So, you’re the recipient of an exotic new gift – the orchid flower. Congrats! They’re quite special. They also appear a bit daunting if you’re not used to caring for plants. Rather than hope to get a few weeks out of it, consider these easy to follow guidelines for making it a more long term part of your life. After all, it’s so pretty!
Begin by determining if it’s potted properly for long term maintenance. It may have come in a plastic pot wherein the roots were wrapped in moss. It’s important to rearrange this at some point. In nature orchids are found growing on trees. They thus have very thirsty roots that require air flow. You can easily imagine how they’d quickly rot when wrapped too tightly in moss at the bottom of a plastic pot. However, don’t go buy a new pot just yet. If your orchid is in bloom, do not repot it. It won’t tolerate the stress and those lovely blooms will sadly fall away.
In the meantime you get to simply enjoy it so long as you take proper care of it. How, you ask? Well, for starters, resist the strong urge to fuss over it. Especially where watering is concerned. Orchids in pots don’t need much water. To water it you can briefly submerge it in water and then allow that water supply to serve it for awhile. Or, you can use the nifty ice cube trick. Place a couple of ice cubes near the outskirts of the moss or bark it’s planted in and the ice will melt over time and water the plant more seamlessly than a watering can would. With either method you’re set for awhile so leave it at that until it’s truly time to water again. You can check every five days or so. You orchid will also appreciate a wee bit of orchid fertilizer once or twice a month so don’t forget to feed it.
As far as the indoor elements are concerned be careful of extreme temperatures and drafts. The orchid is not fond of cold drifts of air or close proximity to heating vents. It turns its nose up at a chill and it loathes feeling dry. It will definitely wish to stay in your life longer if you provide humidity and warmth. Hint – its favorite room in the house is usually the bathroom! If your orchid is not in an ideally humid area, be sure to mist it with water a couple of times per week.
Light is of course another important consideration. The orchid is rather even and steady about its light requirements. Plenty of natural light from a window is wonderful, but never ever direct sunlight. If you don’t have the luxury of the perfect place for it, you may have to move it around the house a bit in pursuit of the best light situation depending on the time of day. The way to know if you’re getting it right is by the color of the leaves. If they are dark green, you’re good. But if they’re yellowing, they’re getting too much direct light. If so you can try hanging a sheer curtain in front of a window to diffuse the intense early morning and late afternoon ligt.
If you do these things you’ll be so proud of your ability to tend to such an exotic creature that you might find yourself on the way to the store to buy another one!