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Orchids - Care of Orchids Top 5 Questions

This article answers the 5 most frequently asked questions by our visitors regarding the care of orchids.

Q. What media should orchids be potted in?
A. First of all, never pot your orchid in soil - it will seriously damage it and probably kill it. An orchid's roots require good aeration and drainage, otherwise they will suffocate and rot. Good options for potting media are stones, bark, fern or moss.

In the wild, orchids grow anchored to trees, shrubs or rocks and therefore do not use soil for nutrition. The only reason for using a potting media is to provide physical support for your orchid.

Q. How often should I water my orchid?
A. Orchids obtain their water from the air and from rainwater running down the plant or mineral they have attached to. They never stand in water and it is always better to under-water orchids than over-water them. Usually they should be watered around once a week, however a good rule of thumb is to water your orchid a day before it is completely dry.

Q. Should I feed my orchid fertilizer?
A. As stated above, orchids do not grow in soil, instead they get their nutrients from decaying matter in their environment (usually transported to them via rainwater). However, orchids in the home do not have this privilege and so it is important to periodically feed your orchid with fertilizer.

Most orchids will benefit from a balanced (20-20-20) fertilizer, however when potted in bark, a more nitrogen-heavy fertilizer (e.g. 30-10-10) is better. Use a water-soluble fertilizer and provide your orchid with a concentration of one quarter (1/4) on a weekly basis. Although not necessary, a good time to feed fertilizer to your orchid is after watering.

Q. What is the best humidity level for my orchid to thrive?
A. Ideally, most orchids like to have at least a 50% level of humidity. The humidity of most homes usually have a much lower level than this, especially during the summer months, so it can be beneficial to place your orchids above a humidity tray.

A humidity tray is simply a tray of small stones or gravel and water. Your orchids benefit as the water evaporates and rises.

Q. How much light does my orchid need?
A. Orchids are best placed facing South or East and require at least six hours of daylight each day.

A good indicator of whether your orchid is receiving too much or too little light is the colour of the foliage. The leaves of your orchid should be a light bright green. Dark green leaves indicates that your orchid is not getting enough light, whereas a yellowish colouration indicates that your orchid is getting too much light.

I hope you have learned a little about the care of orchids in this article and have enjoyed reading it. For more information about orchids, care of orchids and how to look after orchids, take a look at our other articles on our home page.

Orchids: Everything You Need to Know - one of the best orchid resources on the Internet.