What do you need to know about orchids?
With their tropical flowers in multiple colors, shapes, or designs, orchids are unsurprisingly at the top of the most popular houseplants’ ranking.
Native to the tropics, most orchids have aerial roots that wrap around tree trunks, plants, and rocks (they are then called ” epiphytes “), while the exposed parts of the roots trap moisture and nutrients from the ambient air.
The different types of orchids
The majority of orchids are epiphytic, but some can be semi-terrestrial.
Pink phalaenopsis orchid flower
- Epiphytic orchids
- Among the epiphytes, we find the very popular Phalaenopsis, or butterfly orchid, as well as the Cattleya and Oncidium, with bewitching scents.
- Let’s not forget the Vanda orchid, very popular for its large, extravagant flowers. This epiphyte is typically sold and cultivated bare-root, as it occurs in its natural environment.
- Semi-terrestrial orchids
- More down to earth, orchids like the Paphiopedilum, or Sabot-de-Vénus, plunge their roots into the ground.
In the wild, these orchids generally thrive in forest settings.
How to grow your orchids
Orchids are valued for their exquisite blooms. They can also be grown for their seeds, but this requires very specific equipment. Instead, we recommend that you buy flowering plants directly.
Welcome an orchid
Here is the essential material for repotting and maintaining orchids at home:
- Watering can
- A special orchid moisturizer
- Guardians and links
- Orchid fertilizer
- A transparent plastic jar
- The special orchid soil
- A flowerpot (optional)
Why repot orchids after purchase?
This operation allows a regular inspection of your new resident’s roots, to check the condition of the growing medium, and to track down any sign of disease or parasite.
- Carefully remove the plant from its pot, and gently remove the substrate from its roots. For more convenience, run the roots underwater or soak them for ten minutes: they are more flexible and less fragile when wet.
- The aerial roots of orchids are usually pale, with green tips. Above all, please do not remove them; they are necessary for the survival of the plant. On the other hand, dead roots can be pruned with a sterilized cutting tool. To identify a devitalized root, a simple pressure is enough: if the root is firm, it is still alive; if it is soft or withered, the plant can no longer use it.
- Repot in a pot of the same size or slightly larger, making sure the roots are comfortable. The ideal is to provide you with a transparent plastic pot, which will allow you to check the roots’ condition regularly. If the aesthetic doesn’t suit you, use a plant pot for your home.
- Gradually add the new growing medium, tapping the pot to fill the space between the roots. Use a special orchid potting soil because traditional potting soil is not suitable for them. This substrate replaces the earth without suffocating the roots. The special orchid soil consists of a mixture of bark mulch, charcoal, sphagnum moss, and coconut shells. The result is both airy and nourishing and retains moisture for the roots to absorb.
- If desired, use liquid fertilizer once or twice a month and more regularly when the orchid is blooming.
- Once flowering is complete, cut the deflowered stem halfway up with secateurs.
- Plan to repot your orchid every two or four years, depending on the species.
Maintenance according to the type of orchid
- Orchids like Phalaenopsis and Oncidium prefer filtering light, as their leaves can be scorched from direct exposure, especially in hot climates.
- If you consider a place in the sun for your orchid, know that Cattleyas, Vandas, or Dendrobiums are fond of heat and light, even direct. For others, filter the light with curtains or a blind.
- Most orchids will thrive between 18 and 25 ° C. In a cooler room, some species like Dendrobiums suffer and fail to flower.
- Orchids like Cymbidiums and Phalaenopsis prefer a small drop in temperature to encourage flowering. However, keep in mind that, whatever the species, sudden temperature changes can permanently stress the plant.
Maintain your orchid daily
All orchids do not have the same needs: the Phalaenopsis easily forgives watering oversights, while Vandas and Paphiopedilum need a high degree of humidity for good development.
Orchids take up their nutrients and water through their roots, which are exposed to the air in nature. Keeping these roots healthy is therefore crucial for the successful cultivation of your orchids.
Applying fertilizer and watering regularly will result in healthy flourishing orchids, but checking for dead or diseased roots regularly can save their life. Proper ventilation is also vital for root health. Finally, rest assured, it will always be possible for you to make your orchid bloom again in a very simple way by adopting the right gestures.
Always keep these tips in mind: get a pot with ventilation and drainage holes, and water sparingly and wisely.
Choosing the perfect orchid for the home
The best orchid for indoors is often the Phalaenopsis, as it tolerates fairly low light, exhibits long-lasting flowering, and recovers quite easily from irregular watering.
Paphiopedilum also has significant assets. Although it is more difficult to find, its flower can last for months. It often sports mottled foliage, which also makes it a decorative houseplant outside of the flowering period.
If you want to skip the at-home steps, we have a professional company who can step in and help. Simple message or call them on their website at LDNGardening.com