Orchids are said to require a great deal of care, but if you know the basics of how to look after yours, you are sure to have a long lasting beautiful plant, and to tell the truth, the flowers are so beautiful you probably won’t stop at one! Here are our recommendations to look after your orchids to perfection, and without too much effort either!
Also find our 8 must-know tips for people who love bouquets of flowers. Some of the tips may surprise you!
1) Choose carefully when deciding where to put it
The ideal temperature for an orchid is between 18 and 21°C. Orchids love humidity but they should be kept away from sources of dry heat, such as chimneys or even radiators. Also try to keep them away from draughts.
Find a well lit corner, but somewhere away from direct sunlight, which could burn the leaves (see the photo above of a burned leaf). If there are blinds on your windows, that could work. In winter, leave your orchid near a window so that it has maximal light (the rays of the winter sun are not dangerous for the orchid and putting it near a window will ensure it has enough light). You can move the orchid elsewhere during the summer months. Hint: an orchid that does not get enough light will produce longer and smaller leaves.
2) The pot
Preferably go for a transparent pot which will allow you to monitor the roots.
Don’t water an orchid with hard water, as this is not good for the plant. Go for rain water or mineral water, which is at an ambient temperature. A tip that will help you know if you need to water the plant is to look at the roots: if they are green, it’s all good! If they are greyish or if the green colour is fading, you need to water it. An orchid in flower needs to to be watered every 8 to 10 days, and if it is not in flower, it’s every 15 to 20 days. Be aware that if the weather is warmer, of course you need to water it more often. Never let stagnant water in the tray under the pot, or the roots will start to rot. Drain the pots well.
A few drops of lemon will do these plants the world of good, as orchids like acidity, which counteracts the effects of limey water.
It is important not to overdo it with fertilisers, and you can probably reduce the frequency with which you add it! A plant feed that is rich in potassium will be good for the growth of the flowers and a nitrogen fertiliser will be good for the leaves.
You will need to re-pot your orchids every two years in a larger pot. Increase the size of the pot by only one centimeter in diameter, to ensure that the plant and roots are still securely compressed. After re-potting, check that the orchid doesn’t move when you shake the pot. In terms of filler, you can use an even mixture of small pieces of pine bark (left out separately in a dish for a day to eliminate mites and fungus), dried or fresh sphagnum and polystyrene beads.
Be careful not to break the roots during re-potting!
You need to wait until there are no flowers left before you start this step. Cut the stalk below the first flower, making sure to cut above the node from which the new stem will grow. Next put the whole lot into a vase filled with rainwater, to which you add a few drops of lemon juice and fertiliser. After cutting, place the orchid in a cooler area (around 15° to 13°C minimum) for a few days.
Regrowth takes a while, you have to be very patient!