Orchids are everywhere. Pick up any home decorator magazine or watch TV, and you’re bound to see an orchid gracing any well-dressed room. Exotic and elegant, colorful and unique, a single flower makes a bold statement.
Contrary to popular belief, Orchid plants are relatively easy to grow. Proper watering is the key to success. Too much water is as detrimental as not enough. Overwatering is the number cause of death of orchids in the home. Unlike many houseplants that like an even, consistent moisture, most Orchids thrive with a bit of neglect. Most need to dry out between waterings, which is about once a week. This varies depending on the season and stage of growth. Generally, water the plant when the pot feels light.
Air circulation is important. Specially designed orchid pots with holes or slits in the sides of the containers are ideal for growing orchids. Growing medium should be porous, well drained, and somewhat moisture retentive. Depending on the genus, use pure sphagnum moss or a bark mixture amended with peat, perlite or charcoal.
Most orchids benefit from increased humidity. Create a sub-environment in your home by placing the orchids on a humidity tray. Elevate orchid pots on a layer of gravel, rock or even over-turned clay saucers to keep plants from sitting in water.
Fertilize orchids every week with a weak solution, one-quarter to one-half of manufacturer’s recommendations, of a balanced 20-20-20. For a customized program, switch to high nitrogen (30-10-10) fertilizer during the growing season (April thru September) and use blossom booster (10-30-20) from October through March. While in bloom, orchids can survive in virtually any location in your house. Enjoying the beauty of the flowers is the best benefit of growing orchids. Place your plant in a promi- nent place in your home or office, so you’ll receive maximum enjoyment.
Learn more about Caring for Orchids
Here’s a closer look at several popular orchid varieties:
Large showy flowers in white, lavender, purple, yellow and red. Cut flowers commonly used as corsages. Orchids bloom once a year for several weeks at a time.
Tall stems of gorgeous flowers in white, pink, red, green or yellow. They bloom once a year for 30 to 45 days or more. They’re primarily available October through April and again in July through August.
Easy to grow, and available in white, yellow, green, pink, red, purple, stripes or spots. They usually bloom at least two months and sometimes up to five, once or twice a year.
Commonly known as the pansy orchid, featuring breathtakingly beautiful flowers. Many are fragrant.
Small distinct and airy blooms on tall stems. Easy to grow, and available in yellow, red, mahogany. They bloom one to twice time a year for 30 to 45 days each.
Also known as Lady Slipper. Compact plants usually produce single flower.
Commonly known as the moth orchid, one of the most popular and easiest to grow orchids. They’re available in a multiple of colors: white, yellow, pink, red, purple, or with stripes or spots, and will last at least two months, and can go up to 6 month or more with subsequent blooming.