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The Myth of Orchids Care

Orchids have become extremely popular and used in both commercial and residential applications. Loved for their exotic and long-lasting blooms, growers now grow many varieties with phaleonopsis being the most common.  At Savannah Interior Plant Designs we want to dispel the myth that these beautiful plants are difficult to maintain. 

Once you know how to care for indoor orchid plants properly they will bloom for weeks. Orchids require little care if given the proper light, temperature, water, humidity and fertilizer. 

Tip number one.  Assure proper drainage utilizing appropriate growing media. Some of the more common growing media that can be used for orchid plants include redwood bark, sphagnum peat moss, rocks, or cork. A standard mix for growing orchids consists of coarse perlite, fir bark, and sphagnum moss. Generally, the grade of bark is dependent on the type of orchid grown. Phalaenopsis orchids are mainly grown in coarse bark, cattleyas in medium bark, and young orchid plants are best grown in fine bark mulch and all orchids prefer shallow planting. Tip number two.    Place your orchid in the best location, this being an east to south-facing window or room. These plants prefer bright, indirect light so contrary to belief, they do not need direct sunlight. Not enough light it will result in lower bloom count. Ambient room temperature is also important for indoor orchid care. Orchids prefer standard warm to hot temperatures of about 70F-90F in the daytime and  65F-75F at night.  Never allow temperatures to go below 62F or the blooms may suffer. Tip number three.  Orchids need ample water but should be allowed to dry out some between waterings. It’s easy to check for watering by poking your finger about an inch into the growing media and if dry, give it some water; otherwise, let it be. Overwatering tends to be the biggest problem as consumers are over generous with water. Another indicator your orchid needs water is by lifting the pot and it feels light in weight. Never allow your orchid to sit in water, remove any excess water from the decorative container. Tip number four.  Humidity is another key factor, orchids prefer about fifty to seventy percent humidity. A simple way to increase humidity  in your home or office is to place a tray with moist pebbles under the pot which adds moisture and humidity around the plant. Allow the plant to have good air movement to prevent mold development near the leaf joints. A humidifying can also be used.  Tip number five.  Fertilize orchids weekly or bi-weekly while they are producing new growth. Discontinue fertilizing once the plants go dormant. Additional orchid care tips include repotting, which is normally done every other year. Orchids can be affected by mealybugs, scale, and aphids. These can usually be washed off and treated with insecticidal soap which is easily found at any garden center. You may repot if necessary using a slightly larger pot size and a medium to fine bark. In general plant material often contains toxins and should not be eaten. 

Savannah Interior Plant Designs offers a monthly or bi-monthly orchid subscription for clients in the Savannah and greater Savannah area. This program automatically delivers to your office or home an exceptional orchid for you to watch bloom and grow. For more details call one of our horticultural staff at 508-801-6015.

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