Tender orchids are among the most popular house plants to grow, but to keep them flourishing and flowering it’s important that some common mistakes are avoided.
Moth orchids are arguably the most popular and commonly grown orchids, found everywhere from garden centres to supermarkets. They enjoy a constant temperature of around 18°C, so are best grown indoors all year round.
Other orchids, like dendrobiums, cymbidiums and oncidiums need a minimum evening temperature of 10°C, so can be moved outside in summer to a bright spot out of direct sunlight.
Truth be told, once you learn a bit about what makes these plants unique, you can avoid the seven biggest mistakes that beginners generally make:
There’s a common mistake newbies make with orchids. These plants are not like other houseplants and as they don’t grow in regular soil, their watering needs vary too!
Don’t give your plant daily coverage – watering can occur only when the growing medium feels dry to touch
2. Overly Fertilizing the Plant
Not all plants need to be fertilized, and orchids in particular seem poorly suited for a regular feeding schedule. If you don’t want to harm your beautiful orchids, avoid adding fertilizer too often.
For best results, make sure to use a fertilizer that contains equal parts of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium. For example: 10-10-10 works well diluted with water in half, or in one quarter strength once every 5-6 weeks.
3. Keeping it in a Cool Spot
Orchids are delicate plants, so they should be kept out of direct sunlight and away from areas where there’s cold drafts. If you live in a cool climate like me then try not to place them near windows which can make your house feel stuffy or give off COLD air!
Also avoid positions around A/C vents because these will cause problems with temperature fluctuations. Additionally make sure not too expose your orchids to temperatures below 50 F.
4. Using the wrong pots
If you’re growing moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) you need to grow them in clear containers to allow the green roots to photosynthesise. Dendrobiums and cymbidiums don’t have photosynthetic roots, so can be grown in opaque pots. Vandas don’t need any pot at all, and can be grown in empty vases or suspended from wires.
5. Overexposure to Sunlight
It is also important that you do not expose your orchid to too much sunlight.Phals grow best under indirect sunlight, and they should be placed in a south or east-facing window. You can find out if your orchid is getting the right amount of sunlight by observing its leaves.
6. Use of Soil
Many people bring their orchids home and proudly plop them in a pot full of soil, expecting great results. But within a few weeks, the plant is dead. Yikes!
This is because orchids just don’t do well with soil. They need a loose and aerated potting mix so that the roots have plenty of room to breathe and draw water from the air around them. Soil just has a tendency to smother these plants, so avoid it at all costs in your orchid care!
7. Misting the Flowers
Orchids thrive best in the humidity of a tropical rainforest, but they can’t handle being too wet or moist. Misting them will result to sudden death and wilting blooms!
To avoid this tragedy, do not mist them at all. Instead, put the pot on a pebble tray filled with water. This will help with their humidity a lot, and will keep them healthy and happy!