Orchids are extremely popular as house plants, garden plants and corsage plants and can today be found all over the world. Some people believe that orchid care is very tricky to keep, but the truth is that even novice plant keepers can reach great success as long as they chose the right orchids and are prepared to do some reading.
The orchid family is the largest family of flowering plants and there are over 20,000 accepted species of orchid. The exact number varies depending on which classification system you use. The Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew in the United Kingdom lists 880 different genera and almost 22,000 species, and several hundred species are added each year. Since orchids are so tremendously popular in the floral trade, horticulturists have also created over 100,000 orchid hybrids and cultivars.
By providing these plants with proper orchid care, you can make them last for years and years to come and offer you new delicate blossoms each year. Some orchids can even be coaxed into blossoming more than once a year, while others will retain their flowers for several months if provided with the right kind of orchid care.
Six very important aspects of orchid care are watering, nutrients, light, temperature, medium, and repotting. On this site you will therefore find detailed information about recommended water habits, proper fertilization, how to find the ideal light combination, how to mimic the natural orchid habitat climate, which type of potting medium to pick, and when your orchid should be repotted.
The best way of providing your orchid with ideal orchid care is to read up on its native environment. In the case of hybrids you might have to study the natural environment of all the included species and then experiment to find a proper mix. Ask your florist for more detailed information. By learning more about the native environment of your orchids you will get important clues about how to make them thrive in your home. If you want to increase your chances of success, pick orchid species that prefer conditions similar to what you already have in your home.
A majority of the orchid species that you can encounter in the floral shop hail from subtropical or tropical parts of the world, but there are many notable exceptions. If you want an orchid used to temperate climate conditions you can for instance pick the Pyramid orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) or the Bee orchid (Ophrys apifera). There are even orchids to be found on Macquarie Island near Antarctica, and you can find several species growing north of the Arctic Circle.
Since orchids occur in such a vast array of different habitats their exact requirements vary, but generally speaking it is best to water orchids during the early morning. By watering the orchid early in the day you give the foliage a chance to dry before the temperature drops in the even. Misting and damping should also be carried out early in the morning or during midday. Orchid leaves that are coated in water droplets when the sun sets will be more susceptible to rotting and mould infestations. Experienced keepers can adhere to other regiments, but for the novice orchid keeper it is safest to avoid late watering, damping and spraying.
If your orchid hails from a part of the world where the air is very humid, such as a tropical lowland forest, your home will most likely be a bit too dry for it if you live in a temperate or arctic part of the world. To make your orchid thrive, you can add some more moist to the air around it. This might sound complicated, but it is actually very easy. It should also be noted that the human body likes a bit of moist as well and our dry indoor environment often gives us dry eyes, dry lips, persistent coughing and so on.
One way of adding moist to the air around the orchid is to use a pebble dish. Simply fill a shallow dish with pebbles and add water. Place the orchid pot on top of the pebbles, and make sure that the waterline is under the top of the pebbles. Overfilling the pebble dish can cause root rot and increase the risk of medium decay. The pebbles need to be cleaned four to six times a year with a mild bleach solution to prevent algae growth and mould.