Posted by Peggy Farber on 6/22/2016

Have you every dreamed of growing orchids at home? If you have large windows providing lots of light, Cymbidiums, Dendrobiums, Moth orchids, and Lady Slippers will flourish in a home environment. A greenhouse is not required, just lots of light and loving attention. If you have a green thumb, show off your talents. Orchids are eye-catching, colorful and graceful: an exceptional houseplant for those with patience and perseverance. Orchids require a bit of experimentation until you find the right combination of light, moisture and potting medium that works in your home’s light conditions and temperature range. Yes, growing orchids at home does require a bit of effort, however if you have an East-facing window, epiphytes will thrive if adequate moisture is maintained and the tender orchid plants are protected from cold winter drafts. Light Requirements Direct sunlight is not tolerated by most varieties of orchids: lots of filtered lighted is preferred. If you do not have the best natural lighting, talk to your garden supply center to determine a combination of grow lights that provide the light spectrum orchids require. Moisture Place orchid pots on a tray full of pebbles to trap water and provide higher humidity around your plant. Orchids should be watered weekly. Do not allow roots to stand in water. Orchids require fast drainage or roots will rot. If the planting medium is compacted and holding excess moisture around the roots it is time to replant your treasures. Adding a vaporizer to contribute additional moisture to the growing room’s environment helps keep orchids healthy and blooming. Do not water your plants with fluorinated water. If your house water is fluorinated, purchase water with a pH of 7.5 or collect rainwater to store for water orchids and other houseplants. If you are growing a large amount of plants, consider installing a drip irrigation system for steady, consistent moisture. Potting Medium Your choice of potting medium is dependent on the type of orchids you are trying to cultivate. Paphiopedilums and Cymbidiums are considered semi-terrestrial or terrestrial and require a traditional potting mix of peat moss, bark, and perlite. Epiphytes such as Catteya, Oncidium, and Phalaenopsis do better in an airy mixture of bark, pebbles and charcoal. It is important to make sure you are using a mixture specifically formulated for the type of orchids you are growing. Fertilization All orchids require fertilization, some more than others. A good rule of thumb is to apply an organic fertilizer mixed at half strength applied weekly. Special growers and home and garden supply stores offer fertilizer that is diluted and prepared especially for orchids. Temperature Orchids thrive in a humid environment and a temperature range from 62 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Most varieties of orchids are damaged by abrupt changes in temperature, so attempt to keep the area where you are growing orchids at a consistent temperature.




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