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Orchids are among nature’s most beautiful flowers, and growing them provides great
joy and satisfaction when they
thrive and do well. But what happens when a plant becomes stressed and unkempt, when it appears to be clinging
to the last shred of hope for its very life? Is there any hope for an orchid that shows little willingness to
spring back to life? Is it possible to successfully rescue orchids and revive them?
In nature, orchids are a hardy family of “air plants” that thrive in a wide variety of conditions, from deserts
to jungles, and beaches to swamps. Some grow on the barks of trees; some thrive among rock formations; and
others grow among the organic matter littering the top layer of soil in some areas. Yet growing them at home can
be a tricky hit-or-miss undertaking until we at last discover the perfect balance of light and humidity, as well
as growth medium and fertilizer, that each orchid species needs to thrive and bloom repeatedly. Once you master
proper care of your orchid, it will provide you with exotic blooms that may last for several months and repeat
blooms throughout the year.
If you’re trying to rescue an orchid whose leaves have turned brown, or have become dry and crinkled, or a plant
with leaves that drop off, start with these basic steps to revive the plant.
Repotting an orchid is simple and our Orchid Repotting page provides all the
information you need in FAQ format. We also provide a pictorial walk-thru to make the whole process easier.
Orchids do not grow in dirt, as it will smother their roots. Choosing a good orchid mix is essential to promote
healthy drainage and good airflow to make sure the roots get oxygen. Because there are different types of
orchids with varying needs, choose the potting mix that best matches the type of orchid you have and the
conditions you are growing it in. Our convenient Orchid
Finder provides pictures of orchids to help you identify your orchid, and our Find the Right Orchid Mix page helps you select the
perfect potting mix for your plant. Our Orchid Care Calendar, Orchid Repotting Times, and Orchid Bloom charts
will help you know what to look for and when. Our Orchid Growth Patterns page also illustrates the differences
between sympodial and monopodial orchids.
Set your orchid in a spot where it will get indirect sunlight for 10 to 15 hours a day. Ideal room temperature
should be about 70F but not lower than 60F Fahrenheit during the day, and about 50F at night. Keep your orchid
away from direct sunlight.
Most orchids do best when watered weekly. Over watering may lead to root rot, which will destroy the entire
plant. While Orchids do not like 'wet feet' they do require a lot of humidity. A humidity tray placed underneath the pot will allow water to
collect in the base to provide a humid environment for the plant as the water evaporates. Orchids also do very
well when positioned in clusters as this also helps to increase the humidity among all the plants, although you
must always allow enough room for proper air circulation around the plants, and especially, around their roots.
A good balance of humidity and air circulation is one of the tricks to growing orchids successfully.
Since balancing light and humidity is so critical to successful orchid care, and it is believed that orchid roots
undergo photosynthesis, many growers prefer to use clear plastic
pots that allow them to see when the plant’s roots are thriving, as well as catching problems such as
fungus gnats early on, before they debilitate the plant.
Pick the smallest orchid pot that the roots will fit in, and stake the plant to help it establish itself. You
will be able to tell when the potting mix becomes dry, because it gradually lightens in color as it dries. Clear
plastic pots are easy to disinfect and reuse, and provide visible clues as to the plant’s condition without the
need to disturb the plant.
To learn more about caring specifically for your particular orchid, please see our informative pages on Phalaenopsis Orchid Care and Cattleya Orchid Care, depending on what type of orchid you have.
These pages provide all the basic information you need to keep your beautiful orchids healthy, happy, and
blooming! For a pictorial step by step walk-thru of staking bloom spikes, feel free to visit our Demonstration of Orchid Staking instruction page.
“This fall I religiously followed your advice, creating an environment of shortened
days and lower temps in order to encourage blooming...I was successful. FINALLY!! Thank you, thank you!!
Both of my plants decided to bloom and they look beautiful. I wanted to share the good news and
my gratitude with you. Thanks again!”Laurie J.
“The potting medium you sent is gorgeous!! It's superior to the bark I've been
buying at Lowe's. I can't imagine what (my orchids) will do when I put them in your potting mix. It even
smells fresh!! Many, many thanks. I'll be ordering from you again.”
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