While they are beautiful and make great gifts, orchids have a reputation for being difficult to care for. Luckily, with a few tips and tricks, you’ll discover that your orchid can bloom year after year with proper care. To help, we have laid out a guide on how to keep an orchid alive to help you keep this beautiful plant fresh and fruitful.
Purchasing Your Orchid
The first step in your journey is purchasing your plant. Many people do not consider how important choosing the right orchid is, but this step should not be overlooked.
When to buy an orchid
An orchid with bright, colorful blossoms seems like the obvious choice when choosing a plant, but an orchid in bloom will end up being much harder to keep alive over the years. Why? Because flowering requires an incredible amount of energy from the plant, it is important to take extra care of your plant during this delicate stage.
While it’s tempting to buy an orchid in bloom, elect for one with buds and focus on these elements of the plant:
How it is planted—Are the roots firmly planted into the soil? If yes, this will be a sturdy and viable option for you.
Root color—A healthy orchid has light green roots when dry and dark green roots. when wet. Tan, shriveled roots, on the other hand, are a sign of dead roots.
Leaves—While different orchid types will have differing leaf styles, look for an orchid with sturdy, yellow-green leaves.
Bulbs—A healthy orchid will have plump, round bulbs.
Name—Is the specific type of orchid listed? Knowing the exact type of orchid you’re buying will help you better understand and care for your plant.
Depending on what condition you buy your orchid in, you might need to replant it. For a long-lasting plant, here is what you need to know about planting your orchid:
Soil—Your orchid will thrive in a moist, well-draining environment. Moss, bark, sand, rocks and even charcoal can be used in addition to soil to help keep your orchid happy.
Planting—Plant your orchid in a shallow pot as they do not like to be kept in a lot of soil.
Drainage—To avoid rot, plant your orchid in a well-draining pot that doesn’t let the water sit in the saucer.
Once your plant is potted, finding a suitable place for it to live will directly influence its flowering habits and lifespan. East- and South-facing windows and rooms are preferred because of the abundant morning light. Avoid a room with lots of direct sunlight throughout the day as this can dry out the leaves. Not enough sunlight, however, will not give the flower enough energy to bloom.
The next thing to consider with how to keep an orchid alive is watering. Orchids are oftentimes overwatered, causing rot. Typically, your orchid should be watered weekly—a little more in the summer (growing season) and a little less in the winter (dormant season).
When watering, use a tool with a narrow spout so that the crown stays dry (the center of the plant). You can use a paper towel to wipe up any excess water. For best results, water underneath the leaves.
Orchids also need humidity (about 50-70%). In drier climates like Colorado, it’s important to use a spray bottle to mist your orchid daily so that it does not dry out.
Feeding your orchid will help it live a long, happy life. When searching for the right fertilizer, look those containing nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), which will help your plant bloom faster and fuller.
Feed your orchid once a week, but make sure to skip the fertilizer and use clean water every once in a while to avoid salt buildup.
If cared for properly, an orchid makes a great addition to any household. Caring for an orchid is easy for anyone who is willing to put in the initial work. Once you master how to keep an orchid alive you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful plant that yields spectacular flowers year after year.
To learn more about orchids or purchase one for you or a loved one, search our collection at Amore Fiori today!