Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Orchid Growing Tips - Choosing, Watering, Repotting, Fertilizing and Maintenance Tips

The beauty and variety found in the orchid family has made this exotic plant extremely attractive to professional horticulturalists and home gardeners alike. The myth that these beautiful plants are nearly impossible to grow is constantly being discredited. Growing orchids in your home or garden is not only possible; it can be relatively simple with a little knowledge. I've compiled some tips in each of the major areas of orchid care. I hope they help to make your orchid growing experience rewarding and stress-free.

Tips For Choosing an Orchid:
Choosing the right orchid is the key to orchid growing success. You see, there are over 25,000 species of orchid and they come from all over the world; places with high temperatures and high humidity, mild climates and even high altitudes. If you want to be successful growing orchids the best thing you can do is research. Find an orchid that comes from an area most like the one you live in or can easily replicate in your home. From there you just need to find the right plant. The following are some tips on what to look for when purchasing an orchid.

Tip #1: Be sure to purchase a plant that has some unopened buds as there is no way to know how long your blooms will last if it has fully flowered.
Tip #2: Leaves should be firm and medium green.
Tip #3: An orchid infested by bugs will have a sticky substance on its leaves and should be avoided.
Tip #4: Flowers on a healthy orchid will be lustrous, held on a well-supported spike and not have any spotting.
Tip #5: Look under the paper wrapper. While the decorative wrapper may look pretty, it can hide potential problems and does not provide proper drainage. Inspect the whole plant and, if you choose to purchase it, remove the wrapper as soon as you get it home.

Watering Tips:
Tip #1: Water your orchid as early in the day as possible to give the water on the leaves time to evaporate.
Tip #2: Softened water can kill your orchid.
Tip #3: Over-watering can be more damaging than under-watering. Try to water the day before your orchid dries out.
Tip #4: Get to know your orchid. Feel the potting medium around your orchid when you have just watered it and when it is nearly dry. Pick up your plant to get familiar with the weight of a watered orchid and one that needs moisture.
Tip #5: Use lukewarm water and water for 15 seconds.
Tip #6: Make sure to provide adequate drainage. Some people like to provide humidity after watering by setting it on pebbles soaking in water. Do not let your plant or pot sit directly in water.

Repotting Tips:
Tip #1: Never repot an orchid that is in bloom.
Tip #2: Repot when your orchid is just beginning to show new growth.
Tip #3: Sterilize your cutting tools with rubbing alcohol or a lighter.
Tip #4: Bamboo skewers (found at most grocery stores) make great stakes to secure your plant.
Tip #5: Water your orchid and rinse the new potting medium before repotting.

General care tips:
Tip #1: Most orchids need high humidity and direct sunlight in the winter and indirect sun in the summer.
Tip #2: Orchids need Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium along with other trace elements such as iron. Make sure your fertilizer includes all and in the right proportion: 20-20-20.
Tip #3: Make sure you take some time to sit back and enjoy the "fruits" of your labor.

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