How not to kill an orchid
Orchids often grow on tree trunks and branches and are therefore a bit high maintenance as indoor plants. But so rewarding when they’re happy! Follow these simple tips to keep your orchids healthy.
Most orchids need 6 hours of indirect sunlight - like in a south or east facing window. Artificial lighting can also be used.
Pay attention to the leaf colours as these can indicate if your orchid is liking its lighting. With enough light, the leaves will be grassy green. Dark brown leaves mean your orchid is not getting enough light, whereas yellow or bleached leaves mean too much. If you see brown patches on the leaves, lessen the lighting immediately - this could be a sunburn.
Temperature & Humidity
Most orchids prefer room temp with a fluctuation of 2-3°C between day and night.
They love humid environments (50% or above). You can place a humidifier near your orchids or mist the area regularly.
Watering & Feeding
Water thoroughly every 1-2 weeks using around 100mL of water. Allow the water to drain out of the pot for around 15 minutes and dispose of excess water. You’ll want your orchid to dry slightly before watering again.
Tip: another way to water your orchid is to place 1-2 ice cubes in your orchid’s pot once a week for a slow release of water.
As for feeding, orchids do not require an abundance of food. Orchids can be fed simply by sprinkling a small amount of worm manure into the pot.
Orchids should be repotted either when the roots outgrow their container or when the potting media breaks down and loses drainage (~every 2 years). Here’s how:
- Choose a well draining pot around 2-5 cm larger than the pot it is currently in. Use a potting media that is well-draining, carbon-rich with plenty of air flow such as Jocelyn’s Soil Booster Activated & Inoculated Biochar.
- Sterilize your orchid’s new pot with an isopropyl alcohol solution to prevent exposure to unwanted bacteria.
- Grasp the orchid close to the roots and gently pull it out of the pot. Carefully loosen the roots and remove as much of the old media as possible.
- Use a sharp clean knife/scissors to remove any shriveled, soggy or black/brown coloured roots.
- Place the orchid in the pot so that the bases of the leaves sit just below the rim of the pot. Add potting media around the roots, tapping the pot as you go along to allow the media to settle around the roots. Do this until the roots are covered.
- Water your orchid well, allowing the pot to drain and pour out the excess water.
Some orchids go into dormancy in the winter months because of a drop in temperature. This may last anywhere from 6-9 months and is nothing to worry about as long as your orchid looks otherwise healthy. Give your orchid more light or increase temperature to shorten dormancy.
I hope you find these tips helpful and feel confident to grow orchids yourselves!
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