white, yellow, and orange. Some selections feature eye-catching markings in other colors.
Cattleya orchids do best in medium or bright light. Plants should be naturally erect, without need of much staking, and of a medium olive-green color. Dark green, limp foliage indicates too little light.
Water them once a week or two, mature plants must dry out between waterings. Feed them monthly in spring and summer with an orchid fertilizer to get the biggest blooms. They do best in temperatures from 50 to 70F. Cattleya orchids can bloom twice a year and the flowers last for weeks. Make sure they get plenty of light so they rebloom quickly.
Orchid Blooming Tip
Orchids may fail to bloom if night-time temperatures are very close to daytime levels. A two-week period in spring or fall where temperatures at night are kept ten to fifteen degrees cooler than during the day should initiate flower development, assuming the plant receives adequate light.
Orchids For Dummies - eBook Version
Download in Minutes! Great Resource For Orchid Newbies
As anyone who has read Susan Orlean's "The Orchid Thief" or has seen the movie "Adaptation" knows, orchids inspire a passionate following. And their popularity is rising: according to the USDA, more than 12.7 million orchids were sold in the U.S. last year.
Brimming with black-and-white illustrations and eight pages of color photos, this friendly guide introduces would-be orchid fanciers to today's most popular and intriguing orchid varieties and shows step by step how to select healthy plants at a nursery or commercial grower, cultivate them successfully at home, promote blooms, create beautiful orchid displays, and even produce hybrids.
The author, Steven Frowine, worked with orchids professionally as a horticulturist at Hawaii's National Tropical Botanical Garden and at the Missouri Botanical Garden, where he was chairman of indoor horticulture and oversaw over 10,000 plants.
Download this resourceful ebook now:
Orchids For DummiesÂ®
Orchid Growing Tip
Don’t rush to re-pot your plant. Most orchids like to be root-bound, even if some of the roots grow over the sides of the pot or up into the air.
In the marsh pink orchid's faces
With their coy and dainty graces,
Lure us to their hiding places--
Laugh, O murmuring Spring!
~ Sarah Foster Davis, Summer Song