Orchid Care for Beginners

  - FAQ's

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Growing orchids is going to be easy  .... once you get the hang of it. Don't be embarrassed for a minute by what you don't know.

Can I grow Orchids?

Orchid care isn't difficult - it's just different. If you can grow houseplants you can grow orchids. Test yourself at: Is Growing Orchids for You?

What's the difference between growing houseplants and growing orchids?

In nature, houseplants grow in the ground whereas orchids grow on rocks and trees. Trying to grow an orchid like a houseplant is a sure way to kill it.

Orchids need more light than houseplants and they don't like wet feet. Growing orchids is more like growing cactus (with a little extra humidity) than growing houseplants.

Houseplants enjoy the same growing conditions throughout the year. Orchids, on the other hand, have a definte rhythm to their growing patterns. They require changing conditions with each season. The key to successful orchid growing is understanding the changes they're looking for with each season. (This isn't difficult - just different.)

What is my orchid growing in?

Because orchids grow on rocks and trees, their root system is different from houseplants. In nature, orchid roots actually grow in the air, exposed to the weather. Commercial growers use a wide range of materials to simulate nature's growing conditions. These materials include bark, moss, coco husks and Styrofoam. No single potting material works for every orchid so you'll find orchids growing in various combinations of these materials.

One of the biggest advantages of growing with hydroponics is elimimating all those strange materials.

Why are roots growing outside the pot?

Unlike houseplants, orchid roots often wander outside the pot, looking for ways to attach themselves to something sturdy. Roots growing in the air also collect moisture.

So it's perfectly normal to have roots that reach out of the grow pot. Don't try to force these roots back inside the pot.


My flowers are falling off! Is my plant dying?

Orchids do not die after they finish blooming. When a plant looses its flowers it simply means the plant has completed its blooming cycle and is entering a growing season that will bring more blooms later.

This is a normal part of the rhythms of growing orchids.

How can I make my orchid bloom again?

Healthy, (mature) orchids should bloom at least once a year, with some plants blooming 2 or 3 times a year.

Orchids have their own internal calendars that tells them when to bloom - and you can't change it. Some plants bloom in winter, others bloom in summer. Waiting for the "blooming season" is one of the hardest things for beginner growers to do. Don't try forcing your plants to bloom - it won't work.

Orchids need two things to bloom; 1) adequate light and 2) at least a 15 degree difference between day and night temperatures. Successful growers have "growing areas" where their plants get exactly what they need to build up the energy to flower again. Then, when flowers appear, they move the plant to wherever it looks best.

Light: Orchids need lots of light (more than houseplants) to develop flowers. This means organizing a "growing area" in a window that gets bright light (with some sun) or putting your plants under grow lights.

Temperature: A temperature difference of 15-20 degrees (or more) between night and day is necessary to trigger a bloom cycle.

Most orchids bloom during the winter months. If your orchid won't bloom it's either not getting enough light or evening temperatures are not cool enough to trigger a bloom cycle.
Note: "Bloom Booster" fertilizers will not make your plants bloom. Fertilizer formulas for blooming are designed to make bigger flowers that last longer. They won't make your plants bloom! Only light and temperature will do that. Trying to force your plants to bloom by applying "bloom fertilizers" is completely missing the point about growing orchids.

If orchids bloom only once a year, why do I see orchids blooming every time I go to the store?

This is a marketing trick. It's impossible to sell plants that don't have flowers so commercial growers go to great lengths to trick plants into blooming year round. Don't try this at home.

When is the best time to transplant my plant into Hydroponics?

The best time to transfer your plant into hydroponics is after it has finished blooming. This signals the start of the growing season, when hydroponics will really help.

Is Growing Orchids for You?
Your First Orchid
5 Things You Need to Know
Orchid Names for Beginners

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