Orchid Care Guide

Famed for its strikingly delicate appearance, the orchid family is one of the largest groups of flowering plants on the planet with around 25,000-30,000 species found on every continent except Antarctica. 

Despite a reputation for being difficult to care for, the ability of orchids to thrive in almost every conceivable environment (particularly within rainforests) across a suspected 80 million years on the planet is a testament to the fact that they are largely misunderstood and inherently resilient flowers. 

Mature orchids can reach up to 12 inches wide and 8-36 inches tall when proper care is given. We’re going to help you make sure that you achieve these impressive and stunning heights with your orchids throughout this comprehensive orchid care guide. 

6 Tips on Orchid Care (especially #5)

Orchids are epiphytes, meaning that they traditionally grow by hanging onto the bark of trees rather than in soil. While some semi-terrestrial orchids like lady slippers do traditionally grow in marsh soil, it’s this difference in growth and care requirements that most commonly leads to misconceptions that orchids require extensive, specialist care. In reality, however, orchid care is surprisingly simple and rests largely on adherence to the following six simple steps.

Well Draining Pots

The fact that they’re epiphytes means that orchid roots are naturally adapted to absorb moisture from the environment rather than in a pot. Pots should therefore be well-draining to avoid sitting water and overwatering that leads to root rot.

Shallow Containers

For the same reason, orchid pots should always be as shallow as the roots can fit in, and preferably clear so that you can observe root growth and repot orchids around every two years as necessary.

Use Bark

While potting soil and sand works for most plants, the best growing media for orchids includes things like redwood or fir bark, and even peat moss or cork that are closer to the tree growth these flowers experience in the wild.

Orchid Watering

Rainforest conditions that are typically humid mean that tropical orchids especially (dendrobium, vanda, ascocenda, etc) should be misted at least once a day alongside sparse watering routines using a spray or humidifier.

Tip: Moth Orchids (the most common orchid sold, should be watered when their roots look greyish in color- if they are green leave them alone.

Fertilizing Orchids

Orchids should be fertilized with a specific orchid mix that includes ingredients like urea at least weekly or bi-weekly during new growth, and monthly or bi-monthly once matured.

Nighttime Tempature

Orchids generally grow best in temperatures of around 65-80°F that mimic rainforest conditions, but generally require at least a 15°F drop at night to encourage flowering.

Not too cold, this will kill your orchid

14 of the Best Orchids to Grow Indoors

  1. Phalaenopsis (moth orchid)
  2. Cattleya
  3. Dendrobium
  4. Ascocenda
  5. Paphiopedilum
  6. Ludisia
  7. Phaius orchid
  8. Vanda
  9. Cypripedium (ladies slipper)
  10. Odontoglossum (butterfly orchid)
  11. Miltoniopsis
  12. Oncidium
  13. Cymbidium
  14. Jewel orchid

More Orchid Care Tips

Even high-light orchids don’t require direct sunlight

Orchid lighting requirements vary so vastly that it’s imperative to research specifics once you know the orchid species that you have. It is vital to note, however, that even high-light orchids rarely require direct sunlight. While some species may be able to withstand sun at certain times of the year, these shade-loving, rainforest dwelling flowers generally require low lighting or exposure to sunlight through dappled shade. 

Take preventive steps against bugs or bacteria

Bugs or bacteria can pose significant risks to orchids, and infected plants should be removed immediately. To avoid infection in even this humidity-loving plant, it’s also essential to take preventive steps using fungicides that may include cinnamon and rubbing alcohol, as well as specific protective products. 

Did you know?

Due in part to their rainforest dwelling, overwatering is the most fatal mistake that owners make with their orchids. In reality, though, most species require minimal watering through the use of ice cubes only when their pots are dry, alongside the humidity/misting mentioned. If roots are green it means that an orchid is healthy and getting enough water, while grey or white roots are a clear sign of dehydration.

Where to purchase Orchids?

Buying from a knowledgeable seller who can help you care for your orchid is always best for ensuring a healthy plant. At Plumeria, we offer expert advice, and quality species like the phalaenopsis orchid to ensure that both flower and owner enjoy a long and lasting relationship together. Browse our collection today and secure yourself a striking orchid that’s as resilient as it would be in the wild!