Orchids are one of the most popular and beautiful flowering houseplants. With their delicate blooms in a rainbow of colors, orchids bring a touch of nature’s splendor to any indoor space. Here is an in-depth look at growing these stunning plants at home.
Selecting Orchids for Indoor Growing
When choosing orchids for indoor gardening, look for varieties that thrive in home environments. Good options include:
- Phalaenopsis – With their sprays of abundant blooms, moth orchids are perhaps the best orchids for beginners. They adapt readily to indoor conditions.
- Oncidium – Often called dancing lady orchids, oncidiums produce loads of small, graceful flowers. They are easy to grow indoors.
- Dendrobium – These orchids produce clusters of delicate blooms. Dendrobium nobile and phalaenopsis hybrids do well as houseplants.
- Vanda – For those in warm climates, vandas are an excellent indoor orchid. Their vividly colored flowers last for months.
- Cattleya – The familiar corsage orchids can thrive indoors with bright light. Miniature cattleyas are ideal for growing in the home.
When selecting an orchid, look for a healthy plant with green, firm leaves and plump pseudobulbs (the bulbous stems). Avoid plants with shriveled pseudobulbs or mushy roots.
Providing the Right Growing Conditions
Orchids need specialized care to thrive indoors. Here are tips on providing the key elements orchids require:
Light – Bright, filtered light is ideal for indoor orchids. An east, west or lightly shaded south window works well. Supplement with artificial lighting if needed.
Temperature – Orchids prefer consistent, warm temperatures between 65-85°F. Keep them away from hot and cold drafts.
Humidity – High humidity levels (60-80%) mimic the tropical environments orchids naturally grow in. Use a humidifier, pebble tray or grouping plants to boost moisture.
Air Circulation – Stagnant air encourages fungal diseases in orchids. Place them near a fan to keep air moving gently around the leaves.
Water – Water thoroughly when the potting mix is nearly dry. Allow water to drain freely to prevent root rot.
Fertilizer – Use a dilute orchid fertilizer or 20-20-20 plant food every 2-4 weeks while plants are actively growing.
Potting Medium – Orchids need an open, free-draining mix. Combinations of bark, perlite, moss and charcoal work well.
Displaying Orchids for Maximum Impact
One of the joys of growing orchids is their stunning beauty. Display them in a way that highlights their exotic flowers and graceful foliage:
- Place orchids in decorative containers like baskets, ceramic pots or orchid planters. Match the pot size to the plant’s root mass.
- Elevate orchids by placing pots on plant stands or plinths. This showcases the gorgeous blooms at eye-level.
- Group multiple orchid plants together for greater visual impact. Complementary colors create a harmonious display.
- Spotlight orchids by placing them on countertops, fireplace hearths, table centerpieces or bookshelves.
- Suspend orchids in hanging baskets or macrame holders. Allow the sprays of blooms to cascade downward.
- Accent orchids with decorative objects like stones, shells or bits of wood. These natural elements enhance their beauty.
With creativity and care, orchids can flourish indoors and serve as living works of art in any home.
Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Orchids Indoors
How often should indoor orchids be watered?
Indoor orchids should be watered once a week on average. Let the potting mix dry out slightly between waterings. The frequency can vary based on factors like temperature, humidity and potting medium. Orchids in bark need more frequent watering than those potted in moss.
What are the best fertilizers for indoor orchids?
Use a balanced orchid fertilizer or a diluted general purpose fertilizer like 20-20-20. Apply at half strength every 2-4 weeks while plants are actively growing. Reduce or eliminate fertilizer in winter when orchids are dormant.
How can I get my indoor orchids to bloom again?
Strong light, proper water and nutrition, and cooler winter temperatures encourage orchids to rebloom. Move plants to a bright window, fertilize regularly, and allow temperatures to drop into the 60s F for 2-3 months in winter. Pruning old flower spikes can also promote reblooming.
What should I do with the flower stalk after the orchid blooms fade?
Leave the spent flower stalk intact unless it turns yellow or brown. Oftentimes, orchids will bloom again on the same stalk. Use sterile shears to trim dead or unsightly stalks back to the base of the plant.
Why do some of my orchid’s leaves turn yellow?
Yellowing leaves often indicate overwatering or insufficient light. Allow the growing medium to dry out between waterings and move plants to a brighter spot. Leaf yellowing can also occur naturally as older leaves die off. Remove discolored leaves at the base.
How can I increase humidity for my indoor orchids?
Run a humidifier near your orchids to increase moisture in the air. You can also fill a shallow tray with pebbles and water and place orchid pots on the pebbles. Grouping orchids together increases localized humidity around the plants.
The Reward of Growing Orchids Indoors
When properly cared for, orchids thrive indoors and reward growers with their delicate beauty and longevity. Their magnificent blooms in diverse colors and patterns bring life to interior spaces. Orchids instill a sense of connection to the wonders of nature, even inside the home. With minimal effort, gardeners of any skill level can cultivate these captivating plants and enjoy years of pleasure from their graceful flowers and foliage. Orchids are sure to bring beauty to your decor for many seasons to come.