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January 29, 2019 at 14:37 | PLANTS

Tips for orchid lovers, Where in the house can I grow my orchid?

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South and east-facing windows work best for orchids. West_windows can be too hot in the afternoon and north-facing ones are usually too dark. A sheer curtain will cast light shade. Too much direct light causes leaves to sunburn – so it may be necessary to re-position plants as the seasons change. Move plants away from or toward the window to manipulate the amount of light. Make sure the leaves are not touching the glass. In winter in a cold climate, leaves touching the windowpane may freeze.

Leaf color indicates if the amount of light is adequate. The lush, rich, dark green of most houseplants is not desirable in orchid leaves. A grassy green color (light or medium green with yellowish tones) means the plant is receiving sufficient light to bloom.

Light Requirements for Orchids

The single most important variable when growing orchids indoors is light. Orchids that prefer high light — unobstructed sunlight, streaming through a clear, south-facing window or into a greenhouse for 6 to 8 hours — include vandas and angraecums.

Medium-high light orchids, such as phragmipediums, oncidiums, and dendrobiums, grow in locations that are bright but not directly sunny. Eastern and western exposures are often medium-high light locations, although a western exposure may be warmer. The light intensity is the same, but the air temperature has increased.

Medium-low light is appropriate for phalaenopsis (moth orchids) and paphiopedilums. It may be an east- or west-facing window with no direct sun. It may also be an open northern exposure with no obstructions and some additional reflected light.

Low light is usually a limited northern exposure or any exposure where the light is blocked by an overhang, trees, or neighboring buildings. Jewel orchids grow in low light.

Temperature

Generally, orchids can be grouped into three temperature categories: cool, warm, and intermediate. Buy a high-low thermometer to measure the temperature range in your orchid location. After that, choosing a suitable orchid is simple. As with light, some orchids easily adapt to more than one temperature range.

Humidity

Most orchids we grow indoors come from the tropics, and most parts of the tropics are much more humid than the average living room. Orchids grow better if you can boost the humidity in their immediate growing area by grouping your plants together, or placing them on a dry well. Create a dry well by placing plastic lattice or pebbles on a tray, then adding water to just below the lattice or top of the pebbles. Place your potted plants on top of the lattice or pebbles. Learn even more tips for keeping your orchids healthy.

Watering orchids

Anyone who has ever watered an orchid knows that most of what you pour in runs out almost immediately through the bottom of the pot. Because orchids are potted in bark mix rather than potting soil, they need to be watered differently.

The goal is to get each mix particle to absorb as much water as possible. To give the potting mix enough time to absorb water, place the entire pot in a bowl of water for 10 to 15 minutes, then lift it out and let the excess water drain before putting the pot back in place. This technique works well for orchids potted in clay. Since clay is porous, water penetrates the walls of the pot and is absorbed by the bark.

If your orchid is potted in plastic, place it in an empty bowl, then add water. If you place the plastic pot in an already full bowl of water, the water will push the bark up and out, floating it away from the orchid roots. In this case, add water to just below the lip of the pot and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then drain and return the orchid pot to its place.

If an orchid is potted in long-grain sphagnum moss or soilless mix, you can water until water runs out into the saucer below. However, sphagnum moss may feel dry on its surface while the interior may still be moist. Stick your finger an inch or two down into the moss to feel whether it’s truly dry.

How frequently you water your orchid depends on:

  • The kind of orchid: Is it drought-resistant or not?
  • The kind of pot: Porous pots dry out faster than nonporous pots.
  • The kind of potting mix: Sphagnum moss needs water less frequently than bark mix.
  • The air temperature: Plants dry out faster in warmer temperatures.
  • The humidity: Plants dry out faster in drier air.
  • The light: Plants growing in higher light need more water.

In general, water drought-tolerant orchids, such as cattleyas, oncidiums, and dendrobiums once a week. Water most others, such as miltonias, paphiopedilums, and phragmipediums every 4 to 5 days. Start there, and adjust up or down according to the conditions in your home.

Water orchids thoroughly each time, then let them dry out before watering again.

Source: The American Orchid Society and Better Home and Gardens

( recipesfromnature.com )