Most people are intimidated by the thought of owning and caring for an orchid because of their delicate and intricate appearance. Don’t be! Orchids are just like any other houseplant, all they need is water, light and a little TLC.
Orchids are the largest group of flowering plants with around 30,000 species and 800 genera. Although most varieties of orchids are grown in tropical regions, like Asia, South America and Central America, they do grow in a variety of other regions, like the Arctic Circle and Patagonia as well. Because there are so many different varieties, it is sometimes hard to identify an orchid species, making it even more complicated in differentiating between the species that are endangered, and those that aren’t.
Selecting An Orchid:
In selecting an orchid for your home or office, keep in mind the conditions that you are providing for your plant. Different varities of orchids require different levels of light and temperature. If you are a first time orchid buyer, consider the phalaenopsis (or moth) orchid. It requires less light and does well in average household temperatures. Below are some other common orchid varieties to fit a variety of conditions:
- Dendrobium orchids do well in bright light and produce lots of flowers.
- Paphiopedilum (Lady Slipper) orchids do well in moderate light and mild temperatures.
- Miltonia (Pansy) orchids do well in medium light.
- Oncidium (Butterfly) orchids do best in bright light.
Caring For Orchids:
- Place your orchid in the appropriate light as listed above.
- Keep your orchid evenly moist, the roots should never be dry. Water once or twice a week, but be sure that the roots are not soggy. Take the orchid out of basket or cachepot to water and drain.
- Orchids require 40-50% humidity. Misting the leaves or placing a tray filled with rocks and a small amount of water under the orchid will help increase humidity.
- Fertilize once a month with a balanced orchid food at ½ strength.
- If the roots of your orchid look overcrowded in its current pot, or the pot looks too big for the plant, you will need to repot the orchid in an appropriately sized pot. Most garden stores sell specific pots for orchids. Be sure to repot your orchid in orchid-specific potting mix.