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All-Things Orchids

pink and purple orchids on a table.
Image by Nelly Senko courtesy iStock.

Exotic, bewitching and absolutely beautiful, orchids have long-been considered one of the most prized flowering plants to cultivate. Although they were once challenging to track down and buy, they are now relatively commonplace and can usually be purchased at a local grocery store. But one thing remains constant, and that is the particular set of conditions these special plants need in order to survive and thrive. If you've always want to try your hand at growing orchids, or are interested in getting yours to re-bloom again check out this list of care tips to keep in mind.

Pot For Success

Repotting an orchid with orchid bark and pebbles.
Image by kulbabka courtesy iStock.

Orchids are classified as epiphytes, meaning they're a type of air plant that grows on another plant for support and gathers all their moisture and nutrients by absorbing from the air and water rather than through soil. That means a traditional pot filled with soil isn't going to cut it for this plant. Instead, orchids thrive in free-draining matter such as orchid bark, moss, or even small pebbles which holds them steady and brings nutrients to their roots while allowing for maximum drainage and airflow.

Mind Your Watering

Though they hate sitting in standing water, humidity-loving orchids also shouldn't be allowed to dry out for too long. Your best bet it to water your orchid just after it's dried out. You can check this either with a moisture meter, a wooden skewer, or your finger. To water, allow your faucet or a watering can to deliver a gentle stream of water to the plant for about 15 to 20 seconds. Let the plant drain for at least 20 minutes before returning it to it's typical spot. Be sure not to let the orchid rest in sitting water as this can lead to root rot.

Get Into the Mist(ing)

Misting a flowering orchid with a spray bottle.
Image by Mary Violet courtesy iStock.

Right at home in the jungle or rainforest, orchids love humidity which can be a challenge in many houses and apartments. If your home maintains a humidity level below 40%, I highly recommend giving your orchid a daily misting. This chic mister from Hilton Carter's Target line is perfect for the job. Alternatively, if you enough sunlight in your bathroom this can be a wonderful and naturally humid environment for your orchid to thrive in.

Let the Sunshine In

A colorful collection of orchid plants on a window sill backlight by the sun.
Image by Kerrick courtesy iStock.

Ample sunlight is a must-have for keeping an orchid happy and is especially important for encouraging it to bloom again. Bright, indirect light is best such as a north-facing window with no obstructions. However, east- and west-facing windows are also great contenders. If you have south-facing windows, be sure to place your orchid further into the room away from the window(s) as too much direct sunlight can scorch them.

Feed Me

Last but not least, orchids benefit greatly from an occasional dose of plant food. A popular and effective choice is this organic spray option from Espoma. Another great natural and organic fertilizer for orchids is worm castings which can be sprinkled into the bark or moss that the plant is potted in for a slow-release method of feeding.


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