orchid care 101 how to keep them thriving

Orchids, of the Orchidaceae family, are known for having bright blooms and a fragrant scent. The beautiful flowers are known for having structural variations in their blooms. In nature, they typically grow in the tropics on trees and shrubs; however, there are variations that live in grasslands or in forests. They are originally native to regions in Asia and Australia, but today the majority of neotropical orchids are found in Central America, South America, and countries along the Andes Mountains. 

Orchids are not any average plant, they are diverse and easily distinguishable from others. All orchids are perennials that can grow in two patterns: monopodial and sympodial. Monopodial orchids grow from a single bud and grow vertically.  Sympodial varieties produce multiple shoots and grow horizontally. 

Want to try cultivating Orchids but scared that they are too exotic?  Don’t worry – orchid care is not as hard as you may think.  

Step 1: Know Your Plant

Before anything else, you must know exactly which type of orchid you have. There are so many variations that thrive in different conditions so make sure to research exactly which type you’ve purchased. The most commonly found variety in greenhouses is the Phalaenopsis Orchid, but there are others such as Cattleya and Dendrobium as well.

Step 2: Set a Watering Schedule

When it comes to orchid care, overwatering is worse than underwatering. Soggy soil causes the roots to rot. The trick for orchids is to try and water them the day before they dry out. The finger test will tell you if your orchid is thirsty.  The soil should always be “evenly moist” – not soggy, not wet – moist.

Step 3: Light It Up

Without enough light, many orchids will fail to bloom. Here’s a trick for you: if the foliage is a dark green, it needs more sun. A well-sun-exposed orchid will have yellow-green foliage.

Step 4: Keep It Airy 

Orchid roots desperately need aeration. This is why most orchids are typically grown in bark. Orchids also need excellent drainage so make sure that the pot it is in has drainage holes. 

Step 5: Find The Right Fertilizer 

Orchids will grow and flower without fertilizer for a while; however, you and your orchid will be happier if you provide some level of feeding. In the summer, fertilize your orchids weekly with a liquid fertilizer recommended for Orchids. In the fall and winter, twice a week is best. The best fertilizer for orchids are fertilizers that contain little to no urea.

Orchids are beautiful plants that create a light, airy feeling wherever they are. Sometimes their care can be difficult but like with any plant, they require close observation. Make sure to check on your orchid regularly. Are its stems weak? Do you notice wilting? Is it having trouble flowering? Make observations based on its behavior and change yours accordingly. If you’re really concerned about your orchid, feel free to stop by the nursery and speak to one of our greenhouse specialists. We’re always happy to help. Happy planting!