10 Ways to care for your Orchid

While living in cold places, I discovered my love for orchids. Since it’s been so cold for so long, the plants in the house add a little joy to the house. Orchids are easy to care for. They require very little water, and once they bloom, you can enjoy these flowers for months! Orchids’ delicate beauty gives off the idea that they’re high maintenance, but according to the pros at Westerlay Orchids, looks are deceiving. We were thrilled to connect with Toine Overgaag, president of Westerlay Orchids, to find out his top tips for keeping your indoor orchid alive and thriving.

10 Good tips for your Orchid

  1. Check the Roots WeeklyWatering the orchid thoroughly under the faucet before pruningIf you’re wondering if your orchid is either over or underwatered, Overgaag says the best way to find out is by checking the roots weekly. “If they’re gray or look dry, soak them in water for thirty minutes, drain, and voila,” he says. “You’ll see they’re green again.”
  2. Water Correctlywatering an orchid in the sinkOnce you’ve determined whether or not your orchid requires water, Overgaag says it’s then important to actually water correctly. He suggests doing this by placing your orchid into a watertight container and pouring water onto the bark, then letting the water fill your container to the halfway mark. After that, Overgaag says to let your orchid soak for at least twenty minutes.“The orchid can soak for one to two hours if it is very dry,” he says. “Then, remove the orchid from the water and allow it to drain, pour out the water from the container, return the orchid to the decorative pot, and enjoy!”
  3. Know Your Orchid’s Lighting Requirementsorchid by a dark windowAs with all houseplants, your orchid’s lighting requirements may vary. For the most part, Overgaag says orchids like a lot of indirect sunlight. But if you’re unsure, simply check with your nursery, read the tag, or Google. “Where you place your plant will be the difference maker,” says Overgaag.
  4. Understand Orchids’ Specific Nutritional NeedsWhite and pink orchid near fertilizer While all houseplants can benefit from fertilization, Overgaag says orchids are especially susceptible to their nutritional needs.“Fertilize during the active growth period, then reduce fertilization during the resting period,” he says.
  5. Prune RegularlyHow to Prune OrchidsAnother common tip across most houseplants is to prune regularly, and Overgaag says this definitely applies to orchids, too. “Regularly trim away dead or yellowing leaves or dead flowers so the plant’s energy can stay focused on new growth,” he says.
  6. Keep Pests AwayCat playing with orchid petal on a table.Orchids are safe houseplant options for cats. If you see any sign of pests, bugs, or aphids, Overgaag says it’s imperative you get rid of them as soon as possible. That’s because these little critters take the moisture out of your orchid, which is a recipe for disaster. “There are many natural options, such as organic insecticidal soaps,” says Overgaag. 
  7. Ensure Proper AirflowOrchid with air roots placed in large clay potThere’s plenty of advice around water and sunlight, but Overgaag says fresh, circulating air is key to your orchid’s happiness, too. In fact, this is true for all houseplants. “Fresh air, ideally between 60°F and 75°F, helps to prevent fungal disease in houseplants,” he says. “Just avoid placing them directly below vents.”
  8. Have Patiencean orchid growing indoorsIf you have a few months of blooming and then your orchid seems to stop producing flowers, don’t panic. Overgaag says a dormant phase is normal. “Give it attention and time while it rests for the next blooming cycle,” he says.
  9. The “Ice Cube Method” Isn’t a Foolproof SolutionPerson watering a pink orchid plant with ice cubesAccording to a popular orchid-maintaining hack, you can simply place an ice cube onto your soil, and your orchid will thrive. Overgaag says there’s some truth to it, but it’s really only a short-term solution.“Ice cubes don’t water and drain properly,” Overgaag says. “Orchids are also tropical plants and don’t enjoy ice on their roots, and it will be tough to get your orchid to retain vigor and to re-bloom.”
  10. 10 Look for Signs to RepotPreparing to repot the orchid in a new pot If your orchid looks waterlogged, breaks, or appears to be outgrowing its current home, Overgaag tells us these are all signs to repot.“New potting soil with nutrients will encourage further growth,” he says.

It’s also important that orchids, like all plants, are living things—that’s why a certain level of care and attention is key.

“Everyone can have a green thumb by paying attention to their plant’s appearance and making necessary changes,” Overgaag says.

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