We have compiled a short list of the most commonly sought tips for orchid care in order for you to better understand and be able to properly care for your orchids.
Depending on the type of orchid you choose to grow, watering methods can vary. Typically, orchids can be watered between every 5-12 days depending on the climate and seasonal shift. Watering too frequently can actually drown the roots, causing the plant to die. There are exceptions and variations on watering methods for each type of orchid, so be sure to know the type of orchid and what watering method best suits the needs of your plant.
Some growers swear by what is known as the “ice cube method” which allows a slow but steady drip of water to evenly soak the soil and prevent over-watering. We here at “Plants By Bird” do not practice this method for several reasons, with the most important reason being that orchids are a tropical plant that enjoy warmer weather and higher levels of humidity than other plants. Frigid temperatures can affect them in harmful ways, including stunted growth, discoloration, a wilted appearance, damage to roots and stalks, and sometimes even death of the plant itself from exposure.
Maintaining the right lighting is crucial to proper orchid care. Orchids are native to more tropical climates, and flourish in copious amounts of indirect sunlight. They can handle direct sunlight, it’s a good idea to not allow them too much sun, as the leaves can actually become “sunburned” and damaged. A great indicator of your plants needs is to check the leaf color. If the leaves are a bright and vibrant green, you are right on the money with sunlight exposure. If the leaves take on a reddish hue, your orchid is getting a little too much sun and could benefit from a little shade. If the leaves turn dark green, the orchid is not receiving enough sunlight and should be allowed some direct light for a while.
If the leaves begin turning black, your orchid is getting an excess of direct sunlight and the leaves are drying out and beginning to burn. Move the orchid out of direct sunlight until the intensity has subsided a bit. Check for faded coloration on the leaves as an early indication of overexposure to prevent further leaf damage and burning.
Fertilizing and Feeding
The rule of thumb for orchid care when fertilizing is to make sure you are using fertilizer or plant food specifically designed for your type of orchid. Infrequent fertilizing may cause stunted growth and hinder flowering, whereas fertilizing too frequently can cause burning of the roots and leaves, as well as impeding flowering. It is important to follow the step-by-step instructions for fertilizing your orchid, and maintaining a balance with the type of soil and potting conditions you use. Some potting conditions require specific boosts in nutrients such as phosphorous or potassium as bacteria breaks down decaying topsoil additives. Know your orchid, and understand your potting soil and soil additions before settling on the fertilizer you wish to use. Every orchid and planting situation can be different, so it is important to research exactly what your plant needs to flourish and bloom into a beautiful addition to your garden or indoor sanctuary.