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Grow Orchids: Selection & Planting

Many orchids bloom in winter, which makes them even more desirable as houseplants. Because of the great diversity in orchids, how you grow orchids depends upon which type of orchid you choose!

orchidFind orchid cultivars with thin leaves or thick, flowers as small as a pinhead or as large as a dinner plate. Orchid colors span a range that begins with white and goes on through varying shades of yellows and oranges, reds and pinks. In fact, except for blue and black, orchids bloom in every color on plants of diminutive size or those that reach 15-feet tall!

The family Orchidaceae is the largest family of plants on Earth with near 900 genera, over 28,000 species, and more than 300,000 orchid cultivars. All the same, most orchids do share some characteristics.

Selecting an Orchid

Look for flowering size plants, since it can take up to five years for a seedling to flower. Each type of orchid has different cultural requirements so it is usually easy to find a variety that matches the growing conditions in your home. The four most popular orchids for the home grower are:

Planting

Most orchids are epiphytes. In the wild, orchids attach fleshy roots to trees and bark and absorb moisture and nutrients from the air around them. Although orchids can adapt to most types of containers, porous containers, like clay pots provide both good drainage and aeration.

Plant your orchids in a mixture that keeps its roots well aerated and quickly drains excess water. Home growers commonly use commercially prepared potting mixtures or soilless home mixtures that contain a combination of peat, fir bark, tree fern fiber, charcoal, and/or volcanic rock.

Orchids usually won't thrive in regular potting soil, since soil-based mixtures tend to become waterlogged, which causes roots to suffocate from lack of oxygen.

Orchid Care Orchid Propagation, Repotting, & Tips