Home & Garden Gardening

6 Easy Steps to Caring For Your Orchid

Until relatively recently, it was assumed that making a success of growing and looking after orchids was limited to the minority of specialist orchid experts or those who could afford to employ them.
But, with the wide selection of orchid species together with the number of associated hybrids available, there are many varieties which are suitable for enthusiastic amateurs to grow indoors and even in the garden.
Choosing Your Orchid.
The first step is to select the right type of orchid which will thrive indoors, which is where most people who are new to orchids begin.
All orchids are noted for their unique and beautiful flowers which is the primary reason for their popularity as plants to grow in the home.
One variety of orchids which is particularly popular is the Phalaenopsis, commonly known as the Moth Orchid, which has white or purple flowers.
This plant is commonly found in garden centres and plant shops where they are often bought as presents.
Its popularity compared with some of the rarer orchids, is a result of the relative ease with which it can be grown and cared for by the first time orchid owner.
Indeed, it is not unusual for orchid growers who experienced the satisfaction of successfully growing their first phalaenopsis orchid, to develop both their interest and knowledge by searching out and growing some of the rarer varieties.
Your Orchid Needs Daylight
In the wild most orchids require long periods of partly shaded or filtered sunlight rather than the sustained direct exposure to a strong midday sun.
Being a member of the epiphytes group of orchids which grow on trees by attaching their roots to the bark, the phalaenopsis manages to achieve this optimum amount of sunshine.
When grown indoors, these shaded conditions can be replicated by locating the orchid close to an east facing window during the hot summer months.
For orchids in rooms with limited natural daylight, especially during the winter period, the plant can be artificially lit for the normal daylight hours.
This method of supplementing the available daylight uses fluorescent light fittings over the plant at distance of 30cm (1 foot).
The Right Temperature for Your Orchid
This type of orchid originates from the tropical and sub-tropical climates which means that it relies on continuous warm conditions, 29 Celsius (85 Fahrenheit) maximum daytime temperature, and 16 Celsius (60 Fahrenheit) minimum night-time temperature.
Watering Your Orchid
The orchid requires continuous moisture below the surface of the potting medium.
This can normally be achieved with a watering frequency of about once a week.
When in doubt, check that the exposed roots (aerial roots) feel dry before watering, and avoid excessive watering.
Orchids Thrive on Humidity
Again, due to its natural habitat, the phalaenopsis requires moist air conditions, with an optimum humidity range of between 55%-75%.
These conditions can be obtained in the home by placing the orchid pot on a small tray containing moist gravel, pebbles or small stones, but avoiding direct contact between the pot and the water.
Feeding Your Orchid
To ensure your orchid receives its nutritional requirements it is important to feed it by using soluble non-urea fertiliser in the water.
This can be carried out at intervals of one month, minimum.
Conclusion If, having read this article, your enthusiasm for owning an orchid has increased then, follow these steps to make the anticipation of growing an orchid successfully a reality.

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