Make your home blossom with these orchid planting tips

Give your tropical flowers a helping hand with these orchid planting & flowering tips.

Updated

Orchid planting tips

Key steps

  • Water orchids once a week
  • Check the leaves are getting enough light – they should be bright green
  • Keep them in small pots
  • Use a special orchid potting mix containing bark and dried plant fibres
  • Ward off bacteria with a sprinkle of cinnamon

Most wild orchids grow clinging to the bark of trees, absorbing moisture and nutrients from their environment. Understanding how they’ve adapted to these conditions is the best way to know how to take care of orchids at home. Though they’ll bloom from flowerpots instead of tree trunks, following these orchid tips will help you replicate their ideal conditions and make them flourish.

Try planting orchids in transparent pots so that their roots can access the light. Unlike many plants, orchids use their roots to photosynthesise as well as their leaves.

How to take care of orchids: tips and tricks

  • Keep them hydrated but not soggy. The key to knowing how to care for orchids is to get the watering right. Saturate them with water once a week, letting the soil get close to drying out before watering again. Misting your orchids with water from a spray bottle each day helps to give them the humidity they would enjoy in the wild.
  • Pick a sunny spot where the light isn’t too direct. Orchids need sunlight but a harsh glare could burn their leaves. Healthy orchid leaves should be a bright green colour, while darker leaves indicate they’re not getting enough light. Lighter, yellow-green or reddish leaves are a sign of too much light.
  • Use a special orchid bark mix. As orchids evolved to live on trees with plenty of air space around their roots, they won’t take to regular potting soil. Orchid potting mix usually includes bark, dried plant fibres, charcoal, and gravel. Find the right orchid mix at your nearest garden centre and follow our step-by-step guide when it’s time to repot them.
  • Keep orchids in small pots. This might sound counter-intuitive but one of the best orchid flowering tips is to keep them in the smallest pots that their roots can fit into (without breaking or damaging). Orchid roots are adapted to cling onto surfaces for support. If they have too much room, the orchid will divert energy into finding a new surface instead of flowering!
  • If your orchid has a disease, move it away from others ASAP. Spray with a specialist insecticide to get rid of bugs. Cinnamon is a great natural remedy for bacteria and fungus: keep some nearby and sprinkle over the plants whenever you trim their leaves, stems or roots.
  • Cut the stem to the nearest bud after flowers have dropped off. Looking for orchid flowering tips to help your orchid rebloom? After the flowers have all dropped off, cut the stem down to just above the nearest joint. This will encourage another flower stem to grow.
  • Use a fertilizer that’s designed for orchids. Tips on the right dosage and frequency will be included in the instructions but most growers use a full-strength solution once a month or a ¼ strength solution once a week. It is important to always avoid fertilizing a plant that you haven’t watered in a while as it can burn dry roots.

How to grow orchids from seedlings

If you’re looking to expand your collection, buying seedlings is one of the savvier orchid planting tips for getting more blooms for your buck.

Note: it can take years for orchid seedlings to flower, so this is one for the committed orchid lovers.

All the orchid tips above apply when you’re learning how to grow orchids from seedlings, but it’s important to keep a closer eye on the little ones. Like the babies of any species, their immune systems are fragile and losing a leaf or a root will have a more serious impact.

Make sure that your orchid seedlings are:

  • Kept hydrated
  • Positions out of direct, harsh sunshine
  • Treated for any signs of pests or mould quickly

Learning how to care for orchids can take a bit of trial and error but whether you’re a budding orchid enthusiast or just lucky enough to receive this beautiful bloom as a present, our orchid tips will help you keep these precious flowers healthy and full of colour.

Originally published