What do you need to know about orchid care and maintenance?


Quick Answer

Basic orchid care and maintenance revolves around watering the appropriate amount, fertilizing regularly and providing ideal light conditions. There are three types of orchids, and each type has different watering needs. Certain varieties, such as the Miltonia and Cymbidium, require their soil to be evenly moist at all times, while others, such as the Vanda and Ascocenda, must remain nearly dry between watering.

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Full Answer

The general rule of thumb is to water orchids once every five to 12 days. Factors that influence the frequency of watering include the variety, temperature and season. For example, orchids must be watered a little more frequently in the warm summer months than in the winter. Orchids should only be watered with soft water. Growers in a hard-water locale can substitute by using cooled water that has been boiled in a kettle.

Most orchid fertilizers should be used once a month, but the instructions may call for different feeding periods. In general, using too much fertilizer may burn the orchid's roots, while using too little can inhibit flowering. Both situations may also result in stunted growth.

Light conditions affect orchid growth, and many gardeners have found that plain fluorescent lights work fine. More expensive fluorescent bulbs may also increase the spectrum of light given off and contribute to better growing and blooming conditions.

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