Contrary to popular belief you don't need a green house to successfully grow Orchids, and they aren't the delicate, hard to grow plants some people think they are. Like other houseplants orchids only have a few basic needs, after all orchids have adapted to survive in most areas as "wild" plants.

Light is the important factor to successfully raise and bloom orchids. You can usually judge how much light an orchid needs by watching the leaves. You want the leaves to be a light grass green. This shows that the plant has as much light as it can stand and is trying to protect itself from burning. If the leaves become very yellow, move the plant to more shade. If the leaves become dark emerald green, move the plant to more light. In order to bloom the plant needs light, but not too much. Natural light in a sunny East or South facing windows is best, they like bright indirect light. Harsh South or West windows may be too bright and hot.

Watering is the important thing to get right, and you shouldn't water them more than once a week. Most orchids in the wild grow on trees or other plants, and they get moisture from the air. An orchid should never be allowed to stand alone in water, you need to let water run or be sprayed over the roots and surrounding moss that is provided with your orchid. If the roots are white, firm, and fleshy with green tips the orchid is healthy. Overwatered orchids have few good roots, and many soggy, mushy, brown, dead ones. Most tolerate being dryer better than staying soggy, so don't over water, but don't let them completely dry out either.

Room temperate in most homes will be acceptable for growing orchids, anywhere between 55F at night and 80F during the day is best. Another thing to remember is that in their native environment nearly all plants are exposed to constant breezes. Orchids are no exceptions. Moving air will help them and cut down on disease problems. A small fan will quickly pay for itself by giving you better growing conditions.

You need to raise the humidity levels around your orchid in order to get the best out of your blooms. Find a tray with gravel, and then put water in the tray and then place the orchid above it. The evaporating water will help the plants thrive in a dry environment, but again, never place orchids in standing water.

Most orchids are epiphytes, they are air plants and won't grow in soil. The roots need to dry slightly between waterings. Your normal garden soil won't allow the roots to dry, so the best material to enable the roots to dry is moss. All our orchids come potted in moss, so you don't have to worry about finding the material.

Every Orchid has several 'bloom spikes', which takes 90-120 days to bloom from the time you see it emerge from the plant. The spike can be cut to the base when blooming tapers off and you find the stem unsightly. Many people cut the stem to the 1st or 2nd bract on the stem. This can allow the plant to rebloom from an existing spike, so it's back in bloom sooner. There's no harm in encouraging lateral blooming, but they tend to be smaller blooms. We prefer to remove the spike completely, so the plant can focus energy on a strong new spike.


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