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.