Hardly any other houseplant is as popular as the orchid. Since exotic beauty makes certain demands on its owners, we have summarized the five most important rules for orchid care for you.
It is not surprising that orchid care is a little more demanding than that of other houseplants. Of course, most orchid species, including the phalaenopsis, the most popular orchid of all, grow as epiphytes on the trees of the South American tropical forest. To thrive in indoor culture, certain prerequisites must be created and some rules must be observed when caring for orchids. We will show you an overview of the most important.
Orchid care: tips at a glance
- Use only special soil and pots for orchids
- Always spray only the substrate or the roots
- Pour in the morning with room temperature, low-lime water
- Use orchid fertilizer only moderately
- Regularly remove dead, dried-up flower stalks
Rule 1: Use orchid pots and the right substrate
When planting or repotting the orchids, never use normal potting soil, only special soil for orchids. It is particularly coarse-grained and airy so that no waterlogging can occur. The right time to repot is after flowering in spring. Be sure to completely shake the old soil out of the root ball before placing the plant in the new container. This should be only slightly larger than the previous one, if at all. Also check the roots for rotten or dead parts, which you will remove with a sharp knife.
Choosing the right planter is crucial for an orchid to thrive. We recommend buying special pots for orchids. Thanks to their porous surface, clay pots can help sensitive plants regulate their water balance. More often, however, you see plastic containers, also made of transparent material, so that you can always keep an eye on the roots of the plant.
Some orchids, for example, Cattleya orchids, do not tolerate moisture at the roots and must be placed in plastic baskets (we recommend the commercially available ones for pond plants) for better ventilation of the root ball. Hanging growth forms (Stanhopea, Coryanthes, and many more) are best kept in hanging baskets or slatted baskets. The classic orchid pots are made of ceramic and are noticeably high. They have an integrated step so that the plant pot is not in the water.
Attention: Not all orchid species are watered, as usual, after planting or repotting! The Phalaenopsis in particular cannot tolerate this at all. Instead, use an atomizer to spray the substrate with water daily to keep it moist. After two to three weeks you can water or immerse the orchid normally again.
2nd rule: Avoid waterlogging when caring for orchids
In almost all cases of orchids, stagnant moisture leads to root rot and rapid death of the plants. Make sure that no water collects in the planter or the planter. When watering your orchids with the spray bottle, never spray directly on the plant, always only in the substrate or the roots. The water can collect in the leaf axils or the heart leaves and rot there.
3rd rule: pouring with a method
Orchids prefer their watering in the morning. Only use water that is room temperature and very low in lime. Make the effort to descale your water if necessary – the flower beauty will thank you for it. You can also use rainwater in summer.
For watering itself, showering or immersion has proven particularly useful. You can also spray your orchid with a spray bottle or use a plastic jug with a narrow neck. As already mentioned, you should only water the root ball and substrate, not the parts of the plant above ground. Which of these watering methods you choose depends on how much time you can spend on orchid care. The only important thing is that you water orchids differently than other houseplants and that you let the plant drain well after a bath before putting it back in.
4th rule: moderate fertilization for vital orchids
With the right orchid care, fertilizing the orchids should not be missing. A special orchid fertilizer, which is available from specialist retailers, is recommended for this. Orchids grow in the wild with very few nutrients – this does not change in the room culture either. Highly concentrated fertilizer salts that accumulate in the substrate cause the plant to die quickly. Orchid fertilizer is usually very low-dose, but to be on the safe side, you can reduce the dose even further.
5th rule: care for orchids and remove dead stems
It is also very important when caring for orchids to regularly remove dead flower stalks. But make sure to let them stand on the plant until they are completely dry. Only then can you cut them back to the “green”. When cutting the orchids, leave the stem base with at least two new buds.