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How to care for an orchid and make it thrive all year long

Orchids are one of the most common houseplants as they are great for brightening up our home decor. But they often have a reputation for being too sensitive to survive for long. Knowing how to care for an orchid can seem a bit overwhelming, considering there are over 22,000 orchid species.

However, it is not that difficult to learn how to care for an orchid with proper care and attention. In fact, if you keep a healthy orchid in the right conditions, it will continue to bloom and look beautiful for months. So before you give up your precious orchid, here are five tips on how to care for an orchid and keep it growing year-round.

If you have other houseplants that have seen their last days, try these 5 tips for saving a dying plant before it’s too late, or learn how to care for succulents.

How to care for orchids?

orchid watering

Watering an orchid (Image credit: Shutterstock)

1. Moderate water — Most orchids do not need much watering and only need watering once a week. Pour the water not directly onto the plant, but to the roots under the leaves. Avoid over-watering as it will cause root rot which will cause the plant to die. Also, use pots with drainage holes to allow excess water to drain out of the pot and keep a saucer or drip tray underneath.

One way to control watering is to insert your finger about an inch into the pot. If the mixture is dry, it needs water, otherwise leave it alone. If you want something more accurate, this XLUX Soil Moisture Meter ($12, Amazon).

CLUE: Use small or medium ice cubes to water orchids. Ice cubes will prevent excess water, increase its absorption and prevent rot.

Orchids on the windowsill

Orchids on the windowsill (Image credit: Shutterstock)

two. Place your orchid on a bright window sill — Normally, orchids thrive in bright but indirect light. If possible, place them near a south- or east-facing window to make sure they get the right amount and intensity of sunlight. It is recommended that orchids receive at least six hours of indirect sunlight or bright shade each day. Likewise, orchids do best in moderate temperatures and will die if they get too cold.

CLUE: Never expose orchids to direct sunlight because they will literally burn in the sun. Likewise, avoid cold drafts and always maintain a constant temperature.

cloudy orchids

Cloudy Orchids (Image credit: Shutterstock)

3. Mist the orchids daily — Orchids do well in 40-60% humidity. Spray an orchid regularly with a fine sprayer up to twice a day, depending on where the plant is in your home. Other ways to increase humidity are to place a water-filled saucer or a pebble tray under the plants to help the water evaporate. Or you can always buy a humidifier to put next to your orchids. Lack of moisture or insufficient misting can cause flower drop, stunted growth or brown-tipped leaves.

CLUE: Avoid using tap water and use distilled or boiled water in the kettle. Normally, tap water contains impurities that will affect the growth of the orchid.

orchid pruning

Orchid Pruning (Image credit: Shutterstock)

4. cut off dead stems — Trim or cut off brown stems when flowers die to encourage new shoots. Orchids usually do not bloom more than once on the same stem (moth orchid or Phalaenopsis is an exception). First, cut the stem just above the node where the first flower opened. This should encourage a new bud or buds to grow to have more beautiful flowers for the next cycle. Also cut off any brown or diseased leaves with spots.

If you want to learn more pruning tips, read on. how to prune roses and when or how to prune hydrangeas

CLUE: When pruning, always cut diagonally at a 45-degree angle to provide more surface area. Also, be sure to disinfect garden tools after cutting tissue from the infected plant. This will prevent the transfer of more germs and diseases.

orchid fertilization

Fertilizing an orchid (Image credit: Shutterstock)

5. Fertilize orchids once a month — Mix in a ‘balanced’ liquid fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 to feed your orchids in bloom. This will provide you with all the right nutrients you need to thrive. You can purchase any orchid food from your garden center, but always check the instructions before using.

CLUE: Wait a few days to water your orchid after using fertilizer, otherwise the nutrients will be lost in the water.

When do you keep your orchid?

planting an orchid

Plant an orchid (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you notice that your orchid has suddenly stopped blooming but has all the right conditions to thrive, it may need to be replanted. Plant it in a fresh orchid mix that contains specific nutrients to encourage healthy drainage and airflow.

Remember that orchids don’t grow in soil because this suffocates and kills their roots, so never mix the soil and always opt for orchid mix.


Looking for more gardening tips? Check out our guide to 5 things to prepare your garden for spring. If you have allergies, you need to know how to get rid of dust mites quickly. You can use vinegar to clean your humidifier, but here are 7 things you should never clean with vinegar.


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How to care for an orchid and make it thrive all year long

Orchids are one of the most common houseplants, as they’re great at brightening up our home décor. But they often have a reputation for being too delicate to keep alive for long. Considering there are more than 22,000 species of orchids, knowing how to care for an orchid can seem a little challenging. 
However, with the proper care and attention, learning how to care for an orchid is actually not that hard. In fact, if you keep an orchid healthy in the right conditions, it will continue to bloom for months and look beautiful. So before you give up on your precious orchid, here are five tips on how to care for an orchid and make it thrive all year long. 
If you have other houseplants that have seen their last days, try these 5 tips to save a dying plant before it’s too late or learn how to care for succulents. 
How to care for an orchid 

Watering an orchid (Image credit: Shutterstock)
1. Water moderately — Most orchids don’t need much watering and will only require water once a week. Don’t pour water directly onto the plant but into the roots underneath the leaves. Avoid overwatering, as this is will lead to root rot, which will cause the plant to die. In addition, use pots with drainage holes to allow excess water to run out of the pot, with a saucer or drip tray underneath to catch it. 
One way to check for watering is by poking your finger about an inch (2.5cm) into the pot. If the mix is dry, it needs water, otherwise, leave it alone. If you want something more precise, you can invest in a soil moisture meter like this XLUX Soil Moisture Meter ($12, Amazon). 
TIP: Use small or medium sized ice cubes to water orchids. Ice cubes will avoid overwatering, improve absorption and avoid rot.   

Orchids on windowsill (Image credit: Shutterstock)
2.  Place your orchid on a bright windowsill — Typically, orchids thrive in bright, but indirect light. If possible, place them near a south- or east-facing window to ensure they get the right amount and intensity of sunlight. It’s recommended that orchids should get at least six hours of indirect sunlight or bright shade a day. Similarly, orchids do best in moderate temperatures, and will die if they get too cold.
TIP: Never place orchids in direct sunlight as they will literally get sunburnt. Similarly, keep away from cold drafts and always maintain a constant temperature.  

Misting orchids (Image credit: Shutterstock)
3. Mist orchids daily  —  Orchids do well in environments with 40-60% humidity. Spray an orchid regularly with a fine mist spray bottle up to two times a day depending on where the plant is located in your home. Other ways to increase humidity is to place a water-filled saucer or tray of pebbles beneath plants to help water evaporation. Or you can always buy a humidifier to place beside your orchids. Lack of humidity or insufficient misting can lead to falling flowers, stunted growth or brown-tipped leaves.
TIP: Avoid using tap water, and use either distilled or water boiled in the kettle. Typically, tap water contains impurities that will affect the growth of the orchid. 

Pruning orchid (Image credit: Shutterstock)
4. Cut back the dead stems — Prune or cut off brown stems once the flowers have died to encourage new shoots. Generally, orchids do not flower more than once on the same stem (the moth orchid or the Phalaenopsis are an exception). First, trim the stem just above the node where the first flower has bloomed. This should encourage a new shoot or shoots to grow to have more beautiful flowers for its next cycle. In addition, cut away any brown or diseased leaves that have spots on them.  
If you want to know more pruning tips, you can read how to prune roses and when to do it or how to prune hydrangeas.
TIP: When you’re pruning, always cut diagonally in a 45-degree angle to allow for greater surface area. Also, make sure you disinfect gardening tools after cutting away infected plant tissue. This will prevent the transfer of further germs and disease. 

Fertilizing an orchid (Image credit: Shutterstock)
5. Fertilize the orchids once a month — Mix a ‘balanced’ liquid fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 to feed your orchids while they are flowering. This will provide all the right nutrients it needs to thrive. You can buy any orchid plant food from your gardening center, but always check the instructions before use. 
TIP: Wait a few days to water your orchid after using a fertilizer, or else the nutrients will end up lost in the water.  
When do you repot your orchid? 

Repotting an orchid (Image credit: Shutterstock)
If you notice your orchid has suddenly stopped blooming but has all the right conditions to thrive, this means it may need repotting. Repot in a fresh orchid mix that contains special nutrients to promote healthy drainage and airflow. 
Remember that orchids do not grow in dirt as it will smother their roots and kill it, so never mix soil and always go for an orchid mix. 
Looking for more gardening tips? Check out our guide on 5 things to get your garden ready for spring. If you have allergies, you’ll need to know how to get rid of dust mites quickly. And, while you can use vinegar to clean your humidifier, here are 7 things you should never clean with vinegar.

#care #orchid #thrive #year #long


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