No green thumb required!
Don’t have a green thumb or much time to care for plants? Orchids are surprisingly easier to take care of
than you think for being such a delicate looking flower! They can blossom for up to 3-4 months with minimal
effort. Here’s how…
Bright diffused light, water every 1-2 weeks with ¼ cup water when the moss feels slightly dry to the touch
and your orchid plant should give you months of enjoyment!
The Long Version…keep reading…it is quite informative!
Living in Southern California we all are used to great weather with warm to mild temperatures and a nice
breeze.Your orchids like just about the same weather as we do. A good rule of thumb is… if you are comfortable,
usually they will be too! They can tolerate temperatures from around 55-80 degrees with good ventilation. While
your orchid is in full bloom it is good to keep your plant in a warm location, as lower temperatures may cause
the remaining buds to fall off and not open.
Our San Diego sunshine is perfect for your orchid plant, but not direct sun. They like bright diffused light,
preferably by a sunny window or in a bright room. Direct sunlight may burn your orchid’s leaves. If your orchid
has bright green leaves you’re doing well and it is getting the right amount of sunlight. If the leaves are very dark
green them your plant is getting insufficient light and you will want to introduce it gradually to a sunnier location.
Yellowish green to red leaves indicate your plant is receiving too much light.
Orchids typically require minimal watering. Your phalaenopsis orchid will most come in a moss medium which
holds moisture quite well. Water once every 1-2 weeks. A good rule of thumb is if the moss is wet, do not water.
If the moss is slightly moist, slowly add about ¼ cup to the moss. If the moss is completely dry, slowly add about
½ cup. Orchid plants would rather be on the drier side than too moist. If the moss is too moist or sitting in water
it will make the plant more susceptible to disease and root rot. If your orchid plant is in a bark medium you may
want to water every week as the water will evaporate faster in the bark.
When your orchid is in bloom you will not need to fertilize. Orchid growers recommend using a 20-20-20 fertilizer,
½ teaspoon per gallon, every other watering during the summer months and every 3 waters during the winter
months when your orchid is not blooming.
After you have enjoyed your orchid blooming and the last blossom has faded you may wonder what to do. Along
the flowering spike you will see nodes or what looks like tiny green leaves that lay flat along the stem.
Count from the base of the plant 3 nodes up and give it a cut with a clean knife 1” above the 3rd node.After about
2-3 months you will see another orchid spike emerge. But in order for your orchid to re-bloom though it will need
some fluctuation in temperature between the day and night. A 10-15 degree drop in temperature at night is
necessary for the orchid to store up the energy or carbohydrates in accumulates during
the day to initiate the blooming cycle.
Your plant will be very happy in the container it comes in for a few years. Once the root base is getting too large
for the container you will want to repot in the same type of medium it was originally planted in. You will also not
want to repot when your orchid is blooming since this may cause the plant to go into shock and lose all of its
blossoms and buds.