Growing Orchids

close up of a white orchid with an orange center

Growing these colorful flowers does not have to be intimidating. With a little specialized care, these exotic beauties can bloom for months and thrive in your home for years.

  • Choose one of the easier orchids for the home. These include the moth orchid (Phalaenopsis), slipper orchid (Paphiopedilum), bamboo orchid (Dendrobium), dancing lady orchid (Oncidium) and florist’s orchid (Cattleya).
  • Provide bright, indirect light. Orchid leaves can sunburn easily.
  • Water frequently just before potting mix dries out. Never allow plants to sit in water.
  • Fertilize in spring and summer with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.
  • Provide plenty of air circulation. If you’re really serious, use a fan.
  • Most orchids like temperatures between 55°to 60°F at night and 70° to 85°F during the day.
  • Raise humidity around plants with pebble trays or humidifiers.
  • Remove spent bloom spikes at the base of the plant.
  • Repot after flowering in coarse orchid bark that provides excellent drainage every 2 to 3 years.
  • Orchids love a “summer vacation” in a fully shaded outdoor location, such as a porch.
  • Watch for insect pests like scale, mealybugs, aphids and spider mites.

— Aaron Steil, Manager of Public Programs | Photo caption: Phalaenopsis