Orchids are a perfect plant for your home or office because they don’t need a lot of light, water, or nutrients – just someone who knows how to deal with their delicate nature!
Okay, so orchids aren’t that delicate, but you have to know a few things about these unusual & beautiful epiphytes!
What is an Epiphyte? Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants, but they are not parasitic. Plants in this group include air plants & orchids as well as some ferns and bromeliads.
Light – needs sufficient light. Leaves should be lighter green, almost yellowish tint – should not be dark green. Dark green foliage is an indication that your orchids are not getting enough light.
Air – select a growing site that has some air movement that mimics an orchid’s natural environment.
Media – orchids are epiphytes – that is the botanical term for “air plant”. This means that orchids don’t need soil to grow, but they grow on other plants or objects for physical support, they are not parasitic.
Water – watering orchids weekly should be enough to keep them healthy. Allow the media to dry out between watering – this will keep the orchid watered, while preventing fungus or disease to develop.
Fertilizer – orchids aren’t heavy feeders, so you won’t have to fertilize as often as you would other plants, like tomatoes, which are heavy feeders. When applying fertilizer, choose a balanced 20-20-20 or similar blend that contains NO urea. The reason for this is that orchids are not grown in soil with the soil-borne organisms necessary to breakdown the urea into a usable form (if you have media with mycorrhizae, you may be okay).
Those are the basics of orchid care – they aren’t delicate, they just need some love from someone who can deal with their strange growing habits and understand their needs. Overall, orchids are fairly low-maintenance, but there will be a time you may need to prune a flower stalk, or you may need to repot an orchid from time to time. Check out my other articles on those topics below – or watch my latest Plant Rant to see how it’s done!