Houseplant Care Tips

Various Houseplant Care Tips Including Watering and Lighting Requirements.

Houseplant Care Tips

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Orchid Care

Common Name: Orchids
Scientific Name: Varies by variety
Lighting: Bright Light
Watering: Low

Orchids are beautiful houseplants. Their unique flowers characterized most commonly on a single stem. Along with the beautiful orchid flowers, usually is a pleasant fragrance as well. There are many varieties of orchids with Phalaenopsis being the most popular. Colors can vary from white, to pink, to yellow to a mixture, either way they are all gorgeous.

Orchids as beautiful as they are, they can be very finicky plants. On the other hand, some people find them to be one of the easiest. Orchids also when cared for properly can have extremely long lives.

One area where Orchids are particularly finicky is the soil they are planted in. Use a fast draining soil mixture. The soil must also allow air circulation so be sure there is a medium such as bark mixed within the soil.

Orchids prefer lower water levels, so watering once every week to two weeks is all you need. If the leaves begin to yellow, you may be over watering the plant. You can remove the yellowed leaves as needed. However, they do prefer high humidity levels, so a daily misting will do wonders!

Orchids require bright light. Try to give your plant at least 10 hours of bright, indirect light. If the foliage begins to brown, your plant may be receiving too much direct sunlight, thus burning the plant.

Common Orchid Varieties:
Dendrobium (Lily of the Valley)
Phalaenopsis (Most common Orchid)
Oncidium (Dancing Lady)


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, a good tip: When the flowers all fall off a stem, cut it off just above a joint about half way along the stem. Most of the time you will get a new flowering stem growing just below the joint that you cut above. Make sure you only do this once per stem though, because the amount of flowers decreases each time you do this on a single stem.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous RosaCityofLeeds said...

I don't know how others water their orchids (I'd be interested to hear) but heres a watering tip I picked up -
When watering, stand the plant in a container of water for a good while, then remove it and let it completely drain.
I also put a few drops of orchid food in!
I've only had mine for a little while - I've had to cut back the stem as it finished flowering, but its foliage is looking really healthy!

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Carl H. said...

I agree that orchids are very finicky plants. I have tried growing orchids for so long but have never been able to keep them alive for long. They last about a couple of months then they eventually die. Thanks for the tips you provide and I will try growing them again and see if these tips help.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Jean said...

My plants all are growing new leaves and stems, but refuse to bloom. I used orchid planter mix and I use orchid fertilizer
and planted them in orchid planters (the ones with holes all around). Anything else I can do?

12:34 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


How long have you had the plants? Have they ever bloomed? It's hard to say exactly what may be the problem, but do they receive a good amount of bright light? Sometimes light levels will coordinate blooming.


9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both the orchids I have take a very long time to bloom again once they have finished - I usually cut the stem back depending on if it looks like another stem is going to grow and then I wait months! But it is worth waiting for because I have had one of them for 4 years and it is about to flower again.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have new center shoots on my tree and the shoot has gotten bent and partially detached from the center stem. Is there something I can do to save this shoot? I have supported it for the time being but I don't know if this will encourage it to reattach. My tree only has one trunk so I really hope to save this shoot.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a orchid and it was blooming when my son sent it to me on Mother's Day 2 yrs. ago. After it quit blooming the stem kept dying till it died all the way down. Will it grow a new stem? It hasn't in 2 yrs. yet. Please help me. What do I do now?

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Karen C. said...

When i bought my orchid it had two flowers already bloomed and a couple more still not bloomed.In a weeks time the flowers started drooping and fell off. Then also the buds fell off.Now i just have a long empty stem :( What is d problem? should i cut off the stem? Please help. Thanks

2:41 PM  
Blogger phytocrome said...

Remember that it takes a lot of energy for orchids to bloom. A steady diet of dilute orchid food will help this occur. I like the soak and drain technique. If after this you find it has not pushed a bloom stalk them maybe a little more bright diffused light would help. Good luck growing!

10:41 PM  
Blogger phytocrome said...

It takes a lot of energy for an orchid to bloom. Adding some dilute orchid fertilizer to your soaking water once a month will help. Also if this doesn't help give it a little more bright indirect light. Good luck growing!

10:51 PM  
Blogger phytocrome said...

for Karen...
If the bloom spike is still green cut it back to the next node. It may rebloom from the node. there are so many variables and many reasons that your orchid did not finish it's bloom cycle. Dry air could be a factor. Raise humidity by putting the pot on a rock tray with water, making sure not to have the pot itself in the water. This will raise the relative humidity in that area. Also make sure to water properly and a nice h2o misting every couple days if it is very dry will help. Hope this is of some benefit. Also remember...light, light , and more light...just not direct sunlight for the most part. Each orchid has it's preferences.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

I love all orchids and we all know if you have invested in these plants they are a expensive hobby and you need to know as much information as you can soak up or you will end up loosing a lot of money, time, crying and loss of a beautiful plant. I have learned by trial and error for years. Remember get educated on all the different kinds and truly dont go over board start with one and then try a different kind for some reason I can grow the so called harder to grow orchids than the commen phal. Just remember they can be like children some like you some don't.

12:12 AM  
Blogger classyladya1 said...

I purchase all of my orchids at Home Depot, reasonably priced. There is no problem with them blooming, I let them dry out a bit before watering. Orchid fertilizer seems to help, but the healthiest thing for my dozen or so plants is to put them outside in a filtered sun area. Don't bring them in at night unless it gets less than 45 degrees. Don't put them in hot direct sun. Mine were in semi shade under a tree most of the summer, I brought them in the first of October, checking them first for insects. I live in VT.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tip for watering: I usually put 1-2 ice cubes on the dirt, being careful they don't touch the leaves. The ice melts slowly and feeds the plant. It works for me, anyway, my orchids are doing just great. I do this once a week; I pick a specific day (Mondays) so I don't forget.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous epegler said...

OK I have read a lot of different things about the soil you should use and think I have it now, thank goodness my darling is still doing fine, and I now know the proper planter I need and hopefully can get one before it is damaged from my lack of knowledge on the plant and its needs. Thank you all for your wonderful information and I will try to correct my errors so my orchid before it is to late..

1:44 AM  
Blogger Marge said...

I bought an orchid at the grocery store. It was beutiful for a few weeks, then theblooms fell off, then the leaves and the stem did not look healthy. I put the plant in he garage and left for some time. Lately, I noticed that he bulbs looked okay so I planted them in some new soil without totally covering them. Is there a chance they could grow and what should I look for?

7:10 PM  
Blogger epegler said...

Ok to the one that posted that you should cut back to the first nub after it stops blooming. I tried that on one of my orchids and it never re bloomed the other one I just left alone and it's stem grew longer with new blooms on it. Now the one I cut grew a new leave before the other one but still did not re bloom. I guess it is all just on what the orchid wants to do. But they are both big and beautiful.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I empathise with ALL of the frustrations here about growing orchids. It's taken me a while to get the hang of it but I have some that are doing just fine after their stems have been chopped and they've lived on a north facing sill etc.. BUT I've just moved house and all of the house plants were put into the conservatory. After a day in the glare of a hot sun, my orchids are really droopy an a bit shrivelled. Is there any hope? I've moved them, cut back to the next node where the stem was damaged, have fed and watered. No improvement yet, leaves still very limp. Any tips? Can they be saved?

5:45 AM  
Blogger Emma said...

I have serveral Orchid in my kitchen window and on the tip of one stem I have leaves blooming instead of flowers roots and all, I have never seen this... can I cut the steam and place these new leaves in dirt and grow new orchids?

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I received an orchid for valentines day. I have a natural way with most plants and had heard the orchid the be a quite difficult plant to grow. However, it is doing exceptionally well. It is probably a year old, the longest leaf is about six or seven inches. It has about 8 leaves, five of which have grown after it's last bloom cycle (last flower fell in late march). It seems to be very healthy and responds well to the environment. But I am curious, where will the new stem grow from? And approximately when? I was forced to cut it's last stem near the base because it had dried yellow and hardened. Thank you.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous mary said...

I have recently picked up and interest in Orchids because of my employment. My employer has a love of them.. it's contagious. She believes only in watering them with Ice cubes. I recently took one she's had for years and was going to throw it away. It now has a new leave at the base, as well as a stem with nothing, which is why she was going to toss it... I'm hoping with the sight of new growth, we will get flowers, any suggestions?

4:45 PM  
Blogger ShuEy said...

I bought an orchid last October from the local florist, it's Phalaenopsis. It had two steams, 32 bulbs in total, all bloomed and lasted for 4-5months. I kept it by my window, only a tiny bit of direct sun light in early morning, the rest of the time just bright. My house is always very warm, about 25 celsius, perhaps a bit cooler by the window.
Anyhow, when the last flower fell off in late march, I cut above the top joint on both, and also the sub-steams. I put the orchid in the bathroom also by the window. The plant was growing like mad, it's early July now, and it started to flower again! There are 29 bulbs this time. I wish I could share a picture with you...

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Tina said...

My Phalaenopsis had a leaf which turned yellow and fell off within a week. Now I have noticed the secong leaf having the same problem. When I checked properly I noticed the root was black with visible white fungus! Can anyone please tell me how to save my plant?

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep away from draft.I water once a week, using three ice cubes, it's equvalent to a 1/4 cup of water. direct sun light. Good luck with your orchids.

4:28 PM  
Blogger RAM said...

I have several orchids all doing well, but one of my phalaenopsis' leaves are "wilting" and turning a purplish color. I live in Florida and they're on my lanai so humidity isn't a problem. I water once a week with misting sometimes twice a week. Any suggestions?

3:23 PM  

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