How does one take care of orchids, which can maintain their beauty for many years when well taken care of and become even more beautiful with each new blooming flower? On this page, you can find all the answers to the questions such as what are the tips and tricks for orchid maintenance, how to care for orchids at home, how to flower orchids and many more. We have prepared all the necessary information on orchid care for you.
Characteristics of Orchids
⏩ The orchids, which have about 880 genera and more than 22,000 species worldwide, are spread over a wide area, mostly in the tropics.
⏩ With their flowers of white, blue and magenta tones, durable structure and their beauty; orchids are one of the most beloved types of flowers of every period. The most well-known and preferred orchid genus in our country is the Phalaenopsis orchid. This species has a short body. Its broad and large leaves cover its roots.
⏩ They bloom at least twice a year and bloom for up to 12 weeks. If the orchid care is well done, the flowering can be seen 3 or even 4 times.
How to Take Care of Orchids
Sun - Light:
Orchids don’t like the sun too much; their flowers wither away immediately; however, it is not good for the orchid to be located in a dim place where it doesn’t receive any sunlight.
The orchid won’t bloom if it doesn’t get enough sunlight. The sunlight on the orchid must be semi-filtered light; so, when you touch its leaves, the leaves should not feel heated at all or should feel heated very little.
Although orchids are tropical plants, they are not suitable for our regions which are extremely hot during the summer. For the orchid to maintain a healthy growth, it should be located somewhere with a minimum temperature of 18o C and with a maximum temperature of 29o C. Temperatures which are colder or hotter than these values do not hinder its development unless they are exposed to it for a long duration; but this will harm your plant in the long run.
The humidity requirements for orchids vary according to their species. However, in general, they require at least 50% humidity during the day and at least 70% humidity at night. They will grow healthier and faster in an environment that has a higher humidity level than these numbers.
Watering is crucially vital for orchids. Too much watering causes hard-to-repair damage to the plant’s roots. The watering of the orchid varies according to the plant’s needs and the climate. However, it should usually be watered once a week or by dividing the same amount of water into two separate days. The orchid should be watered with rested, room temperature water.
There are 3 commonly preferred methods for orchid watering:
⏩ Watering the orchid with the immersion method: In order to water your orchid with the immersion method, place your pot in a container that is filled with pre-rested water and leave it in the water for 10-15 minutes until all the roots are wet. Then take the pot out of the container and wait for the remaining water to drain and let the pot dry enough before putting it back to its former place. You can apply this method once a week.
⏩ Watering the orchid with ice cubes: Another method, which is popularly used for watering plants with hard soil, is the ice cube watering method. Place several ice cubes under the leaves of the plant, avoiding contact with the leaves. This way, the ice will gradually melt and the soil of the plant will have the chance to absorb the water. Once the melting is complete, make sure to get rid of any water, if there is any left on the pot plate. You can water your plant twice a week with this method.
⏩ Pouring water directly: Of course, you can also choose conventional methods to water your flower. You can pour the previously rested room-temperature water directly into your orchid pot and empty the remaining water on the pot plate. You can water your plant once a week with this method.
Tip: You shouldn’t water your plant with the water sprayer. When you water your plant using this method, the leaves may get wet. In case the leaves do not dry, fungal problems might arise.
The soil of the orchid is unique, it cannot be found in every soil. It requires a mixture prepared with various fibers and peats. You can change the potting mix when changing the pots.
You can fertilize your orchid at regular intervals to encourage flowering. Since orchid soil is different from the conventional ornamental plant soil, you should always use liquid fertilizer or nutrients. You can give liquid fertilizer to your plants once a month, or you can apply it weekly by dividing the necessary amount by 4.
Tip: You can freeze the liquid fertilizer in ice cube containers and place the frozen fertilizer cubes on the plant soil, letting it to slowly melt and be absorbed by the roots.
The roots of the orchids need light. For this reason, the orchid pot should be transparent and should transmit light. When changing the pot, the pot should be cut and removed if necessary, in order not to damage the roots and the air roots that come out should not be stuffed back into the pot.
Orchids usually retain their flowers for about 3-4 months after flowering. After the flowers fall, the stems of the flowers remain alive for a while. As long as your orchid stem is green, it means it is still alive. However, once the stem starts to dry and becomes brown, there won’t be any need for it to stay there anymore. You can cut the brown stem diagonally with a sterile pair of scissors and separate it from the plant. If you cut the stem of the plant while it is green, you can use it as a scion to produce a new orchid.
How to Breed Phalaenopsis Orchids?
Several methods can be used for reproducing orchids. The three most commonly used methods are scion, Keiki and separation methods.
Reproducing Orchids with Scion Method
Reproducing with scion technique (grafting) is a technique of creating a new plant using a stem, root or a leaf fragment called scion, taken from the plant to be reproduced. To use this method, your orchids must be sufficiently developed and they should be shooting forth at different points. The steps for orchid reproduction with scion are as follows:
⏩ After the flowers have fallen, cut a stem with green leaves from the bottom up with a sharp and sterile knife 1-2 cm above the 3 knuckles. You are doing a kind of pruning here. For this reason, you can try to reproduce your orchid when you are pruning as long as the scions you obtain are suitable.
⏩ After that, you can prevent the stem from decaying by applying garden Sulphur powder or cinnamon on the cut.
⏩ If the leaf just under the stem has poor health, it will never recover. That’s why you have to remove it if there is any.
⏩ Then you have to keep the orchid in a completely dark place. Even if it gets very little sunlight, there won’t be a bud formation on the flower stem.
⏩ Your plant will give sprouts for blossoming. When seedlings form on the flower stem of the orchid, take it back to its original place.
⏩ When the seedling formed on the stem grows, you can cut the baby seedling a few centimeters from the bottom and top, and plant the baby seedling into a separate pot.
Reproducing Orchids with the Separation Method
Another method of orchid reproduction is the separation method. Phalaenopsis orchids very rarely give off baby roots. You can separate these baby roots if they are rooted enough and have at least two leaves. The steps to follow when reproducing orchids with the separation method are as follows:
⏩ First, you need to take out your orchid from the pot, without damaging the roots. Then you should remove some of the soil around the roots and carefully separate the baby roots from the plant.
⏩ You can plant your new orchids in different pots and keep them upright with the help of a rod until the new plants gain strength.
It is very rare for the orchid to give baby roots, but if the middle part of the plant from where the new leaves come out is damaged, then it creates more than one baby roots from the main root of the plant. Some intentionally damage the plant’s central leafing unit for it to form baby roots. But we don’t recommend it since you might kill the orchid completely if you do this.
You should wait for the ideal time to use this method. Orchids give root shoots after the active growth and blooming period. New green leaves will be formed on these root shoots. If your orchid has grown quite a lot, given many root shoots from different points and many different leaf groups have been formed, then you can use separation and reproduce your plant.
Reproducing Orchids from Keiki
Baby orchids that are formed at the ends of the orchid are called Keiki. It is possible to reproduce your plant by separating these orchids, which give root even though they are attached to the main body. The steps to follow when reproducing orchids by separating the Keiki are as follows:
⏩ You have to wait for the Keiki to mature enough. At the ideal stage, the keiki should have at least 2 leaves roots and the roots should be at least 3 cm tall.
⏩ You should water your plant and feed its roots 24 hours before the separation of the Keiki.
⏩ Separate the Keiki with a sterile knife and plant them in a pot filled with orchid soil. Secure your new orchids with a rod and water them for the very first time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we cut the roots that go out of the pot?
The roots of the orchid can contain chlorophyll, especially the roots that get light are lush. Therefore, when these roots go out of the pot, they should not be damaged or cut.
How do we know if the orchid is getting enough light or not?
Light is very important for orchids. Different types of orchids have different light needs. The most accurate way of measuring the light that best suits your plant is to observe its leaves. Brown leaves indicate that the plant gets too much sunlight and needs less sunlight; while light green leaves indicate that your plant needs a little more light.
My orchid plant does not grow/bloom.
The most likely reason for this is that your orchid doesn’t get enough sun and therefore cannot be fed. Another factor is the temperature. You’re your plant at a minimum temperature of 17 degrees for at least 1 month and observe the blossoming.
The orchid buds have fallen off before blossoming.
The changes you made while your orchid was blossoming might have caused this. The amount of light it receives, excessive watering, soil or pot change might have disturbed the orchid and caused it to be stressed. At the same time, if you have dehydrated your plant, the buds may fall. For this, check the colors of the roots in the pot. If they are not green and if they mostly have the shades of gray or white it means that your plant is dehydrated. Except we are not talking about the roots that come out of the pot to get some air but the ones that remain in the pot.
The orchid leaves are brown
Brown leaves indicate that your plant is getting too much or direct sunlight. You need to move your plant somewhere else or make sure that it doesn’t receive the light directly.
The orchid flowers are decaying.
If you have left the roots of the orchid in too much water, decaying and falling of the flowers of the plant may occur.