Caring for your Orchid Plant
Orchids are beautiful and elegant flowers that are often given as gifts or used as decorations for special events. They come in a wide variety of sizes, colours and patterns - in fact, you can breed orchids endlessly to get different flower variants. Orchids have been specially bred and named after famous figures such as Barack and Michelle Obama. Representing fertility and love, they're often gifted to new parents, but they're also a regular gift of choice for many other events such as the opening of a new business.
Unlike your usual potted plants, Orchids are epiphytes, meaning that they grow on other plant surfaces (normally a tree) and acquire their water and nutrients from the air or debris around them. They are similar to the air plant, which is also an epiphyte.
Although they have a reputation of being difficult to care for, it's not so hard once you've figured out their specific care requirements. Each Orchid (there are over 22,000 species!) has slightly different needs, but in this post we'll provide general tips to keep your Orchid plants blooming.
Orchids thrive in bright indirect light, but overexposure can cause its leaves to scorch, and underexposure will cause your Orchid to stop blooming. Inadequate light is the most common reason for a lack of bloom.
The amount of light required for different Orchid types may vary, so the best way to check is to look at its leaves. When its leaves are bright green, it means that your Orchid is getting sufficient light. If it's dark green, insufficient light and if yellowish or red, too much light.
There are several ways to water your Orchid. You can dunk the entire base into water, use ice cubes, or just simple old pouring. When you water your Orchids, it's good to do so thoroughly so that your potting medium is moist. However, when in doubt, it's better to under-water than over-water.
Always allow your orchids to dry out to an inch's depth before watering. A way to tell if your Orchid is well-watered is to check its roots: if its roots are green, all's good. However, if they're white or grey, it's under-watered and if it's brown and soggy, it's over-watered. Be very careful not to over-water your Orchid as root rot can begin to fester. Improper watering is usually the main cause of Orchid death.
Fertiliser is necessary for your Orchid to bloom regularly. You can fertilise your Orchid plant weekly, spraying the fertiliser onto its roots. Alternatively, you can incorporate a water-based fertiliser into your water used for watering.
Check out our recommended fertiliser here.
Temperature and Humidity
Orchids enjoy room temperature, which is around 24°C. A more important factor is humidity, which can be helped by misting daily if the area surrounding your Orchid is dry. Alternatively, you can place your Orchid on a tray of pebbles covered in water. The water will naturally evaporate and create a humid environment around the Orchid. The greater the humidity, the less watering is needed!
It's not necessary to repot your Orchids until every alternate year. However, if your Orchid stops blooming despite everything else in the environment being adequate, it may be a sign that it's time for repotting.
To start, find a well-draining pot. There are many pots specially made for potting Orchids. Prepare a fast-draining potting mix - this can be either moss or bark-based. Moss will absorb more water and hence require less frequent watering, whereas bark will allow water to drain out quickly, calling for more frequent watering.
Leaves covered in white crust: Impure water used for watering. If your tap water is causing a white layer to form on your Orchid's leaves, try distilled or purified water instead.
Rot at base of Orchid: Much too frequent watering with insufficient time between to dry. Normally occurs where ventilation is poor and too much water is provided.
Not blooming: Could be any reason: under-watering, over-watering, too much light, insufficient light... You'll have to experiment around to figure it out, but we promise it'll be rewarding.
Thinking of getting Orchids with majestic blooms? Check out the hanging Cattleya Orchid here and the Phalaenopsis Orchid here.
P.s. Once the bloom has dried, prune its stem all the way to the base. It's unlikely that the same stem will rebloom!