Common Name: Orchid, Moth Orchid
Botanical Name: Phalaenopsis Blume
Orchids are a timeless classic that add sophisticated elegance to a space. Delicate and colorful flowers grow in clusters, known as an inflorescence and gently dangle from a thin stem, creating a dramatic appearance. In nature, Orchids latch on to trees and they tend to grow higher up in the canopy. For this reason, when grown as houseplants Orchids typically need a trellis to provide support for the flower spike.
These tropical plants have a bit of a reputation for being particular in terms of care, but they really don't need much to be happy. Orchids are a plant that prefer a bit of neglect and given the right conditions, these houseplants can be absolutely stunning.
Orchids come from a very large and diverse family of plants. As a testament to the natural beauty and popularity of these plants, there are hundreds of thousands of hybrid varieties, as well.
Orchids need lots of bright indirect light to thrive. Since they can be found high up in trees when growing in nature, they are used to receiving plenty of light. It's important to make sure the light your Orchid houseplant receives is indirect, since direct light can be damaging.
Over-watering is a problem for all plants, but Orchids are particularly sensitive to too much water. These houseplants are somewhat drought tolerant. When watering, make sure to let the water drain through, but let the soil completely dry out before watering again.
Warm and consistent temperatures will keep your Orchid happy and thriving. As tropical plants, they like to stay warm. Temperature fluctuations can be a problem, so avoid placing your Orchid near heating or cooling vents, exterior doors, and any other areas that may experience drastic changes in temperature.
Orchids also like breezy conditions from time to time. This relates back to how they grow in nature, since high up in the tree canopy can be a windy location. Houseplant Orchids can benefit from a fan on a very low setting and placed several feet away from the plant, creating a gentle breeze.
While Orchids don't like a lot of water, they absolutely love lots of humidity. Orchids thrive in areas with high humidity. You can help re-create the dampness these houseplants crave with a humidifier or a pebble tray with water.
Fertilize or feed your Orchid to help the plant continue to bloom. Orchids only bloom when they are in good health, and that means they must receive proper nutrition. A diluted complete liquid fertilizer, a slow-release fertilizer, or a fish/seaweed emulsion can all provide your Orchid with a balanced diet.
- Remove spent flowers by trimming the stalk or flower spike near the base. Most varieties of Orchid will not bloom again from the same stalk, so it can be removed. This allows the plant to focus its energy into pushing out new growth and gearing up for the next round of flowers.
- Wait until your Orchid is done blooming before repotting. Repotting can be stressful for plants, and repotting while the plant is in bloom may cause the flowers to drop.
- Providing the right conditions not only helps your Orchid grow and thrive, it also helps the flowers last longer. Most Orchids bloom once a year, while some varieties may bloom several times. Flowers usually last for about 2 months, but maintaining a warm and slightly humid environment can allow the flowers to last for several more weeks.