How To Grow Orchids At Home

a purple orchid growing indoors

a purple orchid growing indoorsOrchids are notorious for being difficult to grow, which is why most people only ever see them in famous gardens around the world. Luckily, that is not always the case. Some species of orchids are almost impossible to grow successfully, but others aren’t that difficult at all. Most people will want to try their hand at the easier species, at least in the beginning. Here are step-by-step instructions to getting your orchid garden off the ground.

Choose a good species

The first thing you need to do once you’ve decided to grow orchids is to decide on a species. Cattleya, Phalaenopsis and Paphiopedilum orchids are the three easiest species to grow. I would recommend one of these three to all beginners. Even if you prefer to grow other orchids, start with one of these just to get a feel for the process and to figure everything out.

For those of you with a bit more experience, you are probably already aware just how many different species of orchids exist. No matter your situation, there is a good flower for you. Because there are so many, it’s difficult to get into specifics, but basically you want to match the orchid’s requirements with the climate in your area.

If you are growing indoors using artificial lights and atmospheric conditions, then you can obviously have a much larger selection to choose from. You can pick the type of orchid you find the most beautiful or you can pick one that you think will be a challenge. Perhaps you could even go for the most difficult orchids to grow of all. Good luck with that.

Choose the correct soil

a yellow and white orchidMost flowering plants can grow with regular potting soil. This is not the case with orchids. Choosing potting soil for your orchids is one of the most common mistakes, but orchids actually need a much more porous soil. Their roots need a lot of air. Bark chips, sphagnum moss, coconut husks, charcoal, perlite, and even styrofoam pellets all make good potting soils for orchids.

Your best that is to make a potting mix. Some orchid species will require a fine potting mix, while others will require a medium mix. The fine mix will use a fine grain fir bark or corn husk, while the medium mix will use medium grain. Apart from that, you also want to use perlite and either a fine mix or a medium mix charcoal.

Choose the correct pot

All but the largest orchids grow best in a snug pot. These plants like to be root-bound. One of the biggest orchid killers is overwatering, so you want to make sure your pot has plenty of drainage holes. Standard clay pots work great, but you can also use mesh pots, wooden pots or clear plastic pots. The see-through pots are actually great, because they allow sunlight to reach the roots directly and they let you examine the root system more easily.

Planting your seeds

If you are propagating your orchids from seeds, the main thing you want to be careful of is to keep a sterile environment. Do not handle the seeds with unsterile hands. You want to place them just beneath the soil in the middle of your pot. Adding fertilizer can help, but make sure it is environmentally friendly fertilizer

Potting an orchid

If you are not growing from seeds and are instead transferring the orchid from a different pot, you want to first make sure you cut off any dead or rotting roots. It might also be helpful to separate the roots into a few different sections. This way you can put the most mature section of roots directly against the side of the pot. Finally, lightly add some potting mix. Want to add just enough to barely cover the root system.

Provide the correct growing environment

a white orchidAll orchid species are different, so you want to follow the instructions for your specific species. Basically, you need to make sure the humidity is up, since most orchids require humidity. You also want to make sure they’re always getting enough water and sunlight, but not too much.

Always pay attention to the leaves, to see if they are becoming discolored or wilting or if you see any other problems. If so, you need to cut back on the water or water more, depending on the problem. In general, most orchids want to be watered every 5 to 12 days. Overwatering is the biggest killer, so definitely make sure not to do that.

When it comes to sunlight, the leaves tell you a lot here, too. If the leaves are dark, your plant is not getting enough light. If they are too light, it is getting too much. Adjust accordingly. Orchids also prefer not to have direct sunlight. For this reason, it is good to put them behind a curtain or a similar light material. That way the light still reaches them, but it doesn’t hit them directly. All of the above goes for artificial lighting solutions as well.

Orchids generally need to be fertilized about once a month. Never do it more often than that. If you over fertilize them, it will harm them. If they don’t get enough fertilizer it will impair their flowering process. Again, check the instructions for your specific species on how to do this correctly.

Get A Security System With Spy Cameras

Seriously. I learned this the hard way, when my garden was broken into and my LED grow light was stolen. I immediately bought several spy cameras and a full security system complete with window and door sensors. You may want the same to keep your orchid garden secure.

Caring for orchids doesn’t have to be difficult. If you get a species that is easy to care for, you won’t have too many problems. I definitely suggest doing this for your first orchid garden. Stick to the easy species and have some success, before you move on to a more difficult one. The most important thing is to watch your plant carefully, so you can diagnose any problems early and fix them before your plants suffers serious damage.

And once you’ve got a beautiful garden full of thriving orchids, you need a perfect, idyllic spot for enjoying them. Nothing is better for this than a hammock. First, good luck and happy growing! Then, happy hanging in your new hammock among your gorgeous flowers!

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