How To Keep Your Orchids Healthy and Thriving

While many people are still hesitant to purchase orchids, they’ve became more popular than ever. These beautiful, exotic tropical flowers have a bad reputation for being hard to take care of. But, with a little extra care, almost anyone can keep orchids alive and flourishing.

Orchid

Orchid

The most important part of keeping an orchid healthy is to start out with a healthy plant. When shopping for an orchid make sure that the pseudo bulb is nice and firm. Check the plant to make sure that there are lot’s of new shoots and that the leaves don’t have brown spots. The more blooms a plant has the healthier it is.

Purchase orchids depending on where you plan to keep the flower, orchids are classified into several temperature ranges, there are warm, temperate and cool orchids. Older plants are more established and will also have a better chance at survival, although they are generally a little more expensive.

Orchids normally only need watering about every 4 to 7 days, but it will depend on the season, the temperature of your home and even the amount of sun that the plant receives. The best way to check the plant is to insert a pencil into the soil, if the pencil is dry when you remove it, the plant needs to be watered. But, it the pencil is damp, don’t water it and just keep checking the soil.

The best type of fertilizer is one that is made especially for orchids. You can fertilize them once a week with a diluted solution. Following the directions on the container, only use half of the recommended amount of fertilizer when mixing it with water.

Although, orchids seem to like to be root bound, they will eventually need to be repotted. When choosing a new pot, make sure that there is only about an inch between the pot and the root ball. Remove all of the old soil from the container very carefully so that none of the roots get damaged.

Rinse the roots thoroughly with water and trim off any of the roots that feel mushy. Gently press the soil around the plant, pushing to hard can damage the fragile roots. If the plant is too heavy, place a stick inside the pot and tie the plant to it for support. Orchids shouldn’t be watered for at least three days after you’ve repotted them.

To help provide the right amount of humidity for orchids, you mist them daily. Misting should be done early in the morning or afternoon, misting them too late in the evening won’t give them enough time to dry before the temperature cools down. And, the cooler air can damage wet leaves.

During the dryer winter months, the plant can be placed in an evaporation tray. Just fill the tray with stones and water and set it near the plant. As the water evaporates into the air, it will supply humidity to the plant. Make sure that you clean the stones every few months to remove any bacteria or algae that may be growing on them.

Most types of orchids do best if kept in areas with medium lighting. They should receive around four hours of bright sunlight every day. The best way to tell if your plant is getting enough light is by checking the leaves. If the plant is getting sufficient light, there will be some reddish colored spots on the leaves.

Too much light will cause the leaves to yellow and they’ll wither and die. It will also cause the leaves to fade and become covered with beige spots. Too little light and the leaves will be a dark green, although dark green is associated with being healthy, with orchids it means that it’s not getting the right amount of light to be able to bloom!

Written by Connie Corder, Copyright 2008 HousePlantsForYou.com

10 Comments

  1. Rich
    Feb 6, 2009

    My wife likes to buy live orchids. Sometimes they do well for a few months but she can never seem to get one to stay nice and healthy. From what I gather it takes considerable know how and extra effort to grow orchids.

    • Jaylen
      Dec 12, 2011

      If only there were more cleevr people like you!

    • Bruna Vani
      Jul 30, 2012

      there are lots of tips in the internet how to keep your orchids healthy…

      Good luck!

  2. Susan Cuthbert
    Apr 7, 2009

    I live in Bolivia and just purchased what looks like an orchid vine. The grower has an entire garden of orchids and takes clippings, puts them on wood blocks and lets the roots grab the wood and grow. He tells me I can just attach the block I bought to a tree or a wood pole or something and they will take off and grow.

    Taken by the possibilities for such beauty growing in my garden, I bought it. But now I’m wondering how the thing will hold water or get nutrients. Have you ever seen anything like this before? Any advice?

    • Bruna Vani
      Jul 30, 2012

      Hello dear, I have many orchids attached to fern trees and other trees in my garden, they are very hard plants and do not require much care.
      They usually will attached to the tree trunk and feed from it, remember to spray water at it during the hot sunny weather, early morning or evening.
      They wont die at the winter temperatures and they will bloom like crazy as soon the weather get warm again.

      Good Luck! ;)

  3. Vickey
    Jun 14, 2009

    My daughter gave me a Orchid plant for Mother’s Day. It says to put three ice cubes a week for watering. But all of the blooms fall off. So I repotted it. But the stem is looking a little brown. Have I killed it? Please help. Thank you.

    • Bruna Vani
      Jul 30, 2012

      Hello I hope you’re well…

      Orchids don’t like ice cubes.. keep your orchid in a pot where the water can go true it, once the water is well drained put the orchid back in its original place do not water more ten once every 7-10 days, but you can spray some water on really hot dray days, in the roots only.
      They usually like a warm position, close to a window but not direct sun light, also they like air movement not wind, so remember to keep some of your windows open allow some breeze in.
      There are many type of orchids, you can search in the internet witch one is yours and what is the best way to keep it.

      I hope it will help :)

  4. Pasha
    May 5, 2010

    I have had an orchid now for five years “know on wodd” and it is beautiful! I have made the watering easy by putting in a violet pot. It’s a pot that is two. One sit inside the other and the bottom one hold the water. Some how the orchid gets just enough water. It has lived a long and happy life. I get so excited when it blooms because they are bright pink flowers and it just makes me smile. The light that it receives is very middle for the first approx. six hours and then very intense the last three. I also have repotted it once maybe twice since I have owned it. You also need to cut the blooming stem at a half way pint from the bottom and top top have it re bloom properly. Good luck and I hope this helps out all you orchid lovers!

  5. mary lou hively
    Dec 28, 2010

    my daughter gave me an ice cube orchid that never bloomed. in 2 months i had 13 booms on it. now the booms are dropping off. do i cut the stems back down even with the pot for it to start all over again?and what are those pale round green limpy things growing up out of the pot?

  6. MARY
    Sep 28, 2012

    help – when the orchids grow new roots and they are sticking out of the dirt do I need to repot the plant so these new roots will be under the dirt/bark??

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