How to Take Care of Your Orchids

Taking care of a member of the Orchidaceae family requires one to strongly consider a few precise directions. Caring for the most popular houseplant comes down to remembering these 6 factors: light, temperature, water, food, humidity and pruning. These are points one should familiarise themselves with to ensure the gracious growth of an orchid in their home. These exotic house plants produce stunning fragrant flowers, that grow in different colours and sizes, bringing a beauty to be beheld.

But before we dive into all that it takes to take care of an orchid, here are five fast facts that we think make this plant as interesting as it is opulent. These fast facts will surely make all the commitment to keeping these flowers blossoming worth your while.


  • Orchids are a tropical plant however they have been found to grow on every continent.
  • There are 25 000 documented species of this plant. There are 5 times more orchid varieties than mammals and birds.
  • Orchid flowers are symmetrical- like a human face. They strangely resemble the faces of creatures from the animal kingdom.
  • These plants are slow growers (they can take 5-7 years to grow after germination) but they are also long livers (living up to 100 years). Some specie’s flowers can live that long while others will live for 6 months but others may wilt within hours of blooming.
  • Most orchids collapse due to over-watering. It is much easier for them to tolerate drought rather than excessive humidity.

With the correct conditions these fabulous flowers are destined to keep blossoming and beautifying the space in which they are placed. So, what does it take to grow orchids in the home? We’ve put together practical tips and tricks that’ll set you off on the path to caring for and growing orchids that flourish for as long as they live.


Caring for Your Orchids:

Let There be Light

These plants love to soak in as much of the sun’s goodness as possible. While they love the sun, it is important to remember that too much exposure can be harmful to them causing discolouration of leaves and scorching of flowers. Find a sunny spot in your home where the plant can get at least 6- 10 hours of soft sun exposure a day. If this isn’t possible, supplement natural light with a grow lamp.


Water Well

You want to make sure that the plant receives enough water. Determining how much is enough can be difficult so the “pot soak/water bath” technique comes in handy. Place the plant pot in a hand basin or large pot with water filled up to the brim. Leave the orchid’s roots to soak for 10-15 minutes then allow the excess water to drain out over the next week or two. Doing this means you can water the plant less regularly. They do better in drought conditions than they do when over watered.

A growing medium like a bark mixture, sphagnum moss, fir bark, coconut husk or clay pebbles/pellets, to mention a few, is a great idea but each mixture requires different watering specifications. While orchids do come planted in potting soil their epiphytic, lithophilic (or terrestrial) nature prefers to grow on another object like a tree or stone, as they do in the wild. This is what makes bark or pebbles growing medium are, once again, a great idea.


Food for Flourishment

Feeding your orchid is essential as a stronger plant that produces more flowers lasts longer. A water-soluble fertiliser feed every week or two (weekly in spring and summer) will be most appreciated by the plant. Mix the fertilizer with the water bath and let the plant feast.


Maintain Humidity

There are a few ways to maintain humidity for your orchid plant in your home. Using any of them will make sure that you give the plant what it really, really wants. The most practical of these techniques is to simply grow your orchid on a tray of wet pebbles, you can also place a humidifier near the orchid or allow it to enjoy some shower steam by placing it on a sunny windowsill in your bathroom.


Test the Temperature

Day and night temperatures differ and the great news is that orchid’s love a fluctuation in temperature.


Pretty and Pruned

After blooming beautifully in summer and spring, autumn ushers in a period of rest for your orchid. Leaves and flowers will wilt and fall off, be aware that it is not dying! This is where trimming plays an important role. Trimming spikes helps in the reblooming process as it allows the plant to conserve energy until the next blooming season. Healthy spikes are green and firm while unhealthy spikes are brown or yellow in colour. Use clean and sterile tools and trim as necessary.

The best advice that can ultimately be offered in terms of caring for a plant as prolific as an orchid is for one to identify which of the 25 000 documented species it is as well as what kind of environment that variety thrives in so as to try to duplicate that environment in their home as much as possible. Remember this and relish in the presence of an ever-growing plant.

Want more flower tips? We have a post which tells you all you need to know to take care of abracadabra roses. Visit our home page and explore the Rambling Rose for more gift ideas and tips!

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Benny Bloom

An avid reader and a compulsive gifter. Benny Bloom is a hopeless daydreamer, and a hopeful night thinker. Looking for the perfect gift? The perfect flower tip? Sit tight, stay tuned and open your mind to a world of flower and gifting possibilities from the gifting Ninja!

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