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An interesting fact about Orchids is that it’s one of the oldest blooming plants family. Amazing, right? Orchid plants come in various colors and shapes, and they are found all over the world. As a result, specialists believe that the Orchid species have existed since before the continents split!
There are approximately 880 different Orchids (called genera) and over 22,000 species in the Orchid family. Most Orchids are tropical plants that thrive as epiphytes (also known as “air plants”) attached to trees for support. Lithophytes, or “rock plants,” are Orchids that grow on or around rocks. The remaining Orchids are terrestrials that thrive in the jungle’s loamy debris.
Now, to be honest, it’s difficult to provide generic Orchid care advice with such a diverse and rare plant family. But don’t lose hope yet! We’ve gathered some of our most exemplary ideas for keeping these lovely flowering plants happy and healthy to help you acquire confidence in caring for them. Read more below to find it out!
Orchid Plant Care Basics
Before we begin, we’ve provided a table that sums up Orchids. Take a look at it first:
Botanical name: Orchidaceae
Another name: Moth orchid, Lady’s slipper, Orchidaceous plant
Plant type: Some are epiphytes, lithophytes, and terrestrial
Exposure to sunlight: May vary from bright to bright, indirect light
Soil type: Well-draining
Color: Come in various hues of blue, red, pink, white, purple, yellow, orange, and green
Favorable climate: May vary
Preferable fertilizer: 20-20-20 fertilizer
Propagation: Vegetative propagation
Toxicity warning: Most varieties are non-toxic
Height: 8-36 inches
Origin: They may be traced back to 500 BC in China, Greece, and Rome.
Now that’s a wrap-up, I guess. No time to dilly-dally, we will now give you the best tips on how to take care of these Orchids. Enjoy reading!
Recommended Potting mix
The Phalaenopsis orchids grow on trees as epiphytes in their natural habitat. So, they need potting material that looks like or comes from a tree, such as ground fir tree bark or redwood bark chips, instead of conventional soil. The majority of bark potting medium will suffice. Ensure to include some perlite, sphagnum moss, charcoal, or coconut husk chips to aid water retention.
An Orchid indoor plant should also be grown on soil that drains quickly. And a moss-based potting mix will be an excellent choice, too. Because the moss mix holds more water, you can go longer without water.
Pro tip: Ensure the roots system has adequate air circulation, regardless of the potting soil you select. Epiphytes are used to wind and breezes and won’t live without them.
Orchids have a wide range of light requirements, and knowing the right amount of light for each species is critical to their maintenance. Even ‘high light’ orchids do not require the same amount of direct sunlight as a tomato plant. And even ‘low light’ orchids will not thrive in the middle of a room without any light source permanently.
Examine the leaves if you’re concerned about the amount of light your Orchid is getting. The presence of brown leaves indicates that your plant needs less sunlight. Deep green leaves often necessitate more light. Experimenting really had its role in terms of this care, so be vigilant about it.
Because Orchids are generally planted in bark mix rather than soil, Orchids require a different type of watering than most plants. The kind of Orchid, pot, potting mix, humidity conditions, and light influence how much water is needed. Nevertheless, water each time thoroughly so that the roots may absorb the moisture before it flows through the mix.
Water the plant once a week during the growing season or anytime the exposed roots turn silvery white. Water them first thing in the morning and keep the potting medium damp. Or better, establish a schedule. Such as watering on the weekend and monitoring the plants in the middle of the week can be beneficial.
When in doubt, wait; it’s better to have too little than too much! Also, remember that incorrect watering may bring harm to your lovely Orchids!
Ideal Temperature & Humidity
The temperature that an orchid requires vary based on the species. Phalaenopsis orchids, for example, thrive in temperatures ranging from the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties during the day. Dendrobiums, on the other hand, like a colder temperature of about 10 degrees.
Some orchids use the coolness in the air temperature between night and day to cue that the seasons are changing and that it’s time to prepare to bloom. Again, many people desire a somewhat constant temperature in their houses, which is incompatible with the Orchid’s natural environment.
Orchids dislike ‘wet feet,’ although they thrive in humid environments. As a result, when Orchids are grown indoors, they are frequently placed on humidity trays. Water collects in the base of these trays as the plant is suspended above the water. If there is too much moisture and not enough airflow, the plants may have root rot. One of the goals of excellent care when growing Orchids is to achieve a proper balance of humidity and air movement.
The American Orchid Society suggests using a 20-20-20 fertilizer on your plants regularly. Another suggestion is to fertilize orchids every time you water them using a quarter-strength, water-soluble fertilizer. Use only a quarter of the amount recommended on the label and mix it with water.
You can feed this mixture to your Orchid once a week. Before fertilizing, make sure the potting mix is slightly damp because dehydrated roots can be burned. Nevertheless, remember that under-fertilizing is better than over-fertilizing!
Orchids, like other plants, can reproduce in two ways: sexually through seed and asexually by vegetative propagation. Vegetative propagation is a popular method for beginners to grow their Orchid collection.
Now, there are 3 methods for Vegetative propagation. These are division, back bulbs, and offshoots. Each procedure differs principally in the methods used to create the new human and the early care provided. Don’t worry; we’ll introduce you to those 3 methods down below:
Separating the rhizome from an Orchid is the first step in division propagation. This is obviously only possible with multi-stemmed (sympodial) orchids like Dendrobium or Cattleya. After all, there is nothing to separate in monopodial orchids like Phalaenopsis.
Make sure you have a healthy, adult orchid plant with plenty of canes/pseudobulbs before dividing it. Remove the Orchid from the planter, untangle the roots, and divide the rhizome clump into young orchids with 3-4 active bulbs/canes apiece. In most circumstances, this entails halving your plant. In a suitable medium, plant both parts of your Orchid. They should keep growing without any difficulty because each plant will already have its own root system.
Back bulb propagation is possible when dividing a sympodial orchid. Back bulbs are pseudobulbs that no longer produce roots or blooms but still store water for the plant.
The back bulb can be separated from the plant either on its own or after it has been divided. Plant the active eye of the rear bulb around the potting media. The back bulb can be forced to root once it’s been replanted. Some rear bulbs emerge in a matter of weeks, while others might go dormant for up to two years.
The Hawaiian term ‘keiki’ means “baby” or “kid.” It alludes to small duplicates of herself that an orchid mother plant can grow on her stems or at her base, which is pretty accurate in the context of growing orchids.
If this happens, allow the keiki to rest for a while, at least until it has developed a few leaves and a robust air root system. Separate the keiki from the mother plant with clean shears or a knife once it’s ripe. Your baby orchid should be potted in the same sort of container and soil as the mother plant. Alternatively, you can place the young plant in the same pot as the original. The keiki should continue to grow normally because it already has a root system.
Hardy Orchid plants thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 9. Whereas half-hardy orchids thrive in USDA zones 11 and 12. All Orchids, of course, make excellent houseplants and are easily cultivated in pots.
Potting and Pruning
Your Orchids as house plants should be grown in a pot with adequate drainage. To ensure that any surplus water drains entirely, your pot should have drainage holes in the bottom. You’d need to repot your Orchid if it came in a pot that doesn’t have this function. In a greenhouse setting, many Orchids can also be cultivated in hanging baskets or fixed on slabs.
When it comes to pruning, the stem of a dried flower should be clipped. You can remove the old flower spike by cutting it near the stem’s base. Reblooming on the same stem is unusual for orchids.
Orchid Varieties and Similar Plants
Orchids that are even grown outdoor plants have been beautifying the lives of many plant collectors for a very long time. An Orchid bloom can really captivate them and some with their relaxing aroma. Orchids, like many other flowering plants, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. As much as we want to tell you all about those 200 plus species, we’ve provided some of them below.
The species of the Phalaenopsis genus, also known as the Moth orchid, are good orchids for novices since they tolerate clumsy repotting efforts. These Orchids bloom on and off throughout the year and are easy to spread by keikis. These orchids grow best in indirect light, although they are otherwise relatively easy to grow. Within the genus, there are over 75 identified species and dozens of cultivars!
The Catasetum genus is notable for its peculiar waxy blooms, which are found in a significant number of species. Don’t worry if your Catasetum orchid leaves start to yellow and fall off during winter dormancy; this deciduous Orchid loses its leaves naturally.
Catasetum species differ significantly in appearance. However, one property they all share is the ability to produce male or female beautiful flowers that bore little resemblance to one another. Male flowers contain an anatomical trigger that causes pollen to be ejected forcibly onto visiting bees.
Cattleya orchids have undergone extensive hybridization, resulting in a wide range of colors and forms. Freckles, streaks, and other bicolor characteristics are common in Cattleya orchids. They are the most common corsage orchid, and some types have long-lasting blooms.
Orchid Plant Diseases & Pests
When grown indoors under the proper environmental conditions, orchids are a trouble-free supply of stunning blossoms. But if not, they are attacked by some pests, and worse, they have diseases that can totally wreck them.
Here are some of those:
Aphids, mealybugs, scales, two-spotted spider mites, and thrips are just a few of the insect and mite pests that can harm orchids. Aphids, mealybugs, and soft scales take sap from plants with their mouthparts. They can cause leaves to twist, yellow, or stunt, reducing flower output and stem growth. Honeydew is a transparent, sticky liquid excreted by all three pests.
Implement cultural management measures like prevention, cleanliness, and plant inspection to reduce orchid pest problems. The easiest way to deal with orchid pests is to avoid them in the first place. Pest problems are reduced when the right cultural circumstances are in areas like the right amount of water, temperature, light, fertility, and humidity.
Another technique for preventing orchid pest problems is sanitation. If insects or mites are present, apply a strong stream of water to dislodge them. But if they are persistent, you can use insecticides and miticides. Make sure you read the label thoroughly and put on protective gear.
Fungal diseases are the most frequent orchid plant diseases. Foliar blights, leaf spots, fungal rots, and floral blights are examples.
Excess moisture on leaves and flowers and poor soil drainage are the most common causes of orchid plant illnesses. Reasonable sanitation procedures, as well as cultural changes and even site transfer, can help to reduce these diseases.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, there is no record that Peperomia Hope is toxic to your furry pets, but it is always better to keep your Peperomia Hope away from your lovely pets.
When your orchid blooms, you’ll be left with a flower spike on which the majority of the flowers have fallen. Don’t get carried away and cut it all the way down to the base. Instead, cut the stem above a visible seam once all the blossoms have fallen (node).
Over the next two months, this should encourage the growth of another blossom stem. Remove the original stem at the base if no shoots appear and it turns straw-coloured. A fresh, vigorous flower spike should emerge from the plant eventually. Plus, place it in ideal conditions and proper care.
Reduce watering during their post-flowering rest time. These cultivars may rot and perish if they are overwatered. Because phalaenopsis and Vanda orchids lack pseudobulbs, you must water them thoroughly when the potting mix is nearly dry to prevent them from drying out altogether.
Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!