As a beautiful, flowering houseplant, orchids make wonderful decoration for your home, a great gift to give instant and lasting floral pleasure to a friend, colleague or loved one, and they also might be one of the monthly or quarterly plant deliveries you receive as part of one of Regency Flower’s Houseplant Subscription Packages

 Orchids are varied and take many different shapes, forms and colours which may be why many people collect them.

Some people fear that orchids, being delicate and exotic-looking, may be too temperamental and difficult for them to keep alive. However, knowing just a little about them helps give them the care and conditions they need to thrive. This post gives a few key tips to keep your orchids healthy and long-lived. You may be pleased to know that, like many houseplants, less is more when it comes to care…


Orchid Houseplant Care

 1. How to Water an Orchid


Indoor potted plants are often killed by kindness, with one of the most common causes of  being overwatered by anxious plant-parents and the same is true for orchids. Luckily, if you know what you’re looking for, orchids will actually tell you whether they need water with a simple colour-coded signal!

The best way to tell whether an orchid needs watering is to look at the colour of its roots. The roots of orchids are coated by a spongey layer which absorbs and stores water. When this spongey layer is moist and full of water, it is green. When it dries out, it is grey/white. 

So if the roots of your orchid plant are green in colour, they don’t need water. If they a pale grey or white in colour, they need a drink. 

The other thing you must think about when watering is drainage. The roots of an orchid will rot if they sit in water and become waterlogged so their plant pot should have good drainage.

Special orchid planters have a humped base (like the shape of the bottom of a wine bottle) which keeps the plastic pot with the orchid in it suspended above any pool of water which drains through the holes in the bottom of the pot, keeping the roots out of the excess water.

If your potted orchid is displayed within a normal, flat-bottomed planter you may wish to take the plastic pot out of its decorative planter pot to water it, letting excess water drain out over the sink before replacing it in its planter to avoid water pooling around the roots.


Orchid Houseplant Care

 2. Where to Place an Orchid


Positioning a houseplant in the right spot is often more than half the battle in giving them what they need to survive and thrive. It may take a bit of trial and error to find the perfect place where they get just the right light, temperature and humidity and this might change during the seasons, so it’s best not to get too wed to having a plant in a particular position – it may need to be a bit nomadic to follow the best conditions wherever they can be found at any one time around your house!
Orchids are no different, so if you want to get the best from them it’s worth having an idea of what they want, starting with light.
Orchids like bright, indirect sunlight so an east or west-facing windowsill is often a good place, or further away from the windows and out of the glare of light coming into a south-facing room should work as well. Direct sun can scorch the leaves of an orchid, so if you notice this happening, you will know to try moving it to another spot. The other thing orchids like is a stable temperature, so avoiding placing them anywhere draughts come and go will help.
Orchid Houseplant Care

3. How to Give Orchids the Right Conditions


Humidity is another factor in the care of all houseplants and knowing a little about where the plants originate from can help understand their requirements. In the case of orchids, most species come from tropical climates which have high humidity. This is unlike most of our homes which we deliberately try to keep warm and dry. Central heating during the winter months in particular can create a very dry environment. Without needing to turn the whole of your home into a sauna just to please your orchids, you can recreate the kind of rainforest humidity an orchid likes locally just around the plant by lightly misting the foliage (not the flowers) every now and then with tepid water in a spray bottle.

4. How to Encourage New Orchid Flowers


If you manage to keep your orchid happy it might repay you with weeks of consistent flowering. Inevitably though, all orchids will lose their flowers, leaving the foliage and a stick-like stems for a period of dormancy. Fallen flowers are not a reason to discard your orchid plant though. – the plant may flower again and again for years to come. All you need to do is cut the stem down to just above one of the nodes (or joints) and then water and care for the plant as normal while you patiently enjoy its foliage alone!
Hopefully this has helped to give you some advice and confidence about looking after orchid plants. Getting the right position in bright, indirect sunlight, occasionally misting the leaves and paying attention to the colour of the roots to avoid overwatering are hopefully not too onerous tasks compared to the pleasure a beautiful orchid can bring! 

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