Growing Orchids

You need not be a gardening expert to grow orchids at home. With proper care, orchids can thrive as household plants for many years.

Orchid varieties



Different species of orchids need different temperature and light conditions to survive and produce the best blooms for several years.

If you are planning to decorate your windowsills with orchids, you can choose phalaenopsis, paphiopedilums, cymbidium or odontoglossum.



Phalaenopsis or the moth orchid is the most popular orchid species, which is suitable as an indoor plant in homes where the temperature remains between 85 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. The paphiopedilums, also known as the lady-slippers, need the same temperature conditions as moth orchids for growth.

Cymbidiums could survive in cooler climates where the minimum indoor temperature in the night is 45 degrees Fahrenheit. For growing odontoglossum, the maximum temperature should not be more than 85 degrees Fahrenheit and the minimum temperature should not fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Low to medium light is usually sufficient for growing most varieties of orchids.




However, certain orchid species such as cattleyas need more warmth and excess sunlight to thrive. Usually the east facing windowsills are best places to keep indoor orchids. If you want to keep the plants on the south or west facing windowsills, do not keep them too close to the windows because too much direct sunlight could scorch the orchids.

Watering

In the spring and summer months when the orchids start blooming, water the orchids at least twice every week. During the winter, watering the plants once a week is usually sufficient. Water the orchids early in the morning. It is advisable to use non-chlorinated water for watering the plants. Water the orchids when the potting medium becomes dry.

Usually barks tend to dry faster than other potting mediums such as sphagnum moss. If the surface of the pot appears dry, pierce a sharp wooden object in the pot to check whether the area below the surface is moist. Water the orchid only when you feel that its root area is dry. Make sure that the potting medium remains moist. Once a month, add a little fertilizer to the water.



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