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Orchid Care Guide

Mother’s Day looks a little bit different this year due to the current circumstances of the world but there are still ways to celebrate your mother or someone special to you on this special day. If you are trying to think outside of the box instead of ordering a bouquet of flowers (which of course, we still would recommend – because flowers are always a good idea!) why not give the gift of a flower that has potential to rebloom? An orchid! Not only are they show-stoppers but they’re long lasting gifts that can rebloom over and over. We’ve also got you covered with a care guide. We’ve listed below the key factors in caring for a healthy orchid, pass them along to your Mom!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Light

The natural environment of orchids exposes them to bright indirect light which allows them to thrive. As with most indoor houseplants, the closer we can adapt our homes to replicate their natural environment, the better.

To achieve optimal indoor conditions, orchids thrive off bright indirect light. But will be ok if they get a couple of hours of direct light.

“The orchids in the gardenstead office live happily in a west-facing window that only receives 1-2 hours of direct sunlight per day due to an obstructed view.”

Water

To water with an ice cube or not to water with an ice cube? This is the great orchid debate. Though common orchid care encourages the ice cube method, we don’t recommend it. Essentially, one ice cube would not be enough water to quench your orchid’s thirst but using an ice cube also loops back to the first point in this care guide, replicating their natural environment. It doesn’t rain ice cubes! (Although I am sure it occasionally hails in the tropics!)

If you still have your orchid in its original clear plastic container, we recommend pouring water in and letting the orchid soak the water up for 15-20 minutes before draining the remaining water back out.

The best way to know when to water your orchid is through visual signals from the plant itself.

  • The Leaves: if they are firm, the plant is hydrated. If they are mushy or wrinkly looking, it could use a drink.
  • The Roots: Shriveled up roots indicates your orchid needs to be watered. Silvery and green roots mean your orchid is healthy. 

Soil & Repotting

Bringing home a new orchid is exciting! Despite this excitement, we recommend you hold off on repotting your orchid for six to twelve months. This will allow time for your orchid to acclimatize to its new home.

When it’s time to repot, rather than regular potting soil, you’ll need a mix that is specific to orchids, often called “orchid mix.” It is mostly made from bark and peat moss.

Watch this video to help guide you through the repotting process.
(For a step-by-step repotting tutorial, fast forward to 12:25)

Reblooming

Many people don’t realize that orchids can rebloom and toss the plant after it blooms. The reblooming process is slow. It can take anywhere from four to nine months. Meaning an orchid might only bloom two or three times in a year.

In order to rebloom, cut the existing flower stalk just above a node as seen in the photo below. Any node will work – keeping length on the stem or taking it down is up to your aesthetic preference. Keep the plant in bright indirect light and after several months, it should rebloom.

“Nodes are those little “bumps” that the arrows are pointing to.”

View growing orchids as trial and error to discover what works best for you and your home. Be kind to yourself and your orchid, they are delicate and it can take patience to understand the plant.

Most importantly, have fun and know that there’s a whole community behind you. Join our Facebook community to share your questions and success stories.

For more orchid care info, check out our ASK gardenstead episode on How NOT to Kill Your Orchid

*A special thank you to Caterina A. a lover of houseplants for initially compiling the facts in this article!

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