Your Year Around Flower and Garden Guide

How to Grow Orchids

How to grow orchids is for some gardeners a study that keeps them busy 24/7. We will take an easier approach.

The family Orchidaceae, or as we know them Orchids, has the distinction of being the largest family of plants on Earth. Orchids are also one of the most adaptable plant groups with near 900Orchidgenera and over 28,000 species of orchid and more than 300,000 orchid cultivars. Although many tropical orchids grow in the treetops, some Australian cultivars sgrow entirely underground. Because of the great diversity in orchids, the way to grow them depends upon which type of orchid you choose to grow. However, most orchids do share some characteristics.

Proper watering and provision of desirable humidity is very important in for orchids. Always use lukewarm (not hot-not cold) water when watering them.

Usually we grow Orchids  in small pots (under four inches), clay pots, and hanging baskets need more water than orchids grown in large pots or plastic pots. Also, wait to water if it’s overcast for three successive days or temperatures drop below 60F. Orchids also do their best when kept at a humidity of between 40% and 70%. You can make a humidity tray out of any shallow container. Add some pebbles and water. Elevate the plants above the tray so they don’t touch the wet gravel. Growing orchids by a kitchen sink, in a bathroom, or other place where hot water is used also provides humidity orchids need. Although orchids may need some fertilization because orchid potting mixes don’t hold nutrients well, fertilize sparingly according to the needs of your orchid variety.

The gardener who knows how to grow these plants successfully also takes light and temperature into consideration. Although many gardeners are familiar with terms like bright light, part-sun, and dense shade, you can more precisely measure the light your orchids receive with a light meter.

You should provide the light your chosen cultivar needs. If the plant gets too little light maintain a good root system but have dark green leaves with no luster. Too much light, and your orchid leaves may show burn spots or feel hot to the touch. Orchid leaves should feel cool to the touch and if they don’t they are either receiving too much light or being kept at too warm a temperature.

Along with moisture and light, an important part of growing orchids is providing them with good air circulation and quality. Orchids have many air-borne enemies including smoke, aerosol sprays, and gases given off from plastics and synthetic materials. Even the ethylene gas generated from a basket of apples is sufficient to destroy your blooms!

When you are learning how to grow orchids, two easy cultivars to try are the Phalaenopsis, which requires many of the same growing conditions and similar care as the African Violet or the Epidendrums, which are tough specimens and probably one of the easiest and most prolific ones you can grow.

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