Caring for Your Orchid
If you Google “hardest house plants to keep alive,” orchid is one of the first plants that pops up on your screen. Cal Coast knows that this can be intimidating–but we’re here to help! With our easy care tips, and a little willingness to pamper your plant, you’ll have a happy and healthy Phalaenopsis orchid that blooms year after year.
1. Orchids Hate Wet Feet
Have you ever stepped in a puddle and accidentally gotten your socks wet? If you over-water your orchid, that’s what your plant feels like–all the time. Improper watering is the number one reason why orchid owners see their plants suffer. People have a tendency to over-water the pot, which causes rotting of the roots and prevents flowering.
In nature, orchids grow on the bark of trees without using any of the tree’s nutrients, and instead photosynthesis occurs in the orchid’s roots, providing it with all the nutrients it needs to thrive. We sell our Phalaenopsis orchids in clear containers, allowing you to see the roots and monitor your plant’s health. When you check on your orchid, take the orchid out of it’s pot and check the color of the roots:
- Green Roots: No need to water! Your orchid is happy and healthy.
- Grey Roots: Your orchid is thirsty, and it’s time to irrigate. Note: dry bark is also an indicator that you need to water your orchid.
There is no exact timetable to when you should water your Phalaenopsis orchid, so you should check on it frequently to ensure you don’t overwater or leave it thirsty. When you check on your orchid and the bark is dry or the roots are grey, it is important to water your orchid. This is an easy, two-step process:
1. Place the orchid (still in its plastic container) in your sink and run water all over the bark for 5 to 10 minutes, being sure to cover every inch of the pot.
2. After you’ve watered the plant, let it “leach,” or rest, in the sink for 20 minutes. This allows all excess water to drain from the container so that your orchid doesn’t get wet feet.
If you follow these proper irrigation techniques, you will enjoy your healthy, vibrant Phalaenopsis orchid for four to six months.
2. Orchids Love Sunshine, But Not Too Much Sunshine
Phalaenopsis orchids are extremely sensitive to light, and an excess of hot, direct sunlight causes their leaves to burn, which is why Cal Coast Orchids utilizes movable curtains to keep our orchids healthy. But don’t worry–greenhouse equipment isn’t necessary for an orchid that thrives.
The key is choosing a spot in your home that receives indirect sunlight so that your orchid gets all the light it needs while staying safe from the heat of direct sunlight. East-facing windows and places that get morning light are excellent spots for orchids; try to steer clear of west- or south-facing windows, and be sure that any afternoon sun is shielded by a thin curtain.
Remember that the leaves of your orchid should be a vibrant green. If the leaves turn a darker shade, the plant isn’t getting a healthy amount of light. If they develop a reddish tinge, the sunlight is too strong and you should move the orchid to a place that receives less light.
3. Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold – Just Right
Monitoring temperature is an important part of caring for your Phalaenopsis orchid. If the climate is too warm, the tiny buds on the stems of your orchid may fall off, and you won’t be able to enjoy your flowering orchid. Your plant will feel its best around room temperature, approximately 68-72°F–just like people usually do! If you feel uncomfortable because it’s too warm or there’s a draft, your orchid feels the same way.
Also, remember that if your orchid is on a windowsill, the temperature will be warmer during the day and cooler at night than places in the room further from the window. Keep this in mind while choosing a place for your orchid to live.
Water, temperature, light, and a little bit of love! That’s all you need to remember when caring for your orchid, and you’ll have a happy and healthy plant that you can enjoy for a long time.
Reblooming Your Orchid
You’ve chosen the perfect place in your home for your orchid to enjoy the sunshine; the temperature was just right; you’ve checked the roots and irrigated properly. But, there will come a time when all the flowers have shown, and now they’re falling off. Don’t worry–with Cal Coast’s tips, you can rebloom your orchid and continue enjoying it!
1. Cut each of the flower stems off 1 inch above the first node.
2. Move your orchid to a spot in your home that’s a little bit warmer and receives a bit more sunlight.
3. Practice patience! Allow your orchid to grow 1 mature leaf–the span of it should reach about 5 to 7 inches.
4. Once a single mature leaf has grown, move your orchid to a spot in your home that’s a bit colder. For example, move the plant from your living to a bathroom that receives less sunshine. The temperature should remain around 66°F.
5. Continue practicing proper irrigation; but now, every other time you water your orchid, be sure to add fertilizer. Your plant is hungry now because it’s trying to grow a new flower stem, and this will provide enough food.
6. As soon as you see a small spike develop, it’s time to return your orchid to its original place in a spot with sufficient indirect sunlight and a moderate temperature.
7. About 13 to 16 weeks later, you will have grown your own Phalaenopsis orchid that’s flowering and thriving for you to enjoy.
Be sure to continue careful monitoring and care of your orchid! If you ever have any questions about basic Phalaenopsis orchid care or reblooming, feel free to contact Cal Coast Orchids at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (805) 305-1410. We’re always happy to help!