The Garden Helper

Helping Gardeners Grow Their Dreams since 1997.

No-dash-here, you've found The Real Garden Helper! Gardening on the Web since 1997

How to Care for an Orchid?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
by Smh023 on April 04, 2005 03:32 PM
I just bought an Orchid yesterday and I love it. It is so pretty. I donít know too much on how to care for an orchid so I need some help.
I have to re-pot it since it just came from the store. Well it came in a pot with small wood chip things in it and I was wondering do I leave those in there and re-pot it with just regular potting soil or take those wood chip things out?
How much sun & water do they need?
And anything else I need to know about these beautiful flowers.
by Bill on April 04, 2005 06:18 PM
Orchids require a special potting mix which may consist of ground bark, osmunda fiber or ground tree fern stem.

* * * *
by Smh023 on April 05, 2005 03:24 PM
Thanks that helped a lot.

But I still have a question.

It says they need humidity now will this work if I put some rock in the bottom of the pot before I repot it?

And when I got this plant it came with some wood chips in it already. Could I leave that in there and mix it with regular potting soil?
by Safari Barbie on April 05, 2005 05:32 PM
Do NOT put soil in the pot of your orchid. They are epiphytes - grow on trees, not in the ground. If you do want to repot, use orchid mix. Especially for a beginner, this is the safest way to go since the choices of potting mediums is mind boggling.
They do like humidity; meaning they like their environment, not their roots, to be moist. To accomplish this, place the pot on a saucer with rocks or pebbles, etc. Keep water in the saucer, being sure to keep the bottom of the pot above the water level so the water doesn't wick up into the pot.
Wet roots lead to rotted roots.
Also, in case you didn't know, orchids are VERY addictive and at the time, there is no known cure.... [clappy]

* * * *
Southern coastal North Carolina
by tkhooper on April 05, 2005 08:01 PM

I have always wondered about orchids. How safe are wood window frames and such? I have frequently thought I would like an orchid near my kitchen window but I've always been to chicken to get one. Thought it might attach itself to the wood.

* * * *
by Smh023 on April 05, 2005 08:40 PM
Thanks for the info. That is something that I did not know.

So is it best to leave the wood chips in their that originally came with the plant when I bought it and along with the special orchid soil? Or only the orchid potting soil by itself?

I understand better about the pepples and the saucer set up. I was a bit confused on that.

It is a beautiful plant it is a white one. I just donít want to kill it.

I think I have read briefly that they will do well by the kitchen window. I might be wrong though. [dunno]
by Shax on August 12, 2005 04:06 AM
I'm a beginner of orchid fever but I can try to answer some of the questions I read here. Firstly, why do you feel like repotting? I read that generally orchid is repotted every other year and it does not like a pot that is much bigger than the old one. Another general rule is if the wood chips have broken down to fine mix, discard them and report the orchid in new materials. The orchid mix should contain fir bark, sphagnum moss, etc. Please, don't just buy and leave any orchid on your windowsill. Most of them, moth orchid for example, do not tolerate direct sunlight. Every species has slightly different requirement for temperature and the amount of sun.

My repotting experience: my moth orchid was dormant during the winter (not growing much) but developed 4-5 roots above the mix and they extended beyond the pot. I've had it for a year. Some books say it's because the mix inside decayed and needs to be replaced, the orchid's roots are looking for moisture and nutrition from outside air. I also talked to a local nursery specialized in orchids and they agreed I should repot. So I repotted it in a pot that is 1 inch bigger than the old one after its flowers fell off. It's doing fine and there is a new healthy leaf growing.

Good luck!
by tifflo on August 12, 2005 08:18 AM
Hi smh023,

Shax is right. Don't repot your orchid especially now that's it's in bloom. BTW, what kind of orchid is it? Is it a phalaenopsis?

If it is in wood chip, it should do fine until after all the flowers have wilted.

Be careful about watering, because I killed my first orchid by overwatering and causing the roots to rot.

by joclyn on September 10, 2005 02:31 PM
i've loved orchids for years. always thought they were hard to care for so i never got one...finally did a few years ago. i put it in the kitchen on the windowsill above the sink because that window has the light it needed. it's done wonderfully!!

it was in spanghum moss when i got it and i just kept the same stuff (and added more) when i put it in a proper orchid pot (the kind with the holes all around the sides of the pot for air circulation - which is important for orchids).

i never knew about the possibility that it might get attached to the window frame!!! actually, just recently a new root shoot started growing up out of the moss...guess it really does like the spot it's in and wants to make sure i don't move it somewhere else [Big Grin]

seriously, tho, i just gently guided the root back down into the moss...

oh, watering is very important. you can't let it completely dry out. and if you do eventually get an orchid pot (no need to do a transplant now...let it get well established in the new environment before you go uprooting it!) you will have to be more attentive as those holes in the sides of the pot have a down side - all that extra air circulation causes the moss to dry out a little quicker. the specialized pot has made a difference tho...lots of new growth that i wasn't seeing before (it was a really slow grower until i repotted it). also, someone gave me a couple of orchids when they moved...they didn't want to be bothered with them anymore...

they weren't in the greatest shape so i immediately transplanted them - all the roots were on top of the moss or wood chips; nothing was getting any of the water she kept putting in the pots. i put both in the orchid pots and gently reshaped the roots so that they were in the moss...they're doing beautifully now!
by RumBum on September 16, 2005 02:09 AM
I made a homemade humidifier with a doggie bowl and aquarium gravel. Fill with water to just below the top of the rocks and set my flower pot on top of this contraption, make sure the flower pot is not touching the water. The doggie bowl is just a couple inches wider than the flower pot. I add water to the humidifier every couple days.

Active Garden Forum

Search The Garden Helper: