Orchids have long been a symbol of beauty and love and as a result are often grown by enthusiasts due to their sheer elegance.
However, while having an orchid can really be the finishing touch to any room in the home, the question of how to care for an orchid is a big one.
For many of us, our very first orchid, no matter if its white, yellow or pink, is the beginning of a thriving love affair with the bloom so it’s important to learn how to look after orchids and prolong their life as much as possible.
Listen up and learn the ultimate tips on how to care for the flowers right here!
How to care for orchids
How often should you water an orchid?
Many of us wrongly assume that because orchids are from tropical climes they should be watered several times throughout the week. However, too much water will kill the plant and destroy its roots – so be careful! The general rule for all orchids grown in the home is to water them every five to 12 days depending on the type of orchid and temperature of your home. During the summer months when the temperature is warmer, you should water the orchid more frequently.
How do you feed your orchid?
Orchids need to be fed pretty regularly and professionals recommend a fertiliser that has all the essential nutrients and vitamins the plant requires.
It is worth remembering that orchids will prefer too little fertiliser than too much, so don’t be overly generous with it!
Moreover, you should also water the plant before you fertilise as fertiliser can burn dry roots.
What do you do when your orchid stops blooming?
If your orchid has thick, green leaves that have not wilted or drooped, simply cut the old flower stem, just above the node and just below the lowest flower. If your plant has thin leaves that have drooped a little, you should cut the flower stem all the way down.
You should then carefully water and fertilise your plant to prepare it for future blooms. It’s important to remember that this can take up to a year, so be patient and don’t assume your poor orchid has bit the dust.
How do you know if your orchid is getting enough sunlight?
When you learn how to take care of orchids, it’s important to ensure it is getting enough natural sunlight and the best way to tell is by the colour of its leaves.
Generally, if the orchid is getting enough sunlight, the leaves should be bright green rather than dark green. Dark green indicates the plant is not getting enough sunlight while reddish green means it is getting too much.
The type of orchid you have will depend on how much light it should receive. For example cattleyas, dendrobiums and oncidiums require more light and should be placed in a south facing window while Miltonias, phalaenopsis and paphiopedilums prefer lower light intensities and should be placed away from a window.
How do you know if you need to re-pot your orchid?
A newly potted orchid should be able to live for two years before it needs re-potting. However, if you see roots appearing over the side of the pot and no blooms are showing, it’s time for you to re-pot your orchid.
When re-potting you should be sure to remove any dead roots – these will be dark in colour – centre the plant with all its roots in the pot and add moist soil. You should wait around one week before beginning to water as normal.
What are the most common orchid pests?
When you are learning how to care for orchids, one of the most important things you should learn is the most common pests. Snails and slugs are the most common culprits for damaging orchids while mealybugs are also known for eating the stems and leaves of the plant.
For help on tackling these little pests head on, talk to your local garden centre who can provide you with tips and pellets.
What is the best orchid for growing in the home?
The best and most common orchid found growing successfully in the average home is the phalaenopsis, also known as the moth orchid. This type of orchid is also more likely to re-flower in the average household living environment and they are also a great deal easier to look after. Dendrobiums are also popular and widely available.
Be brave – grow an orchid!
If this is your first time caring for your very own orchid, there’s no need to be afraid. In fact, they are no more difficult to grow that the average houseplant, so no need to panic! Orchids are unique, stunning and absolutely beautiful and this is just one reason they are so popular for homeowners throughout the UK. Absolutely nothing can compare to the graceful elegance of an orchid in your home, placed next to a simple piece of furniture, you can be sure your orchid will stand out from the crowd and lap up the attention.