Growing indoor orchids can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying hobbies that you will ever undertake. When you do begin, one thing is certain, you will need to be well informed and knowledgeable on their growth and care. This article will help you to get started with some useful orchid growing tips that I feel are the most important when just starting this exciting adventure.
Most of the orchids which have been cultivated for indoor growing are from orchid species that belong to the epiphytes group. They originate mostly from tropical and sub-tropical regions such as South East Asia and South America, with a few temperate varieties from areas of the Himalayas and Andes mountains, and have evolved to possess a unique set of growth characteristics.
Rather than competing for space, light and nutrients with other terrestrial or earth growing plants, this group of orchids grow in elevated positions by attaching their aerial roots to the bark of trees.
The benefits of such an elevated location include consecutive periods of strong but shaded and filtered daylight, the correct amount of moisture and nutrients, plus warm, humid and well-circulated air.
In the following, we will review each of the orchid’s growing conditions in its natural habitat and recommend how they can be most efficiently replicated in the home-grown environment.
The third orchid growing tips is that orchids require enough light not only to stay alive but also to grow and ultimately to produce flowers. A good indication is to determine if they are receiving enough light is by examining the leaves. Moderate to light green leaves means they are getting the right amount, while deeper and dark green leaves mean the level of light is not that good. Excessive heat may cause the leaves to suffer sunburn and also exhaust the food reserves of the plant. If you notice that the leaves are yellowing like autumn leaves, then you know that they have had to much heat.
Although its tropical and sub-tropical climate produces heavy rain, the elevated position of the orchid restricts the amount of moisture it receives.As a guide for its indoor growing environment, this can be converted into thorough watering about once a week with twice weekly watering during periods of hot temperatures. Before watering, check whether the potting medium and aerial roots are dry.Ideally, rainwater should be used, but if that is not possible, then tap-water at room temperature will be an acceptable alternative.
In the wild orchids obtain their nourishment from the rainwater collected and absorbed by their aerial roots anchored to the tree bark.An alternative form of providing nutrients for the indoor orchid is the addition of a soluble orchid fertilizer which can be applied during watering at intervals of between two and four weeks during the growing season.
Air Temperature and Humidity
Orchids in their tropical and sub-tropical habitat benefit from a constant warm to hot air temperature that is modified by high humidity levels. By contrast, many indoor orchids are grown at latitudes which experience periods of cold weather and dry air conditions.
For orchid to receive the best growing conditions, the room temperatures should be within the range of 16 Celsius (60 Fahrenheit) at night-time and a maximum day-time of 27 Celsius (80 Fahrenheit).
The increased humidity level can be achieved by placing the orchid pot on a waterproof tray containing small pebbles which have been previously watered, the moisture subsequently evaporating to increase the level of humidity. Care should be taken to avoid any contact between the pot and water.Another way to raise the humidity is to spray or mist the orchid by using a misting bottle; however, this should only be carried out during higher daytime temperatures when the water droplets will evaporate.
With the wild orchid growing from the tree itself, the ideal indoor orchid potting medium will contain at least a proportion of chopped tree bark, which can be mixed with perlite or charcoal.The important property of the successful bark-based mix is its ability to provide the combination of clear drainage and air circulation for the roots.
With the above tips, you will successfully care and enjoy indoor orchid growing. If, at one time, you are not certain what it is wrong with your orchid plant, talk with a plant expert about the problem. You can find them in Cooperative Extension offices, greenhouse nurseries or even Orchid Societies.