With their velvet petals and elegant shape, orchids are prized among both flower newbies and collectors. Their symmetrical design mirrors the human face – you can divide an orchid down the middle and have the same design on both halves. There are more than 25,000 known species and the list continues to grow as scientists and horticulturists alike find and create new varieties. To add one to your collection and for some care tips, read on.
It is important to give your orchid proper lighting to produce those gorgeous blooms. With proper lighting, an orchid will produce bright green foliage and grow strong and upright. To make sure your orchid does not get burned, it is important to expose them to indirect light rather than direct. You can test the lighting of different areas in your home by setting down your orchid, placing your hand about six inches above the plant and looking at what shadows are cast. Sharp shadows mean high light, soft shadows mean medium light and no shadow indicates poor lighting, which will not work for your orchid.
Orchids require just the right amount of water – they do not want to be over watered. The best solution is to water the orchid as it begins to dry out. Here are some clues that will help you identify when it’s time to get your orchid a drink:
When you do water the orchid, water the container thoroughly until the water runs from the drainage holes. This should be done at least once a month. Note that clay containers do not retain the moisture as much as plastic ones.
I suggest planting your orchid in sphagnum moss, commonly known as peat moss. For the best growing environment for your orchid, look for a sphagnum moss with long, fluffy strands that will help maintain proper water levels.
At a minimum, you should fertilize your orchid once a month, but it can be done every other week. It is best to use a 6-6-6 mix. The numbers indicate the amount of N-P-K nutrients in the fertilizer.
To read more about fertilizers, check out the Gardeners Supply Company information here.
If you have a passion for orchids or want to learn more about this gorgeous plant, check out the American Orchid Society. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, you can take a road trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden to see their large display – they have around 7,000 specimens. I love to talk all things plants as well, so feel free to drop me a note or visit our Interior Plantscaping group online. You are always welcome to give us a call at 515.987.0800 too – we would love to hear from you!