Orchid Care

orchidsIf you have wondered how to take care of an orchid or if your orchid isn’t looking as perky as it should, we’ve answered several common questions pertaining to these tropical flowers. Hopefully these will help you keep your orchids happy and healthy for a long time to come! If you have any questions, stop by The Family Tree to speak with one of our knowledgeable associates.

How often should I water my orchid?

Many people make the mistake of assuming that since orchids are native to tropical rainforests, they must be watered several times a week. Unfortunately, watering this frequently will kill the roots of any orchid in short order. The general rule of thumb for homegrown orchids is to water every 5-12 days, depending on the type of orchid, the temperature the plant is grown in, and the time of year. Orchids require more water in the warm summer months than they do in the winter.

How often should I be fertilizing my orchids?

Be sure to use an orchid food that is formulated for orchids and follow the instructions on the label. In general, most orchid fertilizers recommend usage once a month. Less frequent fertilizing may stunt growth and inhibit flowering, while more frequent fertilizing can burn the roots and leaves.

What do I do when my orchid stops blooming?

If your plant is healthy with thick green leaves that have not become wrinkled or droopy, cut the old flower stem up high, just above a node and just below the lowest bloom. If your orchid has thin, wilted leaves or if it is small with only 3-4 inch leaves, it is best to cut the flower stem all the way down, so that the plant does not weaken itself by blooming again right away. Carefully water and fertilize your plant to build it back into shape for future flowering on a brand new stem. This can take up to a year or more, as orchids are relatively slow-growing plants.

I am growing my orchid in the house, but it never blooms. What can I do?

The most common reason for an orchid not to bloom is insufficient light. Move your plant to a window where they will receive strong, but indirect light (near a south-facing window is ideal). You might also try lighting your plants with a fluorescent light fixture placed about 1-2 feet above the foliage.

The orchid in my window suddenly developed black blotches on the leaves! Is it sick?

It sounds like your orchid has a bad case of sunburn! Longer, brighter days can increase the light intensity in your window so that the leaves get too hot and burn. You need to move your plant back from the window or put up sheer curtains to help protect it from direct sunlight. Frequently check the orchid’s leaves and watch for any fading of the green color, which is an early indication that they are exposed to too much sunshine.