Are you tired of the cold winter winds? Cure the winter doldrums with a little bit of the tropics inside your house. The phalaenopsis orchid is a perfect tropical to add to your house this time of year. Time and time again people have asked me how to care for these lovely specimens. They always say, “I never have good luck with orchids,” or “how do I care for it?” As a horticultural therapist, I do not want people to get discouraged with plants or their care, so I have written up the perfect care sheet for your orchid.
After receiving your orchid, gently check to see if it is wet. It should be moist just below the top of the soil. If it is wet, wait about 7 days after receiving to water it. Every week you should drench the roots and let drain. I like to water all my plants on Wednesday. My slogan is “Wednesday Water Day.”
Next you need to find the perfect light for your new orchid. Orchids prefer a bright spot with diffused light, but take care to not give the orchid direct sunlight. Diffused light will promote blooming. Orchids do not like to be moved around very much, so try to leave in one spot so it can get used to its new environment.
Orchids do not like to be cold, so try to keep your orchid in temperatures in the range of 75-85 degrees F in the day and 60-65 degrees at night. I also encourage misting the orchid regularly to increase humidity. A simple pebble tray underneath the pot will aid in this as well.
Orchids need to be fed orchid fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. I like to use 25-9-9 and add the mixture to my watering can. I recommend fertilizing mid-month and often do this on Fridays. My slogan for this is “Fertilize Fridays.” I try to have fun while I garden and help others learn with these easy to remember tips!
Lastly, you should repot using general orchid mix at least once every year, or when the mix looks deteriorated. When the last flower has finally withered and dropped it is time to cut your flower stem halfway down. Don’t give up on having it rebloom. It takes patience, time, and good care.
Melissa Bierman, BS, HTR, LEC