Orchids are one of the more diverse plant species on Earth, with many varieties cultivated specifically for growing in the home. An orchid does not grow in the soil the same way that other plants do. Instead, orchids grow in sterile mediums consisting of osmunda fibers or pine bark mixed with peat. This is one way that orchid care differs from that of other flowering plants. Caring for your flowering orchid properly ensures it remains healthy and continues to bloom for as long as possible.
Place the orchid near a brightly lit window. Use a south-facing window if possible so the plant receives light all day. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight--instead set the plant approximately 2 to 3 feet from the window. Outdoors, place the orchid pots in an area that receives partial shade.
Set the temperature in the room with the orchids at 65 to 75 degrees F during the day, and 5 to 10 degrees cooler at night. Check the orchid's plant tag for specific temperature requirements as some varieties tolerate slightly higher or lower temperatures.
Fill the pot's drip tray with a layer of decorative pebbles or floral marbles. Fill the tray with water so the water level is even with the top of the pebbles. Set the pot on top the pebbles. This provides needed humidity to the orchid. Mist the leaves once every two days with distilled water to add humidity.
Check the plant tag prior to watering orchids to see the specific watering requirements for the variety. Water low-water orchids, such as miltonias, when the soil surface begins to feel dry, or about once a week. Water moderate-requirement plants just before the soil begins to feel dry or every two to three days. Water high-requirement plants often enough to keep the soil heavily moist.
Fertilize orchids once monthly with a liquid-soluble, 20-20-20 analysis fertilizer. Apply it at half the rate recommended on the fertilizer label. Alternately, use a formulated orchid fertilizer following label instructions.