Orchid Care - Growing Your First Orchid

Those magnificent blooms were irresistable. So you purchased your first orchid, brought it home, and now what do you do!

As with anything new, there are a lot of questions.

When you get it right the satisfaction is immeasurable! Nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment when your plant blooms again! Even after 20 years of growing orchids I still get excited when new flowers appear.

Is growing orchids for you? Find out at:
Is Growing Orchids for you?

How to Care For Your First Orchid
Orchids don't need a lot of attention and they're tougher than you think. (In fact the quickest way to kill an orchid is over doing it.) Most orchids are actually easy to grow - if you know what to do.

First, a little background. All orchids have two seasons; a growing season and a blooming season. Caring for your orchid is different in each season.

If your orchid has flowers, it's in the "Blooming Season".
Where Should I Put My New Orchid?
If your new plant is flowering, display it wherever it looks best; kitchen counter, dining room table, etc. Flowers last longer in cool temps away from direct sun.

Your plant is in its "Blooming Season" so for now  you don't need to think about all the things your plant needs to grow. That's for later. For now, during the Blooming Season, your plant has stored up all the energy it needs to finish blooming.
How Long Will My Flowers Last?
For some orchids, the Blooming Season lasts only a week, for others, up to 2 months. It depends on the type of orchid and how long it's been blooming before you bought it.

Orchids do not keep blooming continuously. So don't expect your plant to keep blooming forever. Most orchids bloom once a year and spend the rest of the time growing new leaves and building up the energy to flower again (the Growing Season.)

Fading blooms that shrivel up and fall off does not mean your plant is dying. It's simply completing its bloom cycle.

Occasionally, new orchids will drop all their flowers the moment you bring them home. That's certainly disappointing but it doesn't mean your plant is dying. It's had a long journey from the grower to your house and has to endure many difficult situations along the way. It's just having a hard time adjusting.

In this case, cut back the flower stem (way back to the base of the plant) and start over. See A Place to Grow.
How Do I Water My New Plant?

If you're new to orchids watering can be a mystery.

In nature, orchids grow on rocks and tress - not in the ground (like houseplants). To copy nature, commercial nurseries use a wide range of materials (bark, moss, coconut husks, etc.) for orchid growing. Caring for plants growing in these types of media is much different from caring for houseplants in potting soil.

Watering with these varying blends of potting materials is tricky. What holds water .... what doesn't? Even experienced hobbyist have trouble getting it right!

The best method for watering new plants (no matter what they're growing in) is taking them to the sink and letting them soak overnight. When you water you can't over do it. Just have the courage to wait until the plant is completely dry before rewatering.

Orchids growing in bark probably need water twice a week. On the other hand, orchids growing in moss need water only once every two weeks!

Sidebar: Watering is easy with our Hydroponic System because we replace all those mysterious potting materials.
When Will My Plant Bloom Again?
That depends on what type of orchid it is. Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchids) flower once a year, usually in late fall/early winter. Dendrobium, Cattleya, and Oncidium bloom 1-2 times a year. Some bloom in winter, others bloom in summer.

After the flowers fade away, your plant will begin its "Growing Season" to build up the energy to flower again.

Note: Be prepared - sooner or later you're going to need to learn some basic orchid names. The orchid kingdom has over 30,000 different plants. How do you make sense of all those Latin names and abreviations?

Orchid Care - Basics for Beginners
Is Growing Orchids for You?
FAQ's for Beginner Growers

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