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In this article, we are going to cover the basic tips for how to care for orchids:
* Background on orchids
* Basic care instructions
* Before and after the blooms
Background on Orchids
The orchid family is a diverse group of flowering plants. The blooms are often very colorful and fragrance. Orchids are one of the largest groups of flowers, with over 28,000 species making them up. Additionally, there are over 100,000 hybrids and cultivars produced from this family alone.
Although there are so many different species of orchids, there remain some characteristic features that help to distinguish them from other flowers. Orchid flowers are often upward-facing or resupinate. They also exhibit bilateral symmetry, have a modified petal, very small seeds, and fused stamens and carpels. Besides these common features, flowers do show some structural variation. Orchids appear in all the continents, with the most diversity in tropical regions such as tropical Asia, Africa, and America.
Orchids have many uses and are cultivated as ornamental flowers and for use in perfumes. This takes place primarily in tropical and sub-tropical regions. You may also find a few orchid types being grown in colder or more temperate regions.
Basic Care Instructions
Growing orchids is very popular all over the world and often as indoor potted plants. There are even many orchid growing clubs. To be successful with growing these lovely plants, it’s important first to understand their basic requirements for flourishing.
To do well with orchids, you must understand four things about their requirements as far as water, growing medium (which covers soil and fertilizer), and sunlight. All flowers require these, but the specifics for orchids are important to know if you want to grow them successfully. These are all broken down further in the next sections. Orchids also have a few other specific growing requirements, and these are covered in depth.
In terms of water requirements, orchids require a humid environment. The growing medium must be moist enough but not to the point of being waterlogged. It should also have good drainage. Overwatered plants start to look droopy. These can be moved to a sunnier room to help them recover. Watering requirements vary with the environment, but you should always water the soil and not the plant. You can test the soil to make sure you’re not adding too much water too often. If the leaves start yellowing, that’s a sign you need to cut back.
To increase the humidity of the environment where your orchids are growing, you can spritz the leaves with a mist of water every so often. Take care not to spritz the flowers as this could cause them to become moldy. Another option is to place the plant on top of a container of most gravel.
In terms of sunlight, orchids do best with at least 6 hours of bright shade or indirect sunshine a day. This applies to both indoor and outdoor orchids and is crucial for the plants to remain healthy. When you position your orchids indoors, pay attention to which windows provide sunlight access. If there is too much sun exposure for much of the day, this can cause the plant to dry out and die. This is the case with south and west-facing windows. With north-facing windows, there may not be enough sun, while with east-facing ones, there is usually just enough sunlight so as not to overheat the plant.
For an even healthier growing media, we recommend that you add fertilizer once a month. Doing this should be only a quarter strength of what the product package recommends. Any fertilizer or plant food is fine to use.
Different growing media can be used with orchids; it all depends on your preferences. Common choices include ground-up tree bark or moss. There is also a range of orchid potting mixtures that are available for sale. Regular potting mixtures do not work, however, because they can kill the plant by suffocating the root system. Another medium option is mixing up your own.
Before and After the Blooms
Under normal conditions, orchids only produce flowers once a year. For about a month, these flowers bloom continuously. Some species bloom during the winter, while others do so in spring. The bloom period for most varieties is around August or September. It’s possible to get the orchids to bloom again with a few tricks. As the end of the blooming period approaches, you can prune the flower portion of the plant away. This should be done at the node just below the first flower. This tricks the orchid into blooming once more. You can continue doing this to get the plant blooming all year. Doing this works particularly well if you can replicate the water and light conditions that were there during bloom.
You may find that at some point in their lifespan, your orchids may go dormant. If you find that all of the flowers drop off, this is normal and nothing to be worried about. Your orchids are going to bloom again in a year. If the flowers don’t bloom again, this signifies that the plant has gone dormant. One of the reasons for this could be that the roots are stifled, and a new growing medium is required. Before you re-pot the plant, you should prune all dead stems and roots. This is something you are likely to have to do every 2-3 years. Once you have changed the medium, a new stem can grow, and you should have flowers again in the next blooming season.
Taking care of orchids isnt difficult once you understand the water, medium, and light requirements. Some species of orchids have different requirements from the rest, such as more sunlight or more humidity. For the beginner, it’s better to stay with more common orchid species.