The climate in Florida lends itself very well to growing orchids of almost all varieties. From the Cattleya, to the Dendrobium, to native species such as the water spider orchid, Florida’s warm, humid environment suits them all. And if you want to grow your favorite orchid in Florida, you probably won’t need a greenhouse or other special conditions, because the warmth and humidity are exactly what most orchids need to grow strong and healthy and produce their lovely flowers.
Caring for Orchids in Florida
Purchase your orchid based on its needs. If a native Florida species exists near your home, that would be a natural because it will be mostly carefree. If you can determine that the orchid you like has a preference for the temperature and light conditions in your home or in your yard, it will survive better than other varieties that might need special conditions.
Pot your orchid in a non-soil mix of bark and other ingredients designed for orchids. Be sure that the pot you use has at least one drainage hole. If you want, you can tie your orchid to a tree—because they don’t need dirt, they often grow on trees in their native habitats. The shade from the tree will give your orchid the correct light conditions it requires.
Keep your potted orchid in an area that receives filtered sunlight or partial shade. Monitor the conditions in your yard during a sunny day to make certain strong sunlight will not burn your orchid’s foliage. Without enough light, your orchid might not bloom.
Don’t over-water your orchid. Allow it to dry out somewhat between waterings and check to make sure that it never sits in a saucer full of water because the roots can easily rot.
Provide other environmental conditions that orchids like. Check humidity and try to keep it between 60 and 80 percent. Give your plant sufficient air circulation—set up a small fan near it if you need to improve airflow. Keep a thermometer next to your orchid—most orchids do best if the ambient temperature remains above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your winter temperature frequently drops below 65 at night, move your orchid indoors when cooler weather is forecast. Although your temperature is not likely to exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit, beware that orchids cannot survive very high temperatures.
Give your orchid a special fertilizer designed for orchids that has an N-P-K ratio of 30-10-10. Follow label instructions for mixing it and for frequency of application—many orchids do best if you fertilize them every two weeks.
Things You Will Need
- Orchid bark
- Pot(s) with drainage holes
- Humidity meter
- Orchid fertilizer
- Flush your orchid with plain water two or three times a year to wash out any salts that might have accumulated in the planting medium. Repot your orchid every year or two years because the potting medium will break down and fail to give your orchid the conditions it needs.
- Florida law prohibits the unauthorized collecting of orchids from the wild.