How to Plant and Care For Orchids

Tropical orchids are not like most houseplants. They are epiphytes, which means they do not grow in soil but by hanging on to the bark of trees. This unique growing environment means they will not survive the same soils and watering regimens as your typical houseplants.

For orchids to thrive in containers, they need the following:

  1. Moss or bark-based potting media. Using traditional potting soil will suffocate the roots and kill the orchid.
  2. At least 6 hours of indirect sunlight (bright shade) a day. An east-facing window is best.
  3. Watering that keeps the potting medium moist, but not water-logged. For many orchids this means watering every 5-7 days.
  4. Once-a-month fertilization to promote healthy growth and routine flowering.
  5. A humid environment. You can provide extra humidity by setting the plant on top of a dish filled with moist gravel.
  6. Remove yellow or brown leaves, as needed.

Winter Dormancy

Your orchid may go dormant during the winter when outdoor temps drop. During this time, the blooms will fall off and the leaves may appear shriveled or dead. This is OK! This phase helps induce flower budding for blooming in spring and summer. During dormancy, you can reduce watering to a heavy misting every 5-10 days. They do not need to be fertilized during this time.

Shop the online Orchids and Amaryllis plant sale! Open to members Nov. 10 and to the public Nov. 12. More details coming soon.