How to Grow Orchids Indoors
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Orchids are a beautiful and popular houseplant. It is the largest group of flowering plants, with between 25,000-30,000 different species. There is a huge variety of beautiful orchids you can own and grow indoors, which generally have the same care practices. However orchids are the diva of the plant world; beautiful but high maintenance. People often get discouraged once the flowers die, and wonder when it will bloom again. Orchid owners must be patient! Orchids only bloom 1-2 times per year, for a short amount of time (most bloom for a couple weeks – couple months at a time). I put orchids towards the difficult end for houseplants. Orchids need strong and varying degrees of light, high moisture, special pots and soil (or “growing medium”. Orchids don’t grow in typical soil), and a good schedule for fertilization.
Here is Our Quick Guide to Growing Orchids Indoors:
- Water when soil is almost dry. This is usually around twice a week during the summer and once a week during the winter. But feel the growing medium to see how wet it is. This highly depends on your home’s humidity levels.
- Water earlier in the day, especially before a hot day.
- Needs high humidity – mist every couple days during the spring and summer. Don’t mist in the middle of the day, with the hot direct sunlight. The droplets can burn the leaves.
Want to learn more about water? Read our post: ‘Everything You Need to Know About Watering Your Plants’
- Eastern or western facing windows while in bloom
- Southern facing windows while dormant
Want to learn more about fertilizers? Read our post: ‘Everything You Need to Know About Light’
- Orchid potting mix
- Can be grown in a variety of media as long as it is airy for the roots
- Specialty orchid pots let roots breathe
- Suggestions for pots:
Don’t repot an orchid while in bloom
- Orchid’s are not heavy feeders, but do need regular fertilization during dormancy (when it has no flowers)
- Use a balanced or all-purpose fertilizer. Specialty orchid fertilizers are okay.
- 1/4 of the recommended dose strength for chemical fertilizers every other week – month. (I don’t like to use chemical fertilizers – see fertilizer blog post below for why not)
- Full dose strength for organic fertilizers every other week – month.
Want to learn more about fertilizers? Read our post: ‘Everything You Need to Know About Fertilizers’
- Different orchid species like different temperatures. In general they like warm daytime temperatures and cool nighttime temperatures.
Dormancy and cultivation
- Orchids go into dormancy after blooming for the better part of the year
- Keep fertilized during dormancy with an all-purpose fertilizer
- Cut the flower stem once it has fully turned brown
Want to learn the basics of indoor gardening? Check out these posts:
Check out my photos from the New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show!