Orchids are fascinating plants that are admired by many people. Growing orchids can be an interesting and rewarding hobby. When your orchid blooms you will be able to enjoy the blossoms for many weeks if the plant is happy and healthy. Although there are numerous types of orchids, the most common one grown indoors in our climate is the Phalaenopsis. For this reason, the points listed here are in reference to the Phalaenopsis, or moth orchid. If you would like information on additional species of orchids, visit our greenhouse.
Light is generally easy to provide to Phalaenopsis’ in our climate. A bright window with little to no direct sunlight is best. An east-facing or shaded west or south-facing window is ideal. In the winter months, when our days are short and the light is dull, a full south exposure may be necessary. If needed, artificial lighting may be supplemented. Fluorescent bulbs can be used for this.
Night time temperatures should not drop below 15°C. Day time temperatures should range from 22-30°C. It’s possible for Phalaenopsis to grow in warmer daytime temperatures, but humidity should be raised.
Phalaenopsis grown in sphagnum moss should never be allowed to completely dry out. Water plants thoroughly and do not water again until almost dry. Other media, such as bark chips, can be allowed to become a bit drier. Depending on the time of year and the weather, watering may be required once every couple of days or up to two weeks. It is best not to get the leaves wet to prevent leaf rot.
Phalaenopsis prefer humidity levels between 50 and 80%. If the humidity level is higher than that it is important to keep the air moving and the leaves dry. If you need to raise humidity, you can place the plant pot on pebbles in a tray of water, being sure not to let the pot sit in the water.
During the active growing season, fertilize on a regular schedule. You can use a reduced concentration of a balanced fertilizer or one specially formulated for orchids. If you would like to promote flowering, you can apply a fertilizer high in phosphorous.
It’s best to re-pot immediately after flowering. If necessary, though, it can be done at any time of year. If the plant is out-growing its pot or the roots are unhealthy, then it is time to re-pot. Generally, you should re-pot using the same type of medium. Remove the old medium and cut off any roots that are soft or black. Hold the plant in place in the new pot as you gently press the medium into the pot and around the roots.