All You Need To Know On How To Care For Orchids Indoors

Did you know that orchids are some of the best indoor plants? New to the world of gardening and don’t know how to care for orchids indoors? Don’t worry – we got you covered. Orchids are one of the most beautiful, exotic plants with large, brightly coloured, long-lasting blooms

Purple indoor orchid

Even though orchids have a reputation for being hard and difficult to grow, that is not entirely true. Orchids are not difficult to grow – but are rather different from normal houseplants. Equipped with the right information, you can have beautiful, alluring orchids in your home. Ready to learn all you need to know from soil care to watering tips? Let’s get started!

Most popular types of orchid 

There are more than 30,000 species of orchids that are found growing in the wild. Also, there are over 10,000 registered hybrid varieties of orchids. When it comes to indoor orchids, there are four to five common varieties. Knowing the type of orchid you have helps a lot when you are taking care of the plant.

1. Moth Orchids – Phalaenopsis Orchids

They are one of the most common indoor varieties. They have round flowers that have a pronounced lip. These flowers grow on a single, tall stalk that arises from a whorl of oval, fleshy leaves. 

The flowers are usually purple, pink, white, or some combination of these colours. They are widely found in supermarkets and garden centres. They are very easy to grow and it is better if you grow them in a special bark medium instead of compost, with bright filtered light. These orchids prefer a bright, humid atmosphere such as your kitchen or bathroom.

2. Cane Orchids – Dendrobium

Cane orchidsdendrobium orchids – have small flowers that usually grow in rows on leaf stalks that arise from thick canes. Generally, there are several flower clusters and the flowers are purple or white in colour.

Dendrobium orchid

The leaves grow from the sides of the cane and are narrow in shape. They require less humid conditions and need cooler growing space as compared to the moth orchids. In autumn and all through winter, they don’t need a lot of water and grow well in a cool, dry, bright place.

When the temperatures start to rise, they need a bigger amount of water and indirect light. These orchids need moist soil when they are growing, and need dry soil that is regularly watered when the plant isn’t in bloom. 

3. Vanda Orchids

They are beautiful, large plants. Since they hail from tropical climates, they love high humidity and high temperatures. You can grow them in glass vases or slatted baskets with a little potting medium

They need a lot of water. You need to keep the soil moist at all times, but they might get damaged if overwatered. They will certainly enjoy a bright sunny spot on your windowsill. A cross between the Ascocentrum and Vanda Orchid will result in Ascocendas, which have brightly coloured flowers that love plenty of humidity and warmth in winter.

There are other types of orchids as well such as slipper orchids, cymbidium orchids, paphiopedilum, etc. but they are not very common household orchid species

How to grow orchids indoors

The million-dollar question is: how to grow orchids indoors? From potting medium to watering the plants, there are several things that you need to be on the lookout for. Let’s see what they are.

1. Potting

Finding the right plant pot is always important. When it comes to potting soil, you have to plant your orchid in a pot with good drainage. To make sure that any excess water drains out completely, you should make drainage holes in the bottom of the plant.

If the orchid you bought didn’t come in a pot with excellent drainage, make sure that you repot it as soon as you can.

2. Soil

You should plant orchids in quick-draining soil. We recommend that you use a bark-based or moss-based potting mix. The orchid care will vary depending on the type of potting mix you use. Moss-based ones retain more water and can go longer between the waterings while the bark-based potting mix drains quickly and you will have water the orchid more frequently.

3. Watering

Nothing kills an orchid faster than a water-logged situation. This is because the lack of oxygen causes the roots to suffocate and eventually cause root rot. Water your orchids thoroughly about once a week, and let the soil dry before you water again. Orchids can easily withstand long periods of forgetfulness as compared to overwatering.

Woman watering blooming orchid with metal can

4. Temperature

When orchids are growing out in nature, they experience a significant temperature difference during day and night. A major difference between regular houseplants and orchids is that you will have to manipulate the temperature in your home as well.

Make sure that the temperature drops at least 10 degrees, particularly in winter and autumn when the buds are growing on the orchids. You can do this by lowering the temperature on the thermostat. This is really hard to do and doesn’t seem like much but it can literally mean the difference between an orchid that thrives and flowers, and one that merely lives. That’s why choosing its spot is also essential.

5. Light

Wondering what’s the best way to arrange your plants in the living room or any other room? Most of the orchids need plenty of light, at least 6 hours each day. The more light you provide, the better will be the flowering potential. Similarly, orchids will grow in inadequate light but won’t flower.

The colour of the orchid leaves will tell you if the right amount of light is available. The lush, dark, rich green colour that we love in houseplants is not desirable when it comes to orchids. Dark-green new leaves signal that the plant is not getting enough light.

A light, medium green colour with yellowish undertones means that the light is adequate and the plant will bloom. East facing windows work best for orchids while northern ones are too dark and western ones too hot. 

If there is an excess of sunlight, the leaves will bleach out to white first, and then turn black and die. If you don’t have windows with adequate light, you can grow orchids under artificial light as well. 

6. Fertilizer

Orchids don’t need a lot of fertilizer but you do have to add a bit of fertilizer regularly. To keep your flowering plants healthy and blooming, a solution of 20-10-20 fertilizer each week would suffice. 

Woman's gloved hand fertilizer orchid plants

7. Humidity

Orchids appreciate humid weather and the more humid the atmosphere, the better they will thrive. You can keep a humidifier in your home near the plants if you live in a dry area with less than 50% humidity

How to care for orchids after they bloom

You not only have to care for the orchids while they are blooming but afterwards as well. Once you have enjoyed the alluring and exotic orchid bloom, you will have to water, feed, and prune them to keep the plants healthy.

We recommend that you repot your orchid in a new and fresh growing medium. This will provide the orchid plant with a fresh start, with new nutrients

Fertilize

To make sure that your dormant orchid blooms once again, you have to fertilize it. Keep adding a balanced houseplant fertilizer weekly after the bloom.

Prune

Once the orchid flowers have dried up, you have to cut back the stem. Cut the old flower spike near the stem’s base. It is very unlikely and rare that an orchid will bloom again on the same stem. If you are pruning and fertilizing your orchid, it should rebloom in about 6 to 9 months. However, if the orchid doesn’t bloom it can be because of the following reasons.

Hand with scissors pruning orchid flower

  1. Inadequate light (too much/not enough)
  2. Inadequate fertilizer (too much/not enough)
  3. Wrong temperature
  4. Orchid needs repotting
  5. Inadequate water (too much/not enough)

How long do orchids live?

You would be happy to know that with proper care, orchids can live for years and even decades. The lifecycle of an orchid consists of an initial bloom, a dormant period, followed by reblooming. If you take care of the orchid properly, it will rebloom every few months.

The lifespan of Orchid Blossoms

The cut orchid blossoms usually live for almost 3 weeks if you take good care of them. Keep changing the water in the vase after 2 days and cut almost 0.3 cm of the stem as well. Make sure that the flowers are not placed in direct sunlight that can scorch the blossoms. On planted orchids, the blossoms can last for over thirty to forty-five days and they can bloom twice a year

The lifespan of an Orchid Plant

The orchids don’t have a finite lifespan. However, after 15 to 20 years, the orchids become weak and don’t produce a lot of blossoms. The natural immune system of plants get worn down by bacteria and fungi after two to three years, and you have to repot them regularly to make sure the plants stay healthy.

Orchid ,book and a cup on window sill

Orchids are beautiful, exotic plants with colourful flowers that enhance the look and feel of your home. It is not very hard to take care of orchids – all you need is a bit of guidance and you will be good to go. 

Go through the orchid care tips and tricks that we have mentioned above and you will become the best orchid grower in no time! 

Happy Gardening, Folks!

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