Caring for orchids is all about providing the plant the right combination of essential elements like temperature, light, water and food for copying the orchid’s natural environment. But there are over 25,000 orchid species, found on all continents except Antarctica, each used with all kinds of different conditions, so creating the right environment and caring correctly for orchids may be a little tricky.
Light is essential for each orchid. In fact, insufficient light is the most widely known cause for an orchid not blooming. There are orchid species that have their provenience from equatorial regions, like Vanda or Cattleya that are naturally used with a lot of sunlight. Even so, direct sunlight is not indicated, especially during midday. It is better to have the orchid plant positioned on a west-facing window. But there are orchid types that naturally live in forests and are used to a lot of shade. So for them to correctly adapt to artificial conditions, an east-facing window is indicated. Green orchid leaves will suggest that the plant doesn’t get enough light, while yellow leaves are a sign of over-exposure to sunlight. If you see brown patches on leaves you must reduce the sunlight.
You should also check what temperature is ideal for your type of orchid, as there are significant differences from one orchid type to another. Temperatures between 65°F(18°C) and 75°F(24°C) at daytime are perfect for a Cattleya orchid, 70°F (21°c) and 85°F (30°C) for a Phalenopsis orchid while Masdevalias does not need temperatures higher than 70°F (21°C). At night the temperature should be about 10-15 °F lower than during daytime.
Watering is another essential factor in orchid caring. Make sure you water early in the day, once every 5-7 days depending on orchid type and climatic conditions, and that the water temperature is close to room temperature. You should never overwater the orchid; otherwise the leaves will get damaged and will become yellow. Many make this mistake, damage from overwatering being the most important cause in orchid diseases. Stop watering for a few weeks if this happens.
The orchid must have a humidity of 50-70%, but again, depending on temperature this can change. There are orchid types that live near the Equator like Vanda that needs 80% humidity. Because this level is higher than the one found in homes, you should consider using artificial methods to increase the humidity level.
Orchid food has also an important role in caring for orchids. You must provide your orchid nutriments that contain potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus. Also at every 2 years the orchid must be repotted because the potting mix will start to decompose, compress, and become denser and the orchid roots will not have enough access to air.
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