So much so that there are multiple societies and publications devoted to their conservation and cultivation.
But despite all of this attention given to the orchid, growers shouldn’t be too intimidated to try their hand at nurturing these beautiful blooms.
Like every other plant, it helps to understand the specific needs and conditions they require to grow and thrive.
With that in mind, here are seven fundamental tips to follow when growing orchids—whether you’re experienced or you’re just getting started.
Know what grows best. With nearly 30,000 species of orchids, there is a variety that is well suited for your growing area. Unless you have a greenhouse and have control over humidity and light, being able to offer the orchid conditions in which it naturally thrives is a successful place to begin.
Repot your orchid. Some suggest repotting annually; other say every other year. The most important thing to note is the condition of the potting media. If it starts to break down, becoming more like dirt and less like bark, then it’s time to give your orchid a reset. Wait until after it blooms so as not to disturb its growth cycle.
Water orchids with care. Orchids need to be watered in accordance with a wet-dry cycle that mimics their tropical nature. A drenching once a week to soak the bark in the potting media and the required humidity to dry it out is generally ideal, although you should take into account your growing conditions (such as space) and the needs of the variety. Typically orchids should be watered when the potting media is unmoist, not when bone dry.
Don’t overdo the fertilizer. While you can add nutrients to help support orchids, do it sparingly. These exotic flowers receive very little fertilization naturally, so it is recommended to use fertilizer at half strength—even those labelled as being orchid-specific. Add once a week with water, but take at least one week off per month.
Monitor airflow—and pests. Orchids need ample space to ensure proper airflow. While this is a concern primarily for growers with many plants, allowing air to stagnate can lead to the development of pests. Airflow can dry orchids out more quickly, so check the soil regularly to determine
Make sure orchids get plenty of light. Orchids love the light, which is no surprise because of their tropical nature. For best results, 12 to 14 hours is recommended, and this can include both natural and artificial sources. South- and east-facing windows are often the best options for receiving enough sunlight indoors, but full-spectrum bulbs are a good all-around pick for many orchid varieties.
Have questions about your orchid-growing needs? We at Gothic Arch Greenhouses can help you select all the supplies and accessories—and even greenhouses—to get growing. Call us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to get started.