How To Grow Orchids At Home

It is possible for an orchid to bloom season after season while contentedly residing in a container for many years; however, you will need to repot the plant every few years. As time passes, the growth media decomposes, and as a result, it is unable to adequately attach the plant or supply it with the essential nutrients. There is also the possibility that an orchid will outgrow its pot, or that the cachepot that the orchid arrived in may not be the best vessel for the plant. (You may obtain orchid pots that are designed specifically for the plant and include additional drainage holes.)

If you want your orchid to remain happy and healthy, you need to know how to care for the plant, as well as when and how to repot it.

Optimal Growing Conditions For Orchid Plants

How To Grow Orchids At Home

These plants thrive in bright light, but should avoid the direct sunshine in the late afternoon (although dendrobiums can handle more sun). In addition to this, they require a high humidity level and enough air circulation around the roots. They must have frequent bouts of drying followed by prolonged periods of intense watering. Orchids do best in temperatures above 50 degrees but below 85 degrees.

The more closely you can replicate these circumstances, the higher the quality of your blooms will be and the more success you will have.

The roots of the majority of store-bought orchids are often contained within wet moss that is packed in low-cost plastic pots. Evidently, this breaks not one but two of the most important laws of healthy development. Because there is no circulation of air around the roots, the roots are never given the opportunity to totally dry out and die. As a result, the plant is unable to breathe, which ultimately leads to root rot.

The roots of orchids are extremely specialized organs that are intended to take up water very fast and also to breathe. They do not take any of the nutrients out of the ground. ​

The Life Cycle Of An Orchid

The growth patterns of orchids often fall into one of two major types. These divisions are: terrestrial and epiphytic. Orchids that are classified as monopodial have a single stem that grows straight up and their leaves are opposite one another along the stem. The flower stalk may be seen emerging from the base of the leaves that are on top. Phalaenopsis and vandas are two examples of orchid species that have this growth pattern.

The sympodial growth habit is by far the most frequent. These orchids have a horizontal growth pattern, with the rhizome producing new shoots at regular intervals. At the very tip of the new shoots, leaves and flower stalks begin to develop. Many species of sympodial orchids have pseudobulbs, which are essentially enlarged branches that may store water and nutrients to assist the plant in withstanding extended periods of dryness. Orchids such as cattleya, cymbidium, oncidium, and dendrobium are examples of sympodial orchids.

Orchids may also be categorized according to the environment in which they originated, which can reveal information about the conditions of temperature, humidity, and light that are optimal for their growth. Orchids that are indigenous to wet tropical climates, such as phalaenopsis and paphiopedilum, thrive best at daytime temperatures that range from 73 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and have a humidity level of 80 to 90 percent. They thrive best in a window facing southeast or east since the light isn’t as harsh in those directions.

Orchids that thrive in warm climates, such as dendrobiums and cymbidiums, are accustomed to having an average temperature in the range of 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, a constant supply of moisture, and enough air circulation. They will be content in a room with a south-facing window, although during the hottest parts of summer, they may want some filtered shade.

Cattleyas and certain oncidiums are only able to flourish in environments with dry and generally chilly days. They are able to withstand an extended dry season with temperatures reaching 80 or 90 degrees Fahrenheit, which is then followed by a distinct wet season. Due of the significant amount of light that they require, they must be kept in a bright window that faces south.

In cloud forests, where the average temperature ranges from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity is quite high, high-altitude orchids like masdevallia and epidendrum can be seen growing. These orchids do well in light that has been filtered and is not too strong.

How To Take Care Of Orchids

Since there are 30,000 distinct kinds of orchids, it is hard to offer broad guidelines on how to care for and grow orchids. On the other hand, the outward appearance of an orchid can give insight on how it likes its light, water, and growth medium to be.

If the plant has few leaves or leaves that are leathery (like the majority of cattleyas and oncidiums), it is likely that the plant requires a setting with a high level of light. It is likely that the plants are extremely sensitive to light; thus, a bright south-facing window is not the best location for them. This is the case with certain phalaenopsis and the majority of paphiopedilum.

If the orchid has fat pseudobulbs, it should be watered sparingly and planted on gritty fragments of bark or lava rock. This will ensure that it receives adequate drainage. If the orchid does not have any pseudobulbs, it may need to be watered more frequently, or it may be placed in a growth media that retains more moisture, such as sphagnum moss.


Since homes often have low amounts of light, it is best to choose orchid kinds that can thrive in these conditions if you want to have any chance of success growing them indoors. Orchids do very well when placed on windowsills that face east. A south-facing window that is not screened in might make the room a touch too bright and hot, but the addition of a sheer curtain can provide the perfect amount of filtering. You may also move the orchid a few feet away from the window so that it is exposed to dappled light rather than straight sunlight all the time.

In general, windows facing west are too hot for orchids to thrive in, but with the right amount of filtering (again, a sheer curtain is your best friend), you may be able to create an exception. Orchids often require brighter light than what is provided by a window that faces the north, thus we would not suggest using one of those windows.

But it doesn’t mean you have to keep your orchid in the exact same location forever! There is no risk involved with relocating a flowering orchid to another location, such as a table centerpiece or a display area, if you wish to use the plant for something other than a windowsill. Once it has finished flowering, you may simply return it to its previous location near the window.

Growing Media

Orchids Growing

Orchids that are classified as terrestrial flourish in soil and include paphiopedilums and certain types of cymbidiums. However, the most majority of tropical orchids are epiphytes, which implies that they do not require soil to develop but rather grow in the air. Their fleshy roots are protected by a layer of white cells known as velamen, which functions as a sponge to absorb water and is seen covering the roots. Additionally, the covering prevents the roots from losing heat and moisture through evaporation.

Orchids require a growth medium that has excellent air circulation, as well as one that allows water to drain away extremely fast. Additionally, it needs to provide the roots with something stable to cling to. Depending on the kind of orchid, it may be possible for the plant to thrive when grown in peat moss, fir bark, dried fern roots, sphagnum moss, rock wool, perlite, cork nuggets, stones, coconut fiber, lava rock, or a mixture of many of these different types of media. A number of epiphytic orchids may also be wired into slabs of tree fern or cork for additional support. Growing mediums come in a variety of forms, although fir bark nuggets are by far the most common.


The majority of orchid species are able to withstand periods of drought far better than they can endure periods of excessive wetness. There is no faster way to destroy an orchid than by allowing it to remain in a pot that is saturated with water. The plant will choke and perish if it does not receive a enough supply of fresh air.

Orchids really only need to be watered once every seven days as a general rule. Between bouts of watering, the growth medium should be allowed to get completely dry, and any extra moisture should be kept away from the plant’s roots as well as the media itself. The majority of orchids will not continue their active development for several months after having their pots replaced. During this time of readjusting, water should be used very judiciously.

Orchids and Humidity

Although most orchids are tropical plants, this does not mean that they require the same high levels of humidity to thrive in your house as they do in the tropics. However, dealing with the dry air that results from running the air conditioner in the house can be difficult. It is possible to provide the humidity that orchids require by giving them a regular misting or by placing them on a bed of damp gravel. If you do opt to utilize gravel, it is imperative that the container be placed on top of the rocks rather than being buried within them. In the absence of drainage, moisture may leak into the container and eventually suffocate the roots.

Orchids may have different requirements than the majority of your plants, but if you are able to understand the fundamentals of their care, you will find that orchids may also be easy-maintenance houseplants. Because of their one-of-a-kind characteristics, you may showcase them in a variety of creative ways, such as by constructing hanging planters to exhibit the captivating flowers they produce. If you have never attempted growing an orchid before, start with a species that is easy to care for, such as a moth orchid, before moving on to more difficult types that require more attention to detail.


Orchids need to be fertilized in order to maintain healthy development because the media in which they are grown supply relatively little nutrients. Make use of a liquid fertilizer, but dilute it to a greater extent than you would for other plants. Only when plants are actively growing is it appropriate to apply fertilizer to the soil. Because of this, the majority of orchids should not have their soil fertilized in the middle of winter or immediately after they have been repotted. The fertilizer with the ratio of 30-10-10 is used by many farmers, while others like 10-10-10 or 10-10-30. Your orchids will receive the micronutrients they need if you mist them with fish emulsion or seaweed extracts.


The process of growing orchids from seed is really challenging. Orchid seeds, in contrast to the seeds of other plants, do not have any storage tissues for the plant’s nutrients. In order for the seed to germinate and develop into a plant, it has to be planted in an environment that is hospitable to a certain species of fungi. These fungi are able to infiltrate the plant’s root system and transform the plant’s nutrients into a form that In order to increase its chances of survival, an orchid seed capsule will often release millions of tiny seeds, each of which is capable of traveling hundreds of kilometers away from the mother plant.

Work must take place in clean, sterile circumstances if orchids are to be grown from seed. It is necessary to cultivate the seeds in a gelatinous medium that incorporates both nutrients and hormones that promote development. Additionally, you need to have a lot of patience. It takes several months for the first leaves to emerge, and even after then, you will need a magnifying lens in order to see them. Even later on, roots start to show up. Before you see a bloom, it will be at least three years and maybe as many as eight years since it was planted.

Orchids may be easily multiplied through the process of division. Keep in mind, however, that splitting a plant will result in the loss of flowers for at least a year. In addition, the orchid plant will produce a greater number of blooms as it becomes larger. The maturation process for smaller divisions might take many years.

How To Repot An Orchid

How To Repot An Orchid

When you first get a store-bought orchid, the bloom should be admired as a work of art. Do not attempt to repot a plant that is already producing flowers.

After the flowers have done blooming, you should repot the plant and then use sterile snips to remove the dead flower spike from the plant. When repotting orchids, use only pots designed specifically for orchids and orchid potting mix. Orchid containers often have large drainage slots that allow water to practically pour through the container. They can be found in a variety of places. The potting medium used for orchids often consists of a number of different coarse components, such as pine bark, charcoal, and sometimes even styrofoam.

In order to repot your orchid, you will need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Remove It From The Pot

Take it out of the plastic container and carefully remove as much of the moss as you can while keeping as much of it as possible. Roots that are healthy should be white and hard, and they should have a little growth tip that is green.

Step 2: Prune Unhealthy Roots

Remove any roots that have become shriveled, rotting, or blackened.

Step 3: Add Plant To New Pot

Place the plant into the container, and then fill the space around it with the potting soil. The plant will not be entirely anchored, despite the fact that it should have a secure placement. Your plant will eventually establish a strong root system by growing new roots through the potting material and attaching themselves to the pot itself.

Find a suitable location for it once the plant has been repotted. A window that faces east and receives a few hours of moderate sunlight in the morning is ideal. Placing the plant in a tray that is both broad and deep and then filling the tray with gravel will both provide the proper humidity and collect runoff water.

Step 4: Tips For Indoor Orchid Care

Taking care of your orchid shouldn’t be too difficult. It should be watered once a week and quite thoroughly throughout the hot months. Allow the water to thoroughly saturate the roots, and then fill the pebble tray. It won’t do any harm to give the plant a good drenching every once in a while by placing it in the sink in the kitchen. You should not be concerned since you will not be able to destroy it as long as it is given the opportunity to dry out thereafter.

It should be fertilized once per week during the growth season using a diluted mix of a powdered or liquid fertilizer.

Maintain a warm environment for your plant during the winter and reduce the amount of water it receives to around once every month. Spray it with water on a regular basis to ensure that it retains its moisture. Do not add any fertilizer to it.

If the plant is showing indications of distress, such as yellowing leaves, wrinkled leaves, or no blossoms at all, you should relocate the plant and continue to make adjustments to the environment it is growing in. When an orchid has located its ideal environment and established a stable pattern, the plant should routinely produce new roots, leaves, or canes and should reward you with a stunning bloom once per year.

How To Choose Orchid Potting Mix

The amount of time between watering’s of orchids is greatly influenced by the type of potting mix used. Orchids are often potted in either sphagnum moss or bark chips, both of which are viable potting mediums but require somewhat different types of care. In the same way that a sponge would soak up water, moss will take a longer amount of time to dry off. Moss may allow you to wait longer between watering’s due to its ability to retain moisture for extended periods of time; yet, it is less forgiving than other media if your orchid is overwatered. Orchids such as Phalaenopsis and Cattleya, which require dry periods in between watering’s, are a suitable candidate for growing in bark since it does not retain a significant amount of water and drains fast.

Other types of orchids, such as the lady’s slipper and the nun’s orchid, thrive in environments with a higher relative humidity and will fare better if you don’t allow them to completely dry out. Because it allows these species to retain moisture for a longer amount of time, moss is an excellent choice for them as a food source. It is also possible to cultivate these water-loving orchids on fine-textured bark; but, because this medium does not retain moisture for as long as moss does, you will need to water the orchids more regularly.

Especially the bark, the potting material you use will ultimately start to disintegrate over time. Because it won’t drain as rapidly as it decomposes, you should repot your orchids in fresh bark once per year or two. Take the orchid out of the old bark (which you can dump on your compost pile! ), and then trim off any of the roots that are dead. You should be able to identify any dead roots immediately away since they will be dark in color and shrunken in comparison to the light-colored, robust roots that are healthy. Put the orchid back into the container (or repot it) and cover the empty space with fresh bark.


What Kind Of Light Do Orchids Need?

Considering your orchid will not blossom until it is exposed to the appropriate amount of light, determining where in your home it will receive that light is an important consideration. You should provide your orchid with strong, indirect light and place it in a window that faces either east or south. It’s possible that the light coming in from west-facing windows is too bright, especially in the summer, while the light coming in from north-facing windows isn’t sufficient, especially in northern regions during the winter.

Make sure that the plant is not resting in direct sunlight because this might cause it to burn. In the winter, the leaves can freeze if you let the plant to come into contact with the cold glass. Think about utilizing an LED grow light if you don’t have any windows that let in a lot of natural light.

How Much Light Do Orchids Need?

Orchids must be placed in light that is bright but indirect. Orchids thrive when placed in a sunny window that faces east because of the increased light. A grow lamp is another option for providing the plant with ample light without overheating it.

When the blooms on the orchid have finished blooming, should I take the stalk off?

After the plant has finished producing flowers, it is OK to prune the stalk so that it is trimmed down all the way to the point where the leaves begin to appear. In addition, you may use a metal or wooden pole with small plant clips to offer support for the stem if it becomes too heavy when it is covered in blossoms.

Why Do Orchids Need Special Soil?

To prevent their roots from rotting, orchids require a soil that has a lot of air movement and adequate drainage. Because many orchids can survive off of air alone and just require soil for support, using a rich potting soil will do more damage than good for the plant.

Are Orchids Toxic To Cats And Dogs?

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reports that orchids do not pose a danger to pets. Orchids, on the other hand, should be kept out of your pet’s reach if you are aware that your animal has a tendency to nibble on things. Eating big quantities of any plant might cause gastrointestinal distress and vomiting.

How Much Watering Does An Orchid Need?

Orchids are plants that thrive in warm, humid environments and draw moisture from their surroundings. If the relative humidity in your region is lower than 40%, spraying the plant will help it flourish. When it’s dry to the touch, you may give their soil a good soaking and then drain it about once a week. This can be done anytime the soil needs it.