How to Care for Orchids

Orchids are delicate, but with these tips, you can have a healthy long-lasting plant.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Water once a week Water your orchid with room-temperature water once a week in the winter and twice a week in warmer, drier weather. A 6-inch pot usually needs water every seven days and a 4-inch pot needs water every five to six days.
  • TIP: Water before noon so that your orchids will dry out by nighttime.
  • Step 2: Avoid getting leaves wet Avoid getting water on or in between your orchid's leaves, which cause crown rot.
  • TIP: If the leaves get wet, dry them by dabbing them with a paper towel.
  • Step 3: Avoid direct sunlight Avoid placing the orchid in direct sunlight, which will burn leaves and wilt flowers. Orchids prefer temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees during the day and between 50 and 65 degrees at night.
  • Step 4: Fertilize Fertilize your orchid with a soluble plant food that is low in nitrogen. Too much nitrogen will encourage leaf growth at the expense of flowers. Mix at about one-half the recommended rate, and don't fertilize more than once a month.
  • TIP: Too much fertilizer can burn the roots.
  • Step 5: Control pests Control aphids with store-bought pesticide or by employing ladybugs, which you can purchase at most gardening centers. Remove mealybugs and scales manually with a toothpick or a sponge.
  • Step 6: Repotting Repot your orchid every two to three years, depending on its age. Repot when new growth extends over the edge of the pot.
  • Step 7: Enjoy Enjoy your beautiful, fragrant plant.
  • FACT: Some Australian orchids grow entirely underground.

You Will Need

  • An orchid plant
  • Room-temperature water
  • Water-soluble plant food
  • Store-bought pesticide
  • Ladybugs
  • Toothpicks
  • A sponge
  • Paper towels (optional)

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