How Do I Take Care of an Orchid?

Overview

Orchids are adaptable plants with more than 28,000 species variations. This showy plant generally blooms three-petal blossoms that include three petal-like sepals. Still, some variations will bloom five- and seven-petal blooms with balanced sepal counts. Orchids are tropical, herbaceous monocots that thrive in warm, humid temperatures with few extreme temperature deviations.

Step 1

Water the orchids regularly. Check the soil's moisture levels prior to each watering to prevent overwatering. Use a wooden stick or your finger and place it approximately one to two inches into the soil near the root system. Water the orchids when no soil returns on the stick or your finger feels dry.

Step 2

Irrigate the orchids in the morning to allow the plant ample time to create and process its nutrients before nightfall. Ensure that the orchids are in well-drained areas to prevent wet feet and potential diseases.

Step 3

Feed the orchids monthly during the growing season. Use a well-balanced fertilizer such as a 20-20-20 or 10-10-10 combination. Distribute the fertilizer evenly around the plant at half strength. Water the fertilizer in thoroughly and never fertilizer a dry plant.

Step 4

Keep the orchids' planting area free of debris and clutter. Keep outdoor orchids free of weed invasions by adding a thin layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant. Hand pull any developing weeds from the area immediately. Make sure that the root system of the weed is pulled completely from the ground.

Step 5

Repot indoor orchids at least once each year, or as the plant outgrows its container. Remove the orchid from its container and gently remove the excessive soil from the root system. Use sharp, sterile scissors to trim away any dead or dying roots.

Step 6

Repot the orchid in a larger, fresh container with a good drainage system. Center the orchids and fill the container with clean, nutrient rich soil that has equal amounts of organic compost. Irrigate the orchids thoroughly after repotting.

Step 7

Keep indoor orchids in a warm area that receives at least six to eight hours of full sunlight each day. Place the orchids away from direct heating and cooling sources, such as heating vents and air conditioners.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Potting soil
  • Water

References

  • American Orchid Society: How Do I Water My Orchid?
  • University of Georgia: Growing Orchids
  • Texas A&M Extension: Orchidaceae Orchid Family
Keywords: orchid care, caring for orchids, growing orchids

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional and freelance writer. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994. Smith draws on her business background to write articles, and her work has appeared in a variety of online outlets. She holds a degree in business from Cleveland State University.