26/05 0 Orchid Care The orchid, or phalaenopsis, is a very popular and stylish flower. However, they have developed the reputation for being difficult to care for. What trips most orchid owners up is that orchids just require different care than a typical house plant. With the proper care and ideal conditions, orchid blooms can last for weeks, bloom spikes can last months, and the plant can last years. Orchid Care Light A potted orchid requires as much bright, indirect sunlight as possible every day. However, it is important to note that these plants should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Orchid leaves can get sunburned, and you can identify that by burned parts or dark patches on the leaves. Water The most common mistake orchid owners make when caring for their plant is overwatering. Orchids require an evenly moist growing medium. A good rule of thumb is to water it every five to seven days. Waterlogging your orchids encourages bacterial and fungal disease growth. Additionally, orchids must be planted in pots with food drainage to allow water to flow out easily. This helps avoid root rotting. Temperature It’s important to remember that orchids are tropical plants and therefore prefer more tropical temperatures. The ideal temperature for an orchid is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 and 65 at night. In fall, it’s recommended to chill the orchid at night for three to four weeks. This 15-20 degree change will induce a new spike to form. You can easily achieve this by leaving a window open at night or putting the plant outdoors in a shady spot. Humidity Like we’ve mentioned, orchids are tropical plants and prefer warmer conditions and also humidity. A good amount of humidity helps the flowering last longer. A great way to achieve the right humidity levels is to put the plant near a sink, bathtub, or make time to mist the plant daily (just the stems and leaves). You can also set the pot on top of a tray of gravel, which can help add humidity around the plant. Air Circulation Orchids need tropical breezes. Stagnant, stuffy, hot air will stifle the plant. Feeding We recommend fertilizing the potted orchid every time you water. There are also different types that can help you enhance your plant, like a bloom booster when the plant is blooming or a green growth when it isn’t. It’s best to water the orchid prior to feeding — let the clear water run through the plant and then water with fertilizer. Growing Media Orchids are generally potted in a combination of any of these materials: bark, coconut husk, moss, perlite, or charcoal. These are favored because they don’t compact around the roots, which allows air to circulate better, and maintain moisture better. Repotting An orchid would need to be repotted just about every two years. If a few roots grow outside of the pot, that’s okay. When you do repot your orchid, be sure you’re using special orchid growing media. Reblooming When the orchid has two b looms left, break the spike just below where the first flower was. This could allow the plant to grow a secondary spike and bloom again in two to three months. Identifying Problems Brown Spots/Crinkled Leaves If there are spots on the orchid leaves that are hard and dry, the plant likely is sunburned. Move the plant out of the direct sunlight and do not try to cut away the spots. If the brown spots are soft on the leaves, the plant could have a fungal disease or viral infection. That calls for immediate removal of affected parts. Use a sterilized knife. Brown Leaf Tips Leaves that are browning at the tips are generally overfertilized or overwatered. Try to dial it back and see if the discoloration recedes. Pale Foliage Leaves can blanch from overexposure to direct sunlight or weaken from lack of exposure to sunlight. Mold/Mildew on Leaves Leaves that are too damp will mold or grow mildew. This could be caused by excessive misting or misting during cooler conditions, which prevents moisture from evaporating quickly enough. Plant Not Reblooming This is due to unfavorable environmental conditions. The most likely culprit would be insufficient light. If your plant seems otherwise healthy, it is probably not getting enough exposure to sunlight. Improper temperatures, too low humidity, incorrect watering, too much fertilizer or poor air circulation could also prevent your orchid from reblooming. If you would like to brighten your home with an orchid or have questions about how to care for one, call the floral experts at Trapp & Company today: 816-931-6940.