How To Care For Your First Orchid
Beautiful and exotic, orchids have quickly become the flower to have, and it’s easy to see why. They are stunning an eye catching; the only trouble is they are extremely delicate and weirdly hard to care for. Some demand less garden maintenance than others, but all require regular attendance and care. These days they are popular house plants, and are often bought already grown to save the hassle of planting and growing them from scratch. However if you’re keen to be the proud owner of a totally home grown orchid, follow our tips for success and earn your bragging rights.
Pick the right one
It’s tempting to go just based on how your new plant will look, but if you’ve never grown an orchid before, make sure you do a bit of research beforehand. Pick a hardier species and one that suits your environment and lifestyle. The moth orchid is a common favourite as it is relatively easy to grow and requires little garden care, but there are plenty of other options if you keep an eye out.
Get the light right
Orchids like all flowers need light all year round, but in the winter this can be harder to accomplish, so finding an east facing window with good light exposure is vital, and keeping the orchid there to help encourage it to bloom is a sure fire way to success. Due to the specific temperature needs of orchids (around 15-18 degrees Celsius – depending on species), outdoor rearing isn’t recommended, and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on indoor temperatures too.
Water it right
Due to the variations in access to water in the wild, orchids are used to a cycle of excessive water, followed by dry periods, so in order to promote a natural growth it is important to continue this cycle for house reared plants. To achieve this in the home, it is recommended that you water the plant thoroughly and then leave the soil to dry completely before watering again. The easiest way to check how your orchid is doing is to check the roots which should be bright green when wet, and then a nice silver-grey when dry; this will help you know when to water again. Growing your orchid in a clear pot is the easiest way to keep an eye on your plant’s needs. Again due to the delicate nature of the plant it has certain traits that mean it will grow better if tended with rain water rather than tap water. It’s also wise to let the water warm to room temperature before applying to the plant, as this again reflects the conditions it would experience in the wild. A good dose of fertiliser should be added in every three out of four water doses. The fourth watering will be used to flush out any toxins that have built up over the previous three weeks, so should be pure water only.
Repot the right way
Orchids are fairly low maintenance with regards to repotting only requiring moving to a new pot every two years. But when you do relocate your plant make sure you do it right. This means planting it using the right compost, specific to orchids, one that will nourish your plant, and ensuring you replace all the original compost from the first pot. As every keen gardener will tell you, it is also important to remove old roots, and then replace the plant into the same or similar sized pot, as orchids require a fairly compact space to encourage growth.
Enjoy your success
If you’ve followed these simple garden care tips then you should be the proud owner of a beautiful orchid that you can enjoy for years to come.