Basic Orchid Care

We've all seen those pretty orchids at Woolies and you may have been given one as a gift or even splurged and bought one for yourself, either way, you now have an Orchid and it would be reeeealy great if it didn't die. I have become knowledgeable on the topic of Orchids and none of mine have actually died which I am taking as a sign I might be doing something right. Sharing is caring so here are my top 5 tips for Orchid care.

1. Identification - The most common orchid and the ones you will most likely buy is called a Phalaenopsis orchid. The leaves are a dark green and are stiff (they cannot bend). It has a long flower spike/ stem and the flowers hang like a pretty pendant. Identification is important so that you may get to know it's needs and how to care for it. If your orchid is not like the one described above, please visit this website where they can assist with identification on their webpages.

2. It's in the roots - In Phalaenopsis orchids specifically, it is easier to "read" their roots. I have my orchids in clear posts so I can see what the root system is like but I will cover that in a different post if there is enough interest in the topic.

All you need to know to keep it alive is DO NOT pot this type of orchid in normal soil, they need aeration around the roots so bark is perfect. Thirsty orchids will have a silver-ish film over the roots making the roots appear to be a light green shade. After watering the silver film will go clear and the roots will be a dark green shade.

You also get aerial root which are the ones that grow out the pot in all different directions. I can also cover this in another post if you would like. (let me know in the comments)

Dry VS wet roots
3. Watering -  Wait till the roots are completely dry/light green because they like this. If your roots are constantly dark green, consider reducing your watering. Right now, early Spring, I am watering every 6-7 days. Mid Summer I will most likely water every 3-4 days but "read" your roots and water accordingly.

Please avoid getting water on the leaves and especially in the leaf joins (where the leaf is attached to the crown of the plant). One small drop of water in the crown will give you crown-rot and orchids seldom survive crown-rot. Watch this VERY helpful video on the proper and safe way to water your orchid.

4. Light is beautiful - Do not place your orchid in direct sunlight. Their leaves are very sensitive and you will start noticing burn marks on the leaves if your orchid gets direct sunlight. With that being said, light is still important for these orchids. They love morning sun and afternoon sun as this is quite bright but not harsh. Windows facing east and west are ideal for orchids so try place them like this in your home. If your windows are quite sunny then place sheer curtains/fine lace curtains between the window and orchid to break that direct sunlight.

Extra tidbit: Any unopened flower buds will turn towards a light source like a window so it is a good idea to keep buds facing the light until they have all opened. If you don't, you may have flowers face all different directions and you lose that pendant like droop.

5. Downtime - Do not throw your orchid away once it has finished flowering. Just because it has no flowers does not mean it is no longer useful. With proper care in late Summer to Autumn, your orchid will flower again in Winter/Spring the next year after a rest period.

I can cover a few more issues in another post so please let me know if the information above sparked some interest and it will let me know if I am good at this giving advice thing. Comment below with your own orchid stories (good or bad) and Tweet me your orchid pictures.


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