Proper care for your orchid plant begins with realizing that not all orchids are the same. The orchid family has over 25,000 types, and each type requires different care. Once you know the type of flower you are caring for, you need to focus on three things: soil, water, and sunlight.
Orchid Plant Identification
Orchids are often sold with tags or stickers with information regarding type. Without a sticker or tag to reference, the surest way to know what type you have is to ask the seller from which your orchid came. If you are unable to contact the seller, there are resources online like plant encyclopedias that provide picture references to aid you in identifying your orchid plant type.
For optimal growth, put your orchid in growing media (soil) that retains moisture and drains quickly. The following growing media meet these criteria and are suitable for most orchid plants:
- Peat or sphagnum moss
- Fir bark
- Fern roots
- Rock wool
- Cork nuggets
- Coconut fiber
- Lava rock
Certain orchid types may work best with a combination of these media. No matter which you choose, you will need to fertilize your plant on a monthly basis. This is because soils that are favorable for orchid root system growth are nutrient-poor.
Orchids are more likely to wilt or die from overwatering than from underwatering. To prevent overwatering, water your orchid plant once every seven to 10 days. Between waterings, the growing media should be allowed to dry out. If you are unsure if the soil is dry enough to warrant a rewater, wait another day or two. Be sure that the pot you are using has the means to allow excess water to pass through, because excess stagnant water buildup in the base of the pot is detrimental to the root systems of orchids.
The amount of sunlight needed for optimal orchid growth varies greatly depending on the type. Some will need only six hours, while others require upwards of 14. For this reason, it is difficult to give general sunlight requirements, but there are basic guidelines you can use.
Too Much Light
You will know that your orchid is getting too much sunlight if the leaves begin to lose color. In this case, move your plant to a spot that receives less direct light during the day. This could be a spot next to a window rather than directly in front.
Too Little Light
An orchid that is receiving insufficient light will not grow any new leaves and will not bloom in season. Realizing this requires you to track the growth of your orchid over time. Be sure to focus on the number of leaves and not their color because it is common for orchids to maintain a rich color in their leaves even with insufficient light. If you are ordering orchids online, it is always advisable to go with a same-day shipping option to keep your plant from becoming under-sunned.
Grow Your Orchid Plant With Confidence
At Beverly Hills Florist, we have a wide selection of beautiful flowers, including living orchid plant arrangements. Helping customers buy plants and flowers with confidence is what we do best. Find an orchid floral arrangement for every occasion.