How To Grow Orchids
Learn how to grow orchids at home. Orchid are delicate, beautiful flowers that in most cases require specialized care in a greenhouse.
Orchids are delicate, beautiful and temperamental flowers that in most cases require specialized care in a greenhouse. But there are hundreds of varieties that will thrive right in you home when given the right amount of humidity, light and warmth. Since most orchids are classified by their nighttime temperatures which range from cool at 50 degrees fahrenheit to 55 degrees fahrenheit, to intermediate at 55 degrees fahrenheit to 65 degrees fahrenheit, to warm at 65 degrees fahrenheit to 70 degrees fahrenheit, you should begin growing orchids with the easy to grow intermediates.
Intermediates such as the paphiopedilums, phalaenopsises and cattleyas are warm but adaptable. The paphiopedilums are ground growing orchids much like the epiphytes, which are plants that grow perched on trees and other plants. Most of this type of orchid have thick stems called pseudobulbs and rise from a horizontal rhizome. If the orchid you choose to grow is a coelogynes, they grow best in a cool, sunny room. Be sure you place your orchids on a window sill with filtered, bright light. Never place them in direct sunlight, with the only exception to this being at midwinter. Most orchids will require at least 10 hours and no more than 16 hours of light every day to flower. During this winter months you may have to supplement the sunlight by placing a plant light approximately six inches above your plants. When doing this the light should be left on for no more than 6 hours.
Most orchids only need moderate watering during the growing period. If you are unsure about watering your orchid, the top inch of soil should completely dry out before you re-water your plant. The exception to this is the cattleyas, in which the soil should be almost completely dried out before re-watering and the coelogynes which needs to be thoroughly moist all during the growing period. Every third time you water your orchids, plant food should be added to the water to insure they are getting the proper nutrients. Like most flowering plants, during the fall months orchids need to be moderately and not fed so they will have a proper rest period. Since all orchids need a high humidity area to grow in it is wise to stand the pots on trays filled with pebbles and keep the pebbles covered with water at all times. But never allow an orchid to sit in standing water since too much moisture can cause the roots to rot. All orchids need to be misted twice a day.
Ground growing orchids should always be planted in standard pots using a mixture of equal parts top soil, shredded fir bark, coarse perlite and peat moss as your potting medium. Epiphyties will need to be attached to a piece of rough bark or tree fern stem. They will also do well when planted in a mixture of 1 part coarse perilite, 1 part peat moss and 7 parts shredded fir bark. All orchids need to be repotted every two years during the spring. When you do this you should very gently shake away any old potting soil from the roots and remove any dead roots before re-planting. When the orchid you are growing has a rhizome, it should be placed on top of the potting mix. Be sure you place it in such a way that the oldest pseudobulb is placed near the edge of your pot with the growing point facing the middle. Then gently pack the potting medium around the feeding roots.