How to Raise Orchid Plants

Overview

Orchids are tropical plants that are native to rainforest and jungle environments. They prefer a warm location with a humidity that is 60 to 90 percent and a special potting media that does not contain soil. Orchid flowers consist of three sepals and three petals that alternate around the flower. Orchids will grow on all continents except Antarctica.

Growing Orchids

Step 1

Plant orchids in a medium designed specifically for orchid plants. This medium is a mixture of bark, sphagnum moss, charcoal and peat moss, mimicking the way orchids grow in nature. Do not plant orchids in potting soil.

Step 2

Place orchids in a location with air circulation. Set up a fan to move air if the circulation is low. This will assist with disease and fungus infections.

Step 3

Place orchids in a location where strong sunlight is available, but so that the orchids are not directly in the light. The sunlight should be filtered similar to leaves of a tree filtering light in a forest. Curtain blocks or setting the orchids away from the direct light will accomplish this. Direct sunlight will burn the leaves while too little light will inhibit growth and blooming.

Step 4

Place a humidifier near the plants to increase the humidity as orchids pull moisture from the air. Another option is to place the plants on a tray that is filled with water and gravel. Do not place the plants directly in the water.

Step 5

Water orchids with salt-free filtered water and allow it to run out of the bottom of the pot. Orchids do not require a lot of water as long as the roots are white and plump with green tips. Once-a-week watering is adequate under most conditions.

Step 6

Fertilize orchids planted in bark once a month with a high nitrogen formula such as 30-10-10. It is best to fertilize at a lower concentration than higher. Low-light orchids need less fertilizer.

Step 7

Repot orchids every 2 to 3 years or when the potting medium starts to break down and the plants start to outgrow the pot. It is time to repot when the bark begins to turn into organic matter similar to soil and the new root growth begins to grow out of the pot.

Tips and Warnings

  • Salt is toxic to orchids and should be filtered out of the water. You can buy gallons of filtered water with no salt.

Things You'll Need

  • Orchid growing medium
  • Fan
  • Humidifier
  • Tray
  • Gravel
  • Water
  • Filtered water
  • 30-10-10 fertilizer

References

  • Orchids: Living House Plants
  • OrchidMania
Keywords: growing orchids, orchid plant care, tropical orchids

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.