How to care for your Orchid….

….we are discussing Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid) only here. Obviously there are many other types of orchid, but these are the ones you come across most often.

Watering

  • over watering is the most come cause of death with orchids. Water your orchid once every 2-3 weeks in winter and approx once a week to two weeks in the summer months.
  • NEVER let your orchid stand in water for a prolonged amount of time as the bark they are growing in as well as their roots will begin to rot away.
  • your orchid is likely growing in a clear plastic orchid pot. Hold the orchid over the sink or somewhere where the water can drain away. Pour tepid water through the pot, and try not to let any water land in the growing point where the leaves join together. In the summer you may get away with it but in the winter it can sit there and cause the growing point to rot away. It’s game over if that happens. Let the water drain out of the base of the pot. Sit on the draining board for an hour or two to allow excess water to drain away.
  • some say you should not use tap water and use fresh rain water instead. This isn’t always practical and we find watering with tap water is fine.
  • you will see grey green roots on your orchid. The grey green is called velamen and absorbs moisture from a humid atmosphere. Thus on warm days you may benefit your orchid by giving these roots a light spray with tepid water. Do NOT cut off these roots which often appear as wayward escapees. If the roots have gone brown/black they have died and should be cut out and if severe repot the plant.

Feeding

  • We recommend feeding every second watering with a specialist liquid orchid feed. Add the prescribed number of drops to the water and water as above.

Position

  • in nature these orchids are epihytes growing on the branch or trunk of a rainforest tree. Thus they do not require strong sunlight. In fact strong sunlight in summer will scorch the leaves to yellow brown from green. Sit the orchid where it can get some natural light but not strong sunlight.

Repotting

  • we would suggest repotting your orchid approximately every three years. Use a specialist orchid compost whose many ingredient is bark chips. If the roots are turning more brown than green/grey then also look to repot, cutting out any dead brown roots, and removing claggy old compost. We will produce a video showing how to do this.

Temperature

  • keep the temperature as steady as possible. Wild fluctuations are not good and can lead to buds falling off before they flower. The best temperature is room temperature (20-21 Centigrade) or a little higher.

Blue Orchids?

  • Orchids with bright blue flowers are really white. As the flower spike of a white orchid is developing blue die is injected into the spike.

Questions?

If you have a question please email us at orchid@kewgardener.com

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