Intimidated by growing orchids? If you can grow a flowering plant indoors, you can grow extraordinary orchids! The most common orchid grown indoors are tropical epiphytes. Typically grown on tree surfaces, like mosses and lichens, orchids have minimal water and growing medium requirements. Spectacular blooms can last several months. Follow a few basics:
Container – Choose a small pot of any material, allowing a space of one half to three-quarters of an inch for roots to grow. Slits or holes provide ample air and humidity ventilation around roots.
Potting – Select a combination of expanded clay, bark and peat moss, available at garden centers. Repot once a year after flowering to ensure fresh material, keeping the crown above the medium.
Light – Place within a few feet of a south or west window. A sheer curtain protects against direct sun or choose an east facing window. A north facing window does not offer sufficient light needs despite our extra hours of daylight.
Humidity – Indoor heating and cooling systems are designed to remove moisture as a process. Carpeting and other fabrics also absorb moisture. Counter these effects by grouping orchids with other plants to exchange transpiration (exhaled moisture).
Water – Mist every other day depending on the growing medium, avoiding leaves, blooms and crown. Placing potted plants on gravel-filled trays holds excess moisture and raises the humidity level about fifty percent. Ensure water is below the pebble surface to prevent root rot.
Temperature – Orchids tolerate a range of temperatures. Minimum winter nighttime temperatures of 55-60 degrees F and summer temperatures around 75 degrees F during the day is sufficient.
Orchids amaze with their stunning petal colors and shapes. Remember to keep leaves dust-free and tidy by gently wiping with a damp paper towel. Drench once a month with a kitchen sprayer or shower allowing water to completely drain before returning to pebble filled trays. Visit the American Orchid Society for culture sheets. Happy Growing!
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