How to Maintain an Orchid Plant

Overview

Orchids grow all over the world, from the tundra to the rain forests, and they come in many shapes and sizes. The one thing many orchids have in common is that they make lovely houseplants. With their long woody stems twisted at interesting angles and alien-like blooms, orchids really do look like they came from another world. Most orchids grow in similar conditions so maintaining an orchid as a houseplant is simple as long as you follow a few steps.

Step 1

Plant the orchid in a large well drained pot with osmunda fiber or pine bark. Orchid roots need plenty of space for air as they grow in trees or on rock crevices in the wild. Fill the pot halfway with osmunda fiber or pine bark and place the orchid inside. Fill the pot full of osmunda fiber or pine bark. Do not cover the orchids' rhizome with the potting mixture.

Step 2

Place the orchid near a brightly lit window but out of direct sunlight. Make sure the orchid gets morning and afternoon sun for several hours. Artificial light, such as fluorescents, may be used if you do not have enough natural light in your home.

Step 3

Water the orchid when the potting medium dries out. Some orchids need more water, such as Haemeria, while Cattleyas need less. Make sure you know your orchids' watering needs.

Step 4

Keep temperate orchids within the temperature range of 60 to 78 F. Keep cool temperature orchids in a range of 50 to 70 F. Keep warm temperature orchids in a range of 65 to 85 F.

Step 5

Fertilize the orchid once a month with a 30-10-10 orchid fertilizer. Use half the recommended amount for the best results.

Step 6

Re-pot the orchid every 2 to 3 years. Remove the orchid from the pot and remove any brown roots. Place the orchid in a new, larger pot with new potting material. Fill the pot with more potting material, but keep the rhizome uncovered.

Tips and Warnings

  • When caring for orchids do not over water or over fertilize them as it will kill them.

Things You'll Need

  • Large, well drained pot
  • Osmunda fiber or pine bark
  • 30-10-10 orchid fertilizer

References

  • The University of Georgia: Growing Orchids
  • University of Hawaii: Orchid Care for the Novice--An Orchid's Perspective

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M University : Care of Phalaenopsis Orchids
Keywords: maintaining orchids, orchids, caring for orchids

About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer for many online publications including Garden Guides and eHow. She is also a contributing editor for Brighthub. She has been writing freelance for over a year and her focus' are travel, gardening, sewing, and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Hollan taught English in Japan. She has a B.A. in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.