The Orchid family (Orchidaceae) consists of more than 25,000 different species, which is growing in number year on year. Most orchids are tropical plants living as epiphytes - this means they grow on trees and between rocks, not directly in the soil. Here is some advice to grow orchids successfully in your home to keep them looking beautiful.
Avoid strong, direct sunlight, if you are growing them on a south-facing window make sure it is well shaded.
A cool room temperature is best, avoid placing orchids near heat sources, such as radiators.
Orchids prefer humid climates and atmospheres. Place the pot on a tray or saucer filled with gravel and water. Remember to keep the saucer topped up with water, but not so it is in contact with the base of the pot.
Orchids are not grown in ordinary compost. They need an open structure, mainly consisting of bark with added peat. This will help hold the orchids upright, without allowing the roots to become too damp, which can cause root rot.
Orchids don’t need a lot of water in the compost, and prefer to be kept on the dry side. Never leave an orchid sitting in water, this is the easiest way to kill it. Water should run through the pot and drain away. If you choose to water by submersing the pot, make sure the plant fully drains before returning it to its growing position.
Top tip 1
Orchids like to grow in small cramped places in trees and between rocks, so don’t worry if they look pot bound. As a general rule re-pot every 2 to 3 years, but only go up one pot size at a time.
To achieve the best results, feed once a fortnight with Pour & Feed Ready to Use Plant Food.
Many orchids will produce a mass of aerial roots, generally silver-green in colour. These take in moisture and help the plant ‘breathe’. Never cut these off and do not cover them with compost or moss.
Mealybugs and Scale Insects are the most common orchid pests. Cotton buds can be used to physically remove these pests, alternatively you could apply an insecticide suitable for indoor use such as BugClear Ultra Gun.
When you re-pot your orchid remember to only go up one pot size, water well before removing from its current pot, cut any damaged or rotting roots off, then simply re-pot with a suitable compost such as Orchid Compost. Try to keep the orchid at the same height in the pot as it was before, and lightly water in.
Top tip 2
Standing the pot on a saucer of gravel and water removes the need for regular misting, misting can lead to water being trapped in the leaves, causing rot and disease.