Garden Advice Growing Orchids
Most cultivated Orchids can be grown in a sunny window or under plant lights. Many Orchid enthusiasts grow their plants in or near a window with supplemental lighting.
Orchids need humidity levels of 45-65%, which is easily obtained on pebble trays. Fill a tray with stones and water. Set the plants on the stones so that the pot bottoms rest just above the water line. Misting on sunny days will help, just be sure that plants are dry by evening. Orchids do best with good ventilation, as do most house plants. A small fan running 24 hours will help produce optimum results.
Orchids need good drainage and should be potted in a good Orchid mix like Espoma Organic Orchid Mix and should be watered only when dry. Many Orchids have pseudobulbs which store water like succulents and cactus. Orchids with pseudobulbs (such as Cattleyas) should go totally dry between watering. Orchids without pseudobulbs (such as Phalaenopsis, Vandas, and Paphiopedilums) should be watered when moderately dry. Orchids use more water when they are actively growing, therefore becoming dry more frequently and requiring watering more frequently. As with all house plants, water the orchid until water is flowing from the bottom of the pot.
When watering your Orchids, use water that is warm or room temperature. Feeding every other watering is suggested at a rate of ¼ tsp. per gallon for most Orchids. Mircle-gro Orchid Food or Jack’s Classic Orchid Special is recommended.
Orchids require different light intensities and indoor (winter) night temperatures. Phalaenopsis and Paphiopedilums require filtered sun or bright indirect light in winter, shad in summer, and night temperatures of 60-65 degrees. Most of the Cattleyas alliance (Laelia, Sophronitis, etc.) require at least ½ day full sun in the winter months, filtered sun during the summer, and a night temperature of 55-60 degrees. Cymbidiums require as much sun as possible and night temperatures of 50-58 degrees, providing their flower spikes are set.
Orchids grow best when summered outdoors. Move all plants out under shade in mid-May. Cymbidiums and Vandas should be gradually moved to a spot where they will receive all but the hot mid-day sun. They will tolerate even that by late August. Cattleyas should be gradually moved to receive almost as much sun. Hang them where they will be in shade by mid-day. Keep Phalaenopsis and Paphiopedilums suspended in total shade. Bring Phals and Paphs in after they have received at least two weeks of 50 degree night temperatures in autumn, Cattleyas after two weeks of 45-50 degree nights, and cymbidiums 35 degrees.