It may be hard to believe, but growing orchids indoors is not as difficult as it may seem. In fact, with the proper watering, lighting and care, orchids can not only dress up a room, but they can also bring much joy.
However, before you head out and spend a bundle on one, two or even three orchids, keeps these dos and don’t in mind.
Types – Orchids come in three main types: epiphytes, lithophytes and terrestrials. Orchid experts believe that the best type for growing indoors and at home is called the Phalaenopsis, also known as the Moth orchid. This type of orchid has lovely blooms, does well in bright lights, near windows and in a temperature range between 65 and 75 degrees F.
Watering – Most beginners make the mistake of overwatering their orchids. Be aware that the orchid obtains its moisture through its leaves and not its roots. Over watering can rot the roots. Depending on where in the country you reside, most orchids do not need to be watered more than once a week or every 10 days. The best time to water orchids is in the morning hours to allow the leaves to dry by evening. Make sure you water enough so that the water drains from the holes in the pot in which the orchid is planted. In nature most orchids grow in tree bark rather than soil.
Lighting – The Moth Orchid variety likes bright light from a window or else indirect lighting; either is said to be perfect for growing this type of orchid plant. However, do not put them directly in mid-day sun. A sheer or lightweight curtain can help protect the leaves from getting scorched. Watch the color of the leaves. If they turn yellow, the plant is receiving too much light.
Humidity – Moth Orchids enjoy humid conditions, but most homes do not offer enough humidity, especially in the winter months. In this case, a humidifier or placing plants on gravel in a tray with water can also add humidity. Do not place the pot so that it sits in the water, but be raised above the water level by the gravel. These orchids like anywhere between 40 and 70 percent humidity.
Fertilizing – Unlike many houseplants, orchids do not need a regular dose of fertilizer. Experts suggest using a water-soluble fertilizer once a month if you see the orchid looking dull. Be careful not to over fertilize, black leaves are a sign that you have added too much fertilizer or given it too often.
Temperature – Moth orchids enjoy temperatures hovering around the 70 degree mark during the daytime hours and at night be sure it is not in a room that dips below 55 degrees. Do not place orchid plants near cold windows at night, or in drafty areas. Also, do not place orchids near radiators, floor heaters or vents. During the summer months, orchids can be misted to keep them cool, as well as placing them in a shady area when temperatures get too high.
With these dos and don’ts, growing a single orchid plant or even a roomful should be easy. If properly cared for, these brightly colored houseplants will provide enjoyment or many years to come.
~ from DoItYourself.com