When you think of orchids, words like ‘tropical’, ‘exotic’ and ‘rare’ most likely come to mind. Exotic and tropical are accurate, but did you know there are more species of orchids than any other flower in the world? Yes, there are…over 30,000!

Orchids are grown indoors as house plants or in hot houses in most areas of the world (except those with tropical climates)…successfully, I might add.

HOW TO GROW ORCHIDS

Most people think the exotic orchid is out of their realm of capability when it comes to making orchids a part of your floral ‘collection’, but that simply isn’t true. Not as long as you follow a few important rules…

  • Orchids are air plants-this means they are not planted in soil, but in a mixture of bark chips, moss, coconut husks, lava rock and other materials which will provide aeration and drainage.
  • Orchids need to dry out between watering.
  • Orchids do need humidity, though. In addition to a drink of water once every week or every other week (depending on the variety), you should mist your orchids a couple of times a week or place the pot on a tray of small rocks and water. NOTE: be sure the water does not reach the orchid’s roots.
  • Orchids have different light requirements. A good rule of thumb: the larger the leaves on an orchid, the more light they need. The light can be natural or artificial. Again…it will depend on the variety(ies) you have.
  • If growing orchids outdoors (only in warm, moist climates), the process will depend on what type of orchid you are growing:
    • Epiphytes should be tied to a tree, fence or trellis. Place the roots in some moist sphagnum moss and don’t untie until the orchid has attached itself securely. If the climate is very dry, you will need to water lightly a couple of times a week.
    • Terrestrial orchids can be planted in the ground, but the soil must be highly porous and contain a good deal of mulch/bark chips. Terrestrial orchids handle moisture better than other orchids but still need to be allowed to dry out between watering.

Orchids come in a vast array of colors and are moderately priced; making them affordable for anyone willing to put forth the effort.

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