Raising orchids in your home can be fun and rewarding, and they are not as difficult to grow as you may think. Orchids are suited to most of the current conditions in your home. The pink, yellow, and lavender blooms range in size from two inches to five inches in diameter. Under the right conditions they can bloom from December through May. There are five popular types, Cattleya, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Phalaenopis, and Vanda.
The following instructions will help you determine the type that best fits you and your situation. Matching the orchid's natural habitat in your surroundings will increase your chances of success.
Orchids like humid conditions, the daytime humidity should be between 50-70 percent.
Lighting is extremely important to orchids. Lack of light will cause the orchids to appear lanky and not bloom properly; too much light will create a sunburnt appearance. Phalaenopis likes low light conditions, while Cattleya enjoys a high light atmosphere. Artificial light can be use to create favorable surroundings. The lighting system must be a combination of warm and cool lights.
Temperature for growing orchids varies with types that are classified into warm growing, intermediate and cool growing. They require separate day and night temperatures, most fall into the intermediate category. The Phalaenopis and Vanda enjoy daytime temperatures between 75-85 degrees, and nighttime temperatures of 65-70 degrees. Cymbidium likes temperature 60-75 degrees during the day and around 50 degrees at night, while the Catteya do best at 60-75 degrees in the daytime and 55-65 degrees at night.
Water is critical to orchids. The most common mistake made in growing orchids is over watering. Some like fairly dry soil, other prefer evenly moist soil, while others need infrequent watering. Most do not need a lot of water, however some do. Do your research; know what your orchid needs to prosper.
Air movement creates healthy orchids. They respond to a constant gentle breeze similar to the breezes found in the tropics.
Potting medium should be designed specific for orchids. The medium should contain bark, stone, sphagnum moss, perlite or similar material. They should be repotted as soon as they begin to outgrow their current pot. If the roots are black instead of white or beige, they should be removed.
Washing the leaves occasionally will prevent buildup of debris and the possibility of infestation.
Monitor your orchids regularly for aphids, mealybugs, mites, scale and slugs.
Orchids are susceptible to disease, wear gloves when handling your plants, and use tool that have been cleaned in a mild bleach solution.
Timely pruning of the flowers can produce a fresh spray of blooms, and you will be able to enjoy blooms for six months of the year.
With more nurseries and home gardeners making the commitment to grow orchids, these beautiful and wonderful flowers are more affordable and available for everyone to enjoy.