Orchid Care

Are orchids difficult to grow? No. Orchids are not difficult to grow as many people think. If you grow other plants in your garden then you can grow orchids in indoor and outdoor successfully. Orchids need different set of cultural practice in order to grow and bloom. Like any other plants orchids require light, water, fertilizer and air movement. Most of the orchids are epiphyte, in the wild they grow on the top (bark) of the trees. Orchid should be grown in a similar way they grow in wild. It does not mean you have to keep your plants on top of the tree but you have to mimic the way they grow in nature for proper growth and flowering.

The following simple steps will help you to make your orchid happy.

Light: Light is crucial factor in growing orchid. A grower should know how much light is an orchid need to thrive. But it is very difficult to tell how much light is an orchid need, because different kinds of orchid need different amounts of light. If plants get direct sun light it may burn the leaves and eventually kill the plant, and too little light will prevent plants from flowering.

Leaf is a good indicator of the amount of light a plant is receiving. yellowish-green or red color leaves indicate the plant is getting too much light. Dark green leaves or plant does not flower even if it looks healthy mean the plant is getting too little light. The leaves to your orchid will display a bright green once the plant is subjected to the optimum amount of light.

Watering: All plants need water but many people do not know how to provide it properly. Some water too much leaving standing water in the pot all day and contributing to root rot. Others don't water the plant for weeks and wonder why it can not survive. One of the big mistakes that people make is over watering their orchids. The amount of watering necessary depends on the temperature, potting medium and kind of orchid you are growing. A general rule of thumb is to water once a week or when you feel the soil has dried out. You may want to water more frequently in the summer and a little bit less in the winter. In our climate like Kerala orchid should be watered every day in the morning and afternoon (summer) if necessary. In monsoon plant should be watered twice in a week or once in a week. In both circumstances a grower should make sure the orchid medium is almost dry (Do not allow them to completely dry out) before watering it again. You can figure out when to watering your orchid by putting your finger into the pot - if it is wet – do not water your orchid, allow them to almost dry.

Temperature: Although orchids are tropical plants, they prefer cool temperatures at night. The most suitable temperature however for orchids are those in the range of 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit at night is ideal for optimum growth and flowering. Daytime temperatures should range between 70 and 80 degrees F. Temperatures as high as 90-95 degrees F for short periods will cause no harm, however, as long as proper humidity and air circulation are maintained. With this temperature, your orchid is ensured to flower during blooming season.

Ventilation: Orchid plants prefer air circulation as that is what they are used to in their natural environment. Air circulation benefits orchid plants as evaporation of excess water prevents fungi establishing on the plant. Other benefits of air circulation are prevention of leaf burn and replenishing of carbon dioxide. Orchid care in your home can be aided by having open windows in summer and a gentle oscillating fan during the winter months.

Humidity: Humidity refers to water vapor in the air, but not to liquid droplets in fog, clouds, or rain. Deserts usually have low humidity, and tropical regions have high humidity.

Orchids thrive in humid climates and if you want to grow them at home or green house you'll need to provide them with an area where they can have at least 50% to 70% humidity. You should not try and keep your humidity at the same percentage all the time. A fluctuation of humidity is desirable and gives the plants a chance to "dry out". A 50% drop during the day for short periods can be beneficial to your orchids.

Fertilizer: There are many ways and formulas for feeding your orchids. Some growers choose to buy almost any kind of fertilizer and their orchid reacts very well, blooming with hundreds of strong flowers. Others use only a certain type of fertilizer, carefully measuring the dosage to create a mixture with other elements in pure water. Many orchids react negatively to too much fertilizer, so fertilizing orchids is a careful process. Remember that in nature, orchids get only whatever fertilizer is delivered by the wind and the rain.

The kind of fertilizer orchids might need depends, in part, on the kind of medium used for potting. Orchids growing in bark or coconut husk and charcoal mixes do best with a liquid fertilizer that has a 19-19-19 or 20-20-20 analysis or, better yet, a specialized orchid fertilizer. To help promote flowering, you can use phosphorus rich fertilizer like 13-27-27. This is used just prior to bud formation. We recommend using a water soluble urea free fertilizer for best results.