How To Grow Healthy, Gorgeous Orchids

beautiful orchid
Image by “Cowboy” Ben Alman via Flickr

Orchids are exotic, gorgeous flowers, and they have recently become one of the most favorite house plants. Many people used to think that raising orchids was difficult, and that it was a pastime meant only for the rich.  With just a little tweaking in the routine of taking care of houseplants, the amateur or home horticulturist can raise a garden of beautiful orchids that will last for years.

There are thousands different species of orchids that can be found naturally. As a result of the work of home gardeners as well as professionals, there are almost as many hybrids as the orchids found in nature.  They are not difficult to grow with the right care including the rights amounts of water, light, fertilizer and air.  While many species of orchids thrive in cooler conditions, several species do very well in temperatures that are around 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

One of the easiest orchids to grow is the Phalaenopsis orchid plant.  Phalaenopsis can usually be found at your local nursery.  This species of orchid adapts well to the environment of a home or office.  A Phalaenopsis orchid can have flowers on its sprays that can continue blooming for two to three months.  Flowers on a Cattleya may last up to a month in bloom from the time that the first bud opens.

Some species of orchids will bloom once a year.  Other species can bloom several times a year, and some even bloom continuously, year-round.

Orchids’ fragrance also helps to make them popular.  Some orchids are wonderfully fragrant.  But, the scents from fragrant orchid flowers are extremely variable.  Some orchids have subtle scents and other species are extremely strong.  The scents can range from flowery to fruity.  Some orchids have suprisingly familiar aromas such as chocolate, raspberry, coconut, lilac or citrus.

In the wild, many Orchids grow attached to the bark of trees or entwined in the cracks of rocks.  Air can circulate freely around the roots.  They don’t do well in dense, wet soil.  For this reason they should be planted in bark pr sphagnum moss rather than typical potting soil, and in pots that will drain readily.  Orchids’ roots rot quickly if left standing in water.

Most orchid plants should be watered about once or twice a week.  During the summer, your orchid plant may need to be watered more frequently, about every four to five days.  A good rule of thumb to follow is the more heat, the more water you should give your orchid.  Conversely, the less heat, the less the plant should be watered.

Depending on the species of orchid, they prefer a lot of light. but not strong, direct sun.  They do very well sitting in an east facing window.  Since many orchid species can be found naturally in tropical conditions, they are used to receiving shade and dappled sun.    The leaves of Orchids that receive too much light will turn yellowing.  If this occurs you should decrease the amount of light that your orchid receives.

Yellowing of orchid leaves may also indicate insufficient feeding.  Orchid plants should be fertilized on a regular basis about every other week.  You should also water your orchid plant before applying the diluted nutrient solution if the potting media is dry.

Raising beautiful orchids takes just a little education and extra effort.  The home gardener will be rewarded with gorgeous displays of blooms.

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