How to Care for Indoor Orchid Plants


Orchids of many varieties are the superstars of houseplants. Some, like the Phalaenopsis, or "moth," orchid, are comparatively easy to grow and can be encouraged to flower. With over 30,000 species of beautiful orchids existing on nearly every continent on our planet, you might even be able to find one that is native to your region. The most common orchids grown by the home gardener include Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Phalaenopsis and Vandas. With just a little special care and a few adjustments to your home environment, you can succeed at growing one of these special plants.

Caring For Indoor Orchids

Step 1

Grow your orchid in shredded bark, sold as orchid mix at nurseries. You can repot your orchid into an attractive pot with a drainage hole if you wish, but they like to be rootbound, so if you leave your new orchid in its nursery pot, it will be fine for about two years until the potting medium begins to break down.

Step 2

Give your orchid filtered or indirect sunlight. Correct light is one of the most important factors that orchids need in order to thrive.

Step 3

Water your orchid sparingly and only when its bark is dry. Never allow it to sit in a saucer full of water because the roots or crown can rot.

Step 4

Keep the temperature in the orchid's room above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 5

Maintain a high humidity in the orchid's environment. Most orchids prefer 60 to 80 percent moisture. You can keep track of this with an inexpensive humidity meter and you can increase the humidity by keeping your plant on a saucer filled with pebbles, which you keep moist.

Step 6

Set up a small fan to keep the air circulating---this can keep fungal diseases at bay.

Step 7

Fertilize your orchid every other time you water it. Use a special plant food developed for orchids, which will have an N-P-K ratio of 30-10-10. Follow label instructions for mixing this product with water.

Tips and Warnings

  • Yellowing leaves can indicate that your orchid is getting too much sunlight. If the leaves become dark green, give it more light.

Things You'll Need

  • Orchid bark
  • Appropriate light
  • Plant saucer
  • Pebbles
  • Appropriate temperature
  • Appropriate humidity
  • Orchid fertilizer


  • Orchids of the World
  • Orchid Mania
  • American Orchid Society
Keywords: orchids growing, house plants, tropical flowers

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.