Orchids are Easier to Grow Than You Think

If you are new to the world of orchids, don’t be afraid of them. Many orchids can be easy to grow if you take some time to learn what they need. Orchid care is not difficult; it is just different. Orchids have a reputation for being difficult to grow when in fact many varieties make excellent houseplants. With proper care an orchid can be in bloom for months each year and can live indefinitely. In this respect orchids are an excellent value as far as blooming plants go. A well cared for and varied orchid collection can provide continuous bloom every day of the year. Good orchid care requires just some basic knowledge about orchids and how they grow:

● Most orchids require water once a week. Avoid over watering as this can lead to root rot.

● Position your orchid in a bright (but not direct sun) windowsill facing east or west.

● Weekly/Weakly (1⁄2 strength) feeding with a fertilizer designed for orchids.

● Repotting in fresh Orchiata mix when your orchid stops blooming.

Obviously, orchids do not grow in pots in the wild. We put them in pots for our convenience. The secret to growing healthy orchids is to grow healthy roots. Ordinary potted plants are judged by their leaf growth. For orchids, the root growth is the best indicator of the health of the plant. Because obtaining a good moisture balance is so very critical to optimal orchid care many orchid growers choose clear orchid pots so that it is easier to see when the roots are thriving and when they are not.

Pot your orchids in the smallest pot that the roots will fit in.  An orchid grows best in what appears to be a ridiculously small pot, so resist the urge to go up a pot size any more than is absolutely necessary to hold the roots. Clear plastic pots make it easy to see the roots and to see when to water. When watering, flush the plants with water freely, getting needed oxygen to the roots. Many people take orchids to the sink in order to flood them with water periodically. It is oxygen to the roots that orchids need and they will get it from a combination of a good open mix and proper watering habits. Orchids do not like ‘wet feet’ but they do very much like humidity. As a result, when grown inside a home, orchids are often placed on humidity trays. Achieving a good balance of humidity and air movement is one of the goals of successful orchid care. The key to orchid watering is not to over-water. The easiest way is to bring the orchid to the sink and run water liberally through the mix. In some cases, one can water an orchid on its humidity tray. Once the orchid has been watered it should go back to its growing space until the next watering where you can enjoy watching it thrive, and bloom again and again.

For more information or questions on orchids. My source for this article was Wendy Graveman at ThePurpleOrchid19@gmail.com  You can find her at Pinecone Home and Garden, 4136 MLK here in New Bern.

Judi Lloyd lives in River Bend and can be contacted at judilloyd@yahoo.com

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