Orchids are among the most highly appreciated flowers, thanks to their overwhelming beauty and delicacy. Due to their ethereal appearance, it’s commonly thought that this plant is fragile, difficult to cultivate, and maintain. On the contrary, orchids are quite resilient, although they require proper care for healthy and lush growth. Today, it’s possible to find these plants in every nursery at reasonable costs, as their reproduction process is straightforward.
There are numerous species, and the most well-known are the Phalaenopsis, originating from Asia, named for the unique shape of their flower, resembling a large butterfly.
Orchids require warm and humid climates, like those found in tropical and subtropical regions, for proper development. Therefore, it’s advisable to place them in well-lit areas.
If grown indoors, orchids should be positioned in front of the windows that receive the most light. It’s important, however, to avoid direct sunlight exposure and rapid temperature changes.
The best orientations for orchids are east and south. In the latter case, it’s recommended to position the plant in front of a window well-shielded by curtains and blinds, to avoid direct light. The ideal temperature for cultivating these flowers is around 15 – 18°C (59 – 64°F).
In winter, it’s better to keep them close to heat sources like fireplaces or radiators. Additionally, it’s good to mist the foliage (not the flowers) with demineralized or rainwater. It’s not advisable to use tap water due to its high chlorine content.
Orchids should be watered once a week, without overdoing it. The plant’s substrate should be somewhat damp but not overly wet.
In addition to misting, another highly effective watering method is immersion. This technique should be practiced weekly. Essentially, the plant is immersed in a basin of room-temperature demineralized water. The liquid level shouldn’t exceed the pot’s rim, and once the substrate is well-moistened, it should be allowed to drain.
In their natural environment, orchids obtain moisture from the air. When cultivating them indoors in our apartments, this process is impossible. This is why the immersion method is highly effective for plant hydration.
Fertilizing and Planting Orchids
Fertilizing orchids should be done every 20 days. The product to add to the substrate is a liquid orchid-specific fertilizer. However, using it excessively can lead to the plant’s death, so it’s better not to overdo it. You can find suitable organic products here.
The most suitable substrate for planting orchids (which you can purchase here) is a wood chip substrate, composed of inert material or bark (such as Pine). In nature, these plants grow and develop by anchoring themselves to trees. For this reason, it’s completely incorrect to plant this flower in soil. The roots, being aerial, need to be exposed to sunlight for chlorophyll photosynthesis.
Orchid pruning should be done after the flowering period, using the right tools. Long flower-bearing stems can be pruned at the second branching node. Alternatively, stems can be maintained, awaiting new flowering.
Dry branches should be cut at the base, while green ones are better left unpruned to potentially give rise to a new orchid with more inflorescences.
After blooming, orchids might not produce flowers for a long period. To stimulate flowering, a slight temperature change can be applied, along with specific liquid fertilizer rich in potassium and phosphorus, every fifteen days.
For repotting, it’s best to use a specific transparent container (like this) to consistently monitor root conditions. The pot should be perforated and larger than the plant.
First, fill the bottom of the pot with bark or inert material. Second, before planting the orchid, gently clean excess material from the roots and trim dry ones. Finally, place the plant in the new pot, avoiding root compression. The plant should be watered only after a week. Repotting should be done after the plant’s flowering period, typically in spring. It’s recommended to occasionally check the inert material inside the pots, as it can deteriorate.
Fascinating Facts about Orchids
Orchid blooms can last up to three months with proper care. Orchids are suitable for indoor cultivation, less prone to frequent pest attacks. However, they can also be grown in gardens or on terraces. If you’re interested in trying these cultivation methods, we suggest considering the Cymbidium species, one of the hardiest and easiest to care for. This species thrives in both cold and warm temperatures. It’s important to remember that these specimens shouldn’t be buried; even when outdoors, the substrate should consist of bark or wood chips specifically designed for orchids.