Orchid Growing For Beginners – Tips, Ideas, Techniques

Introduction on Orchid Growing for Beginners: There are over 25,000 species of orchids (family Orchidaceous) throughout the world, most of them growing in the tropics. An orchid is a member of the orchid family, which belongs to the order Asparaguses, including asparagus and the iris family. Orchids are different from other plants only in the morphological (structural) characteristics associated with their flowers. The unique characteristics of Orchid flowers, including the mass of pollen called pollinia, the joining of the stamens and pistils into a column, and the tiny seeds without endosperm, can be found in other groups of flowering plants. Orchidaceous, a group of flowering plants, is the result of the combination of several features. Most Orchids are herbaceous, though some species may be vinelike, vines, or somewhat shrubby. In addition, there are terrestrial and epiphytic species.

A guide to Orchid growing for beginners, tips, techniques and secrets

Orchid growing
Orchid growing tips (pic source: pixabay)

There are many varieties of orchids, and the flowers of some species can be pretty small compared. Moreover, orchid flowers differ primarily in their structure because of the way they are pollinated or because they are adapted to utilize a variety of pollinating agents.

Basics of growing Orchids

Sunlight: There are various light conditions for Orchids, from high, medium, and low light. However, moth orchids prefer low lightings, such as a sunny window on the east side or a shady spot where they receive morning sun and afternoon shade. Another way to grow orchids is to place the plants under a fluorescent light. You can tell if a plant gets too much (or too little) light by how it behaves. For example, the leaves tend to become greener when the light is too low, but they may appear yellow or bleached when the light is too bright. Black or brown patches indicate the plant is sunburned and needs to be moved to an area with lower light levels.

Temperature: The temperature range of orchids can generally be divided into three groups

  • Orchids that grow best in warm weather prefer daytime temperatures between 70oF (21oC) and 85oF (29oC). Most Phalaenopsis orchids fall into this category.
  • Intermediate orchids prefer daytime temperatures between 65°F and 75°F. The Cattleya Orchid has this characteristic.
  • Orchids prefer temperatures below 70°F (21°C) during the day, for example, between 60°F (15C) and 70°F (21C). Some of these species include Masdevallia Orchids. These plants, however, are not widely marketed because the temperature range is difficult to provide, except for Orchid hobbyists. Plants generally prefer a temperature drop of 10-15°F (6-8°C) at night. The common Orchids are selected to make growing orchids easy for beginners. Growing your plant at a comfortable temperature is possible if you bought it at a supermarket or Orchid store.

Humidity: Orchids prefer a humidity level of about 70%. Unfortunately, this is significantly more humid than most homes, so you’ll need to make some efforts to provide your plants with additional humidity. Using a spray bottle to mist Orchids usually works well. It will especially appreciate getting some moisture from its aerial roots if they grow out of the pot. You can also create a humidity tray: fill a tray with water and add enough gravel to keep the water from sitting directly on the plant. Water evaporating from the plant will add additional humidity to the air—an excellent resource for anyone growing orchids on a windowsill or keeping tropical plants.

Watering: Overwatering is the leading cause of orchid deaths, and orchid experts recommend that if in doubt, don’t water until the top 2 inches (5 cm.) of potting mix feel dry to the touch. Instead, water sure the Orchid is well-watered by running water through the drainage hole and then let it drain entirely as soon as blooming stops, reduce watering. Then, upon seeing new leaves, it is time to water again.

Fertilizing: Water-soluble fertilizer should be used once a month to feed orchids. Consider using a specialized orchid fertilizer. It is advisable to reduce fertilizer application when blooming ceases and resume it when new growth appears.

Pruning: Orchid growers often wonder how to prune their plants as beginners. Trimming brown flower stems is a good idea. However, the plant may rebloom from the tip or further back on the stem if it’s still green. Therefore, don’t prune green flower stems. Plants are very stressed when they are pruned to keep them small. Cutting a leaf often results in the entire leaf dying back. Stems should also not be cut. Unless you want to put cut flowers in a vase, you should only trim orchid rhizomes (when dividing a plant, leave at least three or four growths per division) and flower stems (when they’re done blooming and brown, or if you want to cut them.) Trimming orchids is only necessary to get rid of leaves, roots, or dead flower stems.

Repotting: As the mix (usually bark) in which orchids are potted starts to deteriorate, it’s best to report them every couple of years. Because orchids are epiphytes (they grow on trees rather than in the ground), if the potting mix starts decomposing, compressing, or becoming denser, they get unhappy because their roots expect greater access to air.

Beginner’s guide to Choosing and growing Orchids

Select a variety of orchids that thrives in your climate:  In your area, you can find a variety of orchids that can grow outdoors. Find out about orchids native to (your area) by contacting your local garden shop or searching online. If your summer nights get warmer than 60 °F (16 °C), consider growing cymbidiums When nights reach more than 60 °F (16 °C), consider growing verandas and cattleyas.

Instead of planting orchid seeds, buy an orchid from a plat store: Throughout the year, orchids are available at plant shops (and many groceries and general stores). First, try going to your favorite plant store and asking if they have orchids that grow naturally in your area. Then, rather than buying orchid seeds, buy orchid plants, as orchid seeds require sterile conditions to grow. If they don’t have the Orchid you’re looking for, ask which orchids grow well in your area. Some orchids thrive outside that they can recommend to you. Online orchid shopping is another option.

Put your orchids outside after the last frost: Orchids are tropical plants and do not thrive in cold er temperatures. Therefore, before putting your orchids outside, ensure that the temperature is at least 55°F (13°C). You should place your orchids in a window that faces north, south, or east if you bring them inside.

Outside Orchid planting

To grow orchids in pots, gradually expose them to light: Newly potted orchids must become acclimated to the sun. Get sunlight for at least an hour in the morning and evening as part of your daily routine. After a week, place your Orchid in an area that receives 3-4 hours of morning and evening sunlight. Move the Orchid after 1-2 more weeks to an area that receives sun before 10 am and after 2 pm. You can then plant the Orchid outdoors. Orchids don’t like full, intense sunlight, so try to find an area outside that gets shade from about 10 am to 2 pm. Also, you want to make sure your Orchid gets sun only during the daytime when it’s cooler.

Put your orchids in a pot for convenience and mobility: If you put your Orchid, you can move it anywhere you like. Choosing a pot with a drainage hole at the bottom is best, as too much water can cause the roots to rot. Remove the Orchid from the pot it was in and placed it into a slightly bigger pot. The Orchid should not wiggle in its pot. Add peat moss or fir bark to one-part peat moss, if needed, to fill in the extra space. Do not use a secondary pot. Cleaning the pot well before planting orchids is a necessity.

Grow terrestrial orchids for a beautiful addition to your garden:  Place equal quantities of sand, sphagnum moss (orchid moss), and gravel in your planting soil. A gravel mixture of at least 1 ft (0.30 m) thick should surround and under your Orchid. Dig a hole large enough for the Orchid, plant it, then add gravel to the area. Several genera in Sobralia, Pleione, Calanthe, Phaius, and Bletia grow well in well-draining soil. Another option is to build a raised bed for your orchids.

Hang your orchids on trees for a unique yard accent: With cotton string (or any biodegradable string), tie the stem of the Orchid to the tree. The string will deteriorate within a year, and the Orchid will cling to the tree with its roots. A warm climate and frequent rain are ideal conditions for this method.

  • Choose light trees that penetrate the trunk, such as oaks, citrus trees, bottle brushes, and palms.
  • Try growing Vanda orchids in an area that receives six to eight hours of full sun daily.
  • Under conditions with low sunlight, growing Oncidiums, Phalaenopsis, and Cattleya

Orchid maintenance in the outdoors

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Orchid maintenance
Orchid maintenance (pic source: pixabay)

Watering: When watering the Orchid, avoid watering the leaves, but water the roots. Place it under a kitchen sink, run the faucet for 15 seconds, and let it drain and dry. Ensure your Orchid gets more sunlight by watering in the morning. It will stay moist all night if you do not water it in the evening. Make sure you do not over-water by checking the soil with your finger. You should wait one more day before watering the Orchid if the soil is wet.

Spray orchids with homemade pesticides: Use a mixture of water, 2-3 drops of neem oil, and a drop of liquid dish detergent every three weeks to keep insects at day. Only apply enough mixture to cover each plant; the remainder may be applied to other garden plants. You should re-mix this mixture every time you spray for bugs instead of keeping it; the ingredients will quickly break down after being mixed with water. Keep your potted orchids off the ground to prevent pests from getting in.

When weeds sprout, get them out as soon as possible:  To pull weeds from your orchids as soon as they appear, you should keep large tweezers close by. A weed is any small plant, usually green, growing uninvited near your orchids. Removing the bulb or root below the weed is the best way to eradicate it permanently. The root or bulb will appear if you dig down until the entire root or bulb is exposed.

By cutting off the infected area, you can treat black rot and brown spots: If your Orchid develops brown, black, or translucent patches, soak scissors or a knife rubbing alcohol for 15 minutes, then cut off the infected area. Next, spray an infected area with a bleach solution of one-part bleach to ten parts water.  Remove the infected tissue from the plant until there is only healthy tissue left. Infected orchids can rapidly spread diseases if they are left untreated. Water is a source of these diseases. Ensure loose soil drains properly, and consider moving the Orchid to an area with more airflow. After removing the infected plant material, sanitize your cutting tools to avoid contaminating other plants.

Plants of the Orchid family 

Dendrobium Orchids: Dendrobium flowers, often seen in floral bouquets, have long-lasting blooms (they stay attractive for a month or more) in various colors, ranging from white to purple, pink, and even green. Dendrobium selections prefer medium to high light levels. Plant foods developed specifically for orchids should be used to water and fertilize monthly. Temperatures between 50 and 70°F are best for them. There are hundreds of dendrobiums to choose from, and they bloom on fresh stems all year-round.

Oncidium Orchids: In clusters of more than 50 flowers, dancing lady orchids offer many colorful smallish flowers. Often, their markings are striking and contrasting, appearing in yellow, purple, red, pink, and white. Medium or bright light is ideal for oncidium selections. During spring and summer, you should feed them with orchid fertilizer every month. In temperatures between 50°F and 75°F, they do well. Consider adding a few of these to your indoor garden to make it even more beautiful. Oncidium orchids are some of the most fragrant orchids, so be sure to watch for them.

Cymbidium Orchids: Cymbidiums are popular indoor plants because they have waxy, long-lasting flowers in winter or early spring and are easy to maintain. If they are placed in a bright area, Cymbidium orchids flower best. During the summer, you can even bring them outside to a shady spot. Keep them moist by watering them weekly. The best way to get them to bloom is to fertilize them once a month in spring and summer. The best temperature range for it is 50-70°F. However, it is best for orchids to flower at cool temperatures-under 50°F-for several weeks, which is why they bloom in winter.

Lady’s Slipper Orchids: Lady’s slipper orchids are tropical plants with large blooms composed of a hollow “pouch” backed by a sepal and two petals. It gets even better: they look beautiful when they’re not flowering as well since many of them have variegated foliage.  Lady’s slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum) thrive in low, medium, or bright light. In the spring and summer, feed the orchids with orchid fertilizer once a month. It is best to keep them between 50- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit. Beware of multi-floral varieties that produce more than one flower per stem. The display will be more prominent and last longer.

Cattleya Orchids: It’s often referred to as a corsage orchid, but it’s also a beautiful indoor plant and cut flower. Red, pink, white, yellow, and orange are some of the colors found in blooms. Other colors also make some selections stand out. Orchids from the Cattleya genus prefer bright or medium light. Give them an orchid fertilizer monthly in spring and summer, and water them once or twice a week. The best temperature for them is 50 to 70°F. A Cattleya orchid blooms twice each year, and the flowers last about a week. However, we need a lot of light for them to rebloom quickly, so could you please make sure they get light.

Jewel Orchid: Flowers aren’t the main reason for growing this beauty. In the late summer and fall, the leaves are studded with tiny, white blooms that contrast beautifully with the purple foliage. In low to medium light levels, lucisia discolors (jewel orchids) thrives. It is okay if you hydrated it once or twice a week. Then, every month, you may feed it with orchid fertilizer. The best temperatures for it are 55°F to 80°F. Jewel orchids thrive in humid conditions so that their beautiful leaves do not turn brown or dry out.

Cockleshell Orchid: Here’s another beautiful, easy-to-grow orchid. These purple, clam-shaped orchids have green sepals that look like tropical tentacles. Flowering time is long, and the plants will produce many blooms as they mature. During all seasons, it is in bloom. Low to bright light is best for growing the cockleshell orchid (Encyclia cochleate). It is best to water the orchid mix once every week or two to dry between watering. Providing orchid fertilizer once or twice each month will help it bloom more. The best temperatures for it are 60°F to 80°F.

Nun Orchid: Despite its dramatic appearance, the nun orchid is relatively easy to grow. The flower clusters are purple, brown, and white in winter with corrugated green leaves. A medium to bright light is optimal for the nun orchid. The plant needs to be watered weekly from spring to fall, once every two weeks in winter. Feed it weekly with orchid fertilizer in spring and summer to promote better blooming. Temperatures between 60°F and 80°F are ideal for the plant. The magnificent foliage may brown if this Orchid gets too dry or the air becomes too dry.

Odontoglossum Orchids: These orchids bear large, usually spectacularly colored flower clusters that last for several weeks. They are closely related to oncidiums. Pink, red, orange, yellow, and white are the most common colors—often with splotches of other colors. Odontophorous (often called odorants) do well in light that is moderate to bright. Feed them with orchid fertilizer once a month in spring and summer, and water them every other week or two weeks. Temperatures between 50 and 70°F are best for them. It is easy to grow many odontoglossums, but others present some challenges. So, before you take one home, make sure that the variety is easy to maintain.

Sharry Baby’ Oncidium: This shrub’s maroon flowers fill a room with a sweet, fresh smell, thanks to its white and perfume-filled flowers. Like all oncidiums, ‘Sharry Baby’ boasts flower stalks bejeweled with dozens of tiny blossoms. A plant that thrives in intermediate lighting, temperature, and moisture is ‘Sharry Baby. Light will be provided by a south window or an east window with a light shade. Allow the surface of the growing medium (usually moss or bark) to barely dry before watering. The ‘Sharry Baby’ will thrive in a comfortable indoor environment. Use your comfort as an indication of orchid temperature.

Lady of the Night Orchid: Lady Part of the Night orchid’s (Brassavolanodosa) name comes from It is most fragrant at night. The majority of orchids aren’t that kind of Orchid. The Lady of the Night does not just bloom once a year and usually blooms several times. There is a chance you might notice it is blooming sporadically in spring and fall. There are many types of orchid plants available. Unfortunately, not all are adaptable to traditional. Lady of the Night grows well in a container when grown in a home environment. Throughout the day, a moderate temperature and bright light are provided. Before watering, allow the soil to dry a little. You can encourage flowering by not watering plants for weeks before plants bloom in the late fall or winter. The Lady of the Night orchid blooms best in cool nighttime temperatures. Therefore, it is ideal to have a night temperature of 10°F cooler than the daytime temperature.

Caring for Orchids in general

The following basic requirements are needed to ensure the survival of most orchids:

  • A medium that drains well
  • Six hours per day of indirect light (bright shade)
  • Moisture-free but not waterlogged soil
  • Fertilizer feedings every three months (quarter strength)
  • An environment with high humidity
  • Pruning, if necessary

Tips and technqiues for growing Orchids

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Orchid (Image source: pixabay)
  • Choose a spot for your orchid plant that is bright but doesn’t receive direct sunlight.
  • Be careful when buying orchids: Start by purchasing a healthy, good-quality plant. You will be able to choose a healthy specimen of a plant from good garden centers and growers. Ensure that the plants are well wrapped in paper for transport if the outside temperatures are low. The Orchid is a protected species in some areas. If you buy a plant, make sure it was cultivated rather than taken from the wild.
  • The Orchid potting mix must be coarse: Air must flow freely through it. It is important to remember that most orchids are epiphytes (they grow on other plants, not in soil) and on other plants. Beginners should purchase Orchid potting mixes when repotting orchids.
  • A plastic pot is the ideal Orchid planter:  Compared to clay pots, they are better. However, the constant evaporation of water causes the salts they leave behind through these porous materials. Orchid roots are burned and damaged by these salts. Therefore, the pots for epiphytes should be shallow. Some orchid planters are available in plastic or wooden baskets. Orchids look beautiful when they are hung from them. It is also possible to plant water lilies or water plants in the pots. By allowing air into the potting soil, the roots are nourished. Consider lining these pots with netting to prevent the compost from washing away when you water the plants.
  • Watering Orchids: The Orchid hates to be overwatered. Keep the pots filled with water at all times. It is the kiss of death for your Orchid and the leading cause of failure. There will be rotting roots and yellowing and falling leaves. Because they think their plants aren’t getting enough water, most people water them even more. This kind of plant is usually not salvageable.
  • Fertilizing Orchids: If you are a beginning orchid grower, you should buy a special orchid fertilizer. Regular fertilizers are too strong for orchid roots, so these are specially formulated to suit them. Dilution of fertilizer must be done according to the package instructions. Every third time you water the Orchid, feed it.
  • Regularly spraying soft water on orchids can help ensure their growth.
  • Orchid care after bloom: If any flowers have withered, remove them. The same stem can bloom again on some orchids, such as Phalaenopsis. Limit your cutting to the point where they die back. It is typical for orchids to rest after a growing season. Water and feed less during this time. Foliage or flower stems will show new growth when the rest period has ended. Then start watering and feeding more often.

Commonly asked questions about growing Orchids

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Questions about growing Orchids
Questions about growing Orchids (Pic source: pixabay)

1. Are you planting an Orchid in a pot or container?

The drainage of an orchid container is an important consideration. A pot with holes for drainage is essential to keep the roots moist but not sitting in water. While any material will do, plastic or transparent pots are ideal for orchids. Orchid roots grow open to the air and light in the wild, allowing some light to pass through.

2. What type of soil or growing medium is best for Orchids?

Planting orchids in the soil is never a good idea. They are epiphytes, which means they are attached to trees by their roots. Roots absorb nutrients from the air and decaying matter on the trees. Instead, plant orchids in containers in a specialized medium or mix made just for orchids. Different types of orchid mixes are available depending on the variety. Mixtures usually contain tree bark, peat moss, perlite, lava rock, tree fern, and sphagnum moss.

3. When growing Orchids, what are the most common problems?

Orchids suffer from many bacterial and fungal diseases due to the high humidity they require to survive. Fungi attack leaves and flowers, causing root rot, leaf spots, and leaf blights.

4. What is the best Orchid for beginners in the houseplant world?

Moth orchid. Starting with orchid plants means selecting the right plant for beginner orchid growers. There are various orchids, but Phalaenopsis (moth orchid) thrives in a typical home environment and is an excellent choice if you are starting.

5. What is the life expectancy of Orchids?

An orchid plant may live for a lifetime if it is taken care of properly and maintained regularly.

6. What should I do with dead Orchid blooms?

Dead flowers do more than create an unpleasant appearance on your Phal; they can also spread diseases to nearby plants.  A drooping and discolored flower spike, as well as brown edges, indicate it is time to remove the flower. It is not uncommon for orchids to have multiple blooms on a stem-like spike.


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