How to Grow Gorgeous Exotic Orchids

Orchid plants have a reputation for being difficult to grow, but countless orchid enthusiasts will all say the same thing: it just isn’t true!

Like any plant, orchids do have a few requirements that need to be met in order for them to thrive and bloom. So to be successful with an orchid, supply it with what it needs and the plant will repay you with breathtaking flower spikes that last for 3 months or longer.

What are the essential orchid supply products?

Growing mediums: orchids can be grown in a variety of media, from straight fir bark, to sphagnum moss, to popular peat-based media like Pro-mix or premium orchid potting mixes with coco chips, sterilized bark, charcoal and perlite. However, orchids do not like to be grown in regular potting soil!

The growing medium is probably the most important orchid supply you need. That said, whichever media is easiest to obtain in your area should suffice with proper watering (the faster the mix drains, the more often you need to water).

Fertilizer: houseplant food with a ratio of 30-10-10 (nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium) is best for orchids grown in fir bark. Use a balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20 with other potting mixes. Feed weekly with half the amount of plant food suggested on the label, rather than every other week.

Humidity trays: most households with central heating don’t achieve the level of moisture in the air that orchids like, particularly in winter. You can run a room humidifier if you have one; if not, a humidity tray is an important (but relatively inexpensive) orchid supply you might want to purchase.

Ceramic pots are the prettiest way to showcase the exotic beauty of an orchid. With a plant that rewards you with such lovely blossoms, the ugly plastic pot many orchids are sold in, just won’t do.

Baskets: wood, plastic or wire hanging baskets are also nice way to display your prized orchid.

Orchid books. Growing this plant is a specialty niche in the gardening arena, and though its not necessary to read books to be successful, once you start growing orchids you’ll probably want to learn more about them. You can find many books suitable for both beginners and advanced orchid growers at the library, bookstore, some larger nurseries and orchid supply stores.

Where to find quality orchid supplies

If you live in a fairly big city or metropolitan area, hardware/garden chain stores usually carry a nice selection of orchid necessities. Another place to look is at discount floral supply stores. Your city might also have locally owned and operated hardware stores that include a garden center. However, if you live in a rural area, it can be difficult to find orchid supply stores, and your best bet might be the internet.

Let your fingers do the shopping

Online orchid supply stores offer a huge selection of everything you need to successfully grow amazing orchids at home. Quality orchid products, competitive prices, and fast delivery of everything from a pot to the plant itself, are just a few clicks away.

The best orchid for beginners

The Phalaenopsis (or moth orchid) is widely available, and is also the easiest to grow. Given proper light, water and fertilizer, it will reflower after the initial bloom. They come in many shades of pink, white, yellow, green, and near red.

Once you’ve enjoyed success with the Phalaenopsis, you might want to try other orchid species, such as Cattleyas (the “Queen” of orchids, it comes in every color of the rainbow except true blue), Dendrobiums, Oncidiums (also called “dancing ladies”) and Vandas.

Tips for successful orchid growing

*Provide excellent drainage.
*Situate the pot in a north or east-facing window with filtered light.
*Repot the orchid every few years in fresh growing medium to ensure good drainage.
*Fertilize weekly with a diluted solution, rather than heavy feeding sporadically.

Have fun growing beautiful orchids!

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