These elegant flowers have long been admired for the fragrant, colorful flowers that have three inner petals, three outer petals and one distinctively different petal in the middle. There are over 30,000 species of orchids in colors ranging from white, pink, yellow, red, purple to orange with dark green foliage, and they make attractive houseplants. Caring for orchids is relatively easy with just a few steps, and when given the right environment orchids will continue to grow for years.
Place your orchid in a location that receives the right amount of sunlight, not too little or too much. Set the plant behind a light weight curtain or window blind on a south-facing windowsill. Direct sunlight can burn the plant, while too little light will prevent the plant from flowering. If the leaves turn a dark green, the plant is receiving too little light and if they turn yellowish-green or red, too much sunlight.
Keep the temperature for your orchid around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit with a drop of 10 to 15 degrees at night so the temperature is around 55 to 60 degrees F. This change in daytime to nighttime temperatures is necessary for the orchid to continuing blooming. If the temperature stays the same, the plant will have plenty of healthy foliage, but little flowers.
Ensure your orchid has consistently humid conditions. This can be achieved by placing the container with your orchid in a pebble-lined tray filled about halfway with water. Be careful not to let the bottom of the container come in contact with the water in the tray. Maintain the water quality in the tray by removing the pebbles about every other month and cleaning them in a weak bleach solution, removing any algae buildup on the pebbles.
Water your orchid early in the morning using a watering can with a spout. Watering once a week is usually sufficient and during the warmer months you may need to water twice a week. Never let the soil dry out completely in between watering. As a rule of thumb, only water when the top 2 inches of the soil is dry.
Feed your orchid once in the early spring with a water soluble fertilizer high in nitrogen (30-10-10) which encourages abundant foliage and strong roots. Apply a balanced fertilizer, 10-10-10, once in the summer and again in the fall.