Orchids are some of the most commonly grown houseplants. Provided they have proper growing conditions, it isn’t difficult to learn how to take care of orchid plants.
It is very important to choose the right orchid types that grow easily and that are low maintenance. Best beginners orchids are Phalaenopsis, Odontoglossum, Oncidium and Miltonia.
With the following tips and orchid care instructions you should have no problem to succeed with these easy grow orchids.
Light & Location
Orchids need bright but not necessarily direct light. I have tested this for several years. The moth orchids will tolerate direct sunlight during the winter only, but not at all during the summer. Hot, summer direct sunlight will scortch the orchid leaves and quickly kill your plant. The optimal location for orchids is either a southern or western exposure with bright yet indirect light.
Orchid potting mix has to be coarse. It has to allow a lot of air through it. Remember, most orchids are epiphytes and don’t grow in regular soil. As a beginner with orchid growing it is best to buy a pre-mixed orchid potting mix when repotting orchids.
Humidity & Watering
Orchids love humidity but will not tolerate overwatering. Over watering is the number one reason for plant death. There are a few watering methods that you can try.
One is the ice cube watering method which suggests adding 3-5 ice cubes per week to the top of the soil. This method allows for the slow melting of the ice cube and suggests maximum absorbtion of the water into the loose, wood chip based soil.
The other watering method is to simply drizzle 1/4 cup of water each week or so slowly onto the top soil of the orchid plant and allow any excess water to drain out below.
Because the orchids thrive in high humidity it doesn’t hurt to mist them with water from time to time, especially in the dry winter months or wipe the dust off their leaves with a wet cloth. But if you are not feeling so attentive, then consider keeping your orchid in a bathroom (which ample sunlight of course). Orchids love that steamy shower moisture!
As a beginner with growing orchids it is best to buy a special orchid fertilizer. These are not as strong as regular fertilizers and formulated to suit the delicate orchid roots. Dilute the fertilizer in accordance to the instructions on the pack. Feed your orchid every third watering.
The best orchid planter is a plastic pot! They are better than clay pots. These are porous and water evaporates constantly through them leaving behind salts. These salts burn and damage the delicate roots of the orchids. Shallow orchid pots are ideal for epiphytes.
You sometimes find wooden or plastic basket orchid planters which are also suitable. They are great for hanging orchids. You can also use water plant/water lily pots. These allow air into the potting mix which is ideal for root health. You might have to line these pots with some netting to prevent the compost from washing out when you are watering the plants.
After bloom care for orchids
Remove any withered flower stems. Some orchids like Phalaenopsis can rebloom on the same stem again. Cut them back only as far as they die back. Most orchids need a rest period after the growth season. Reduce watering and feeding during this time. You will know when the rest period is over if you see new growth of foliage or flower stems. Start watering and feeding more frequently again then.