Until recently, many people thought about growing and caring for orchids as a complicated and mysterious process--when in fact the opposite is true. The Orchids are easy to care for and very forgiving. To keep your orchids blooming for many seasons to come, follow these expert tips from Selby Gardens greenhouse manager Angel Lara.
Know your orchid. Most orchids come with a care tag that includes important information about light, water and temperature requirements. It’s helpful to do some research on the genus of orchid you are caring for.
Keep a consistent watering schedule. The most common mistake people make with their orchids is over watering. Making small adjustments as needed is easier on a schedule.
Repot your orchid as soon as it is done blooming. Bark, charcoal and perlite are universally good mediums for orchids because they are well-draining.
Fertilize just before and during the growing season (typically spring and summer). Angel calls his method “weakly, weekly,” meaning that you should feed your orchid once a week with a watered-down fertilizer (no need for a specially marketed “orchid fertilizer”). Reduce feeding frequency to once a month or less during the fall and winter months, during the plant’s natural "dormancy."
Observe your orchid. Check for pests, spots, wrinkles, bad smells or other signs of dehydration or decay.
Most importantly, allow your orchids to experience seasons as they would in nature. There is no need for the use of chemicals on your plant (they could kill beneficial pests/fungi), and you do not need to bring them inside when it gets cold outside; instead, you can protect your plant from freezing temperatures by covering it with a blanket overnight.
If you do spot problems on your orchid, contact Selby Gardens with a photograph of your plant along with your questions at selby.org or take your plant with you to visit Selby. The knowledgeable gardeners are happy to help.