STOP Killing Your Orchids – Caring For Orchids the Right Way

Article by Mark Alber

I’ve said it once and I will say it again…Stop Killing Your Orchids! People are turning such a simple thing into a complex issue. Caring for orchids is not complex. It is simple. It just requires a paradigm shift on your part. So, are you willing to expand your mind in order to see the results you want? If so, fasten your seat belts; the ride will be short and sweet.

So, the first step in expanding our minds is to step back and take an honest look at how we’re making assumptions based on partial information. Most people are well aware that the majority of popular household orchids originate in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Naturally, these climates receive abundant water, sunshine, and humidity.

Now, here’s where the partial information prematurely kicks into action on our part. Yes, orchids are from tropical climates that receive a lot of rain. “But,” you say, “I’m watering my orchid every other day and they’re still dying.” And herein lie the problem, young grasshopper. You see, most orchid owners literally drown their orchids in love. They over-water them because they are ignorant of their natural environment. Reduce the watering cycle to once every 7 to 10 days and understand the following.

Most popular orchids are epiphytic, meaning they live hugging on to trees and rocks. Their roots are fairly exposed and allow plenty of air to circulate. The water that they do receive drains freely through them instead of pooling up like in a traditional potted plant. Orchids need these drainage channels to get oxygen to their roots. This is key to their growth.

So, when you’re setting up your orchid pot you will want to consider these things before potting. You’ll also want to use some sort of potting bark, not soil, as it allows that ventilation that we’re looking for.

Sunshine, Sunshine

Now lets take a moment and look at another critical ingredient of orchid care: sun light. Again, lets put ourselves in the “shoes” of our orchid. We think: tropics = blaring sunshine. However, this is only partially true. Remember, many orchids are growing on trees, so while they certainly get profuse sun light, they also get dappled shade. We want to emulate this at home.

I personally like east and south-east facing windows because they give abundant sunshine, but not at the most intense parts of the day. Place your orchid about one to two feet away from the window. If you notice that you’re orchids leaves are beginning to wilt a bit, then consider moving the orchid farther back from the window or adding an extra watering cycle.

Humidity, Baby

The last thing we’re going to look at to save our orchids from dying is humidity. Plain and simple: most orchids like it humid. The thing is, you and I don’t, so we have to figure out some way to make it work for the orchid while keeping ourselves comfortable too.

There are many ways to accomplish this, but one of my favorites is to place several orchid plants in close proximity to each other. Just like when you sandwich people together at a rock concert, this little adjustment can really heat up and humidify the immediate area surrounding your orchids.

Another super easy way to increase humidity is to place your orchid on top of a tray of water. The orchid pot should be just above the water. This is a popular method and you can find lots of orchid tray kits out there.

What’s Important

The important thing to remember is that many orchids operate differently than most plants. Caring for orchids doesn’t have to be complex or scary. It just means you have to understand their rules and requirements. Begin by understanding what your orchid really needs and you will start to see a whole new gardener in yourself.

Mark Alber is the owner of can find more helpful resources about caring for orchids at his website.

Learn to stabilize your orchid plant in its pot in this free online guide for beginners on caring for an orchid. Expert: Gayle Zubek Bio: Gayle Zubek has been collecting orchids for 10 years. Just like everyone else, she was hooked after buying just one. She owns 55 orchids and has won several first place awards. Filmmaker: N Stock
Video Rating: 3 / 5

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