Get the best tips on how to grow and care for orchids from experts. Learn about different types of orchid plants and their ideal growing conditions.

Everything You Need to Know About Growing Orchids

What types of orchid plants are there?

There are over 28,000 different species of orchids currently recognized, and some estimates place the number as high as 50,000; however, many more hybrids have been created through crossbreeding these species. The most popular varieties of orchids include Phalaenopsis (moth), Dendrobium (Thai), Cymbidium, Cattleya (lady slipper), Oncidium, and Paphiopedilum (Slipper).

What temperatures are best for growing orchids?

Orchids prefer warm but not hot temperatures, between 65-85 degrees F during the day and 10-15 degrees cooler at night. During their dormancy in winter, they can tolerate temperatures as low as 50°F (10°C). It is important to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the year.

How much light do orchids need?

Most orchid varieties require bright indirect sunlight, such as what you find near a window that has been filtered through curtains. Shade cloths are often used to diffuse direct sunlight if positioned outdoors. Too much direct light can cause burns and bleaching on the leaves.

How often should I water my orchids?

Most orchid plant varieties need to be watered every 7-14 days, depending on the variety, climate, pot size, and soil type. Water your orchids until you see them come out of the bottom of the pot, ensuring that all the soil is evenly saturated. It is important never to let your orchids sit in standing water as this can lead to root rot.

What type of soil do orchids prefer?

Orchid plants prefer a soilless mixture containing bark, sphagnum moss, perlite, charcoal, and other organic substances. The creation of this specialized soil offers the perfect combination of air, water, and nutrients to keep your orchids healthy and thriving.

What fertilizer should I use for my orchid plants?

Fertilizers specifically designed for orchids are available in both liquid and powder form. Different fertilizer formulations are available for different stages of growth, such as bloom boosters and young plant fertilizers with higher phosphorus content. You will only need to feed your plants every 2-4 weeks during the growing season when temperatures are between 65-90 degrees F (18-32 degrees C).

Do orchids need repotting?

The frequency at which you repot your orchid will depend on its size and growth rate. Generally, orchids should be repotted every 2-3 years or when you notice the roots of your plants becoming too big for the pot.

How often should I fertilize my orchid?

Fertilizing your orchid is an important part of its care routine. During their growing season (typically spring through summer), you’ll want to apply a balanced fertilizer every two weeks at half-strength. In winter, they only need fertilizer once a month at full strength.

Are there any pests that can affect my orchids?

Yes, unfortunately, there are pests such as mealybugs and scale insects that can infest your orchid plants if left untreated. If you notice any pests on your plants, it’s best to immediately use an insecticidal soap or other pesticide.

What should I do if my orchid gets damaged?

If your orchids get damaged due to cold temperatures, too much light, too much water, or insufficient nutrients, you can do a few things. First, remove any dead leaves and stems immediately to prevent the spread of infection. Then provide your plant with proper lighting, nutrition, and consistent watering. Finally, prune away further damage and watch for signs of new growth before repotting in new soil.

How can I encourage blooming in my orchid plants?

The most important factor for encouraging blooms is providing the right environment. Ensure that your orchids get plenty of bright, indirect sunlight and temperatures between 65-85 degrees F during the day and 10-15 degrees cooler at night. Proper fertilization will also help with bloom production. Additionally, let your plant’s roots dry out between waterings to mimic their natural environment as much as possible.

What are some common problems I might encounter while growing orchids?

The most common problem encountered while growing orchids is root rot caused by overwatering, which can cause the leaves of your plants to turn yellow and eventually die off. Repotting when needed and ensuring that your orchid’s roots have time to dry out between waterings can help prevent this issue. Other problems include nutrient deficiency, pests, and too much or too little light exposure.