Orchids are the world's most exotic plants, according to William Cullina, director of horticulture at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Though there are dozens of types of orchids with species-specific care requirements, several general maintenance strategies for orchids that aren't in bloom can help maintain the plant's health. With the right care, you can encourage the future production of the colorful blossoms for which these plants are known.
Adjust the temperature. Depending on the orchid species, the plant can typically handle minimum winter evening temperatures of 45 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the University of Tennessee. Whatever your orchid's temperature requirements, the university recommends allowing the temperature to drop by approximately 10 degrees at night. Plants kept at the same temperature all day and night won't flower.
Fertilize the orchid plants to provide them with the energy they need for vigorous growth and blossom production. Don't overfertilize, as this is one of the top reasons an orchid plant dies, according to the University of Georgia. The university suggests using a 30-10-10 liquid orchid fertilizer, administered once every four weeks at 50 percent its labeled application rate.
Water the orchid plants properly. Typically, orchids should be given enough water that moisture drips out of the bottom of its pot. Water again once the surface of the orchid's growing medium has dried out, according to the University of Florida.
Give the plants light. Insufficient light is the chief reason that an orchid plant won't flower, according to the University of Tennessee. Light needs vary according to the species. Use the plant's foliage as an indicator of light needs. Too little light, and the leaves will look dull. Too much light, and the leaves will burn and turn yellow or black.
Keep the plants humid. Air that's too dry may stress the plants, and stressed plants often will not blossom. Spritz the plants once or twice a day with a spray bottle filled with water. Alternatively, the University of Georgia suggests placing the orchid plant pots atop pebbles on a tray filled with water.
Things You Will Need
- Orchid fertilizer
- Spray bottle
- Tray and pebbles (optional)