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Quick Tips: How to Grow Orchids

pink orchidsAlthough orchids were once considered very exotic and difficult to grow, the availability of hardier varieties have grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, evidenced by the fact that beautiful orchid plants are now regularly on sale at local supermarkets and probably even in your neighborhood grocers.

With their popularity also growing year after year, millions of houseplant lovers have recently found that orchids make the perfect house or office plant (with traditional bragging rights) when lovingly cared for and given the proper levels of light, water, and humidity.

What are the easiest orchids to grow?

Successfully caring for orchid plants naturally begins with choosing the hardiest varieties. If you have recently bought or been given a gift of an orchid plant, most likely it is the Phalaenopsis variety. Also known as the butterfly or moth orchid, the phalaenopsis is a favorite among florists and greenhouse growers for their ease of care.

Other varieties recommended for the beginner orchid grower include the cockleshell orchid, (Epidendrum cochleatum) the bird beak orchid (Oncidium ornithorhynchum) and the pansy orchid (Miltoniopsis santanei)

What particular care do orchids need?

Humidity - Potted orchids thrive in high humidity, although hardier varieties will be happy with a daily misting. Alternatively, place the pot in deep tray and fill it with gravel to catch the water runoff to provide a constant source of humidity.

Water - In their natural habitat, orchids thrive in periods of complete drenching rain alternating with a thorough drying out. Keep orchids happy with a ONCE A WEEK dousing, and then allow the roots access to life-giving oxygen before watering again.

Temperature - Orchids love warmth, although many varieties have been found to adapt to a wide variety of temperatures - ranging anywhere from 50 to 85 degrees - when also given proper amounts of light and humidity.

Light - Although store-bought orchids can stand some hours of mild morning sun, they are usually happiest when given bright but indirect light for most of the day.

Feeding - During the growing season, lightly feed with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer about once a month, or follow directions found with fertilizers specifically formulated for orchids.

orchidsCan I repot orchids?

Absolutely.

In fact, since many store-bought orchids come in plastic pots, many experts recommend repotting in clay pots to increase air circulation to the roots. Repot only when blooming season is over, and use a light, well-aerated potting mixture.

Why are orchid leaves turning yellow?

Although there may be several reasons (including too much direct sunlight, cold drafts, or simply older leaves dying off) the most likely one is overwatering. Inspect the soil to see if root rot has occurred and, if so, it is probably too late to save it. Otherwise, avoid the temptation to smother your orchid with love and attention and remember to allow the potting medium to dry out thoroughly between waterings.

Why do my orchid buds dry up and fall off?

Again, overwatering may be the culprit although "bud blast" may be caused by a variety of factors including extremes of light or temperature, too low humidity, or too much fertilizer. Chemical odors such as found in a newly painted room, carpet cleaner, or furniture polish may also interrupt blooming and cause the buds to drop.

More about orchids from around the Web:

How to Grow Orchids

Orchid Care Tips FAQ

 

also see -> How to Grow Lucky Bamboo

 

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