What are the basics of orchid care?

No home is similar to another and also no growing environment is similar to another so all of the recommandations and tips that you can find on this page are very general. For more detailed information you are invited to come to our regular society meetings were we love to discuss the special care needed for our orchids.

Some general rules for all orchids …

  • Orchids don’t like a wet and soggy substrate
  • Use room temperature water that is low in salts and hardness for watering
  • Avoid air drafts! (especially when flowerbuds emerge)
  • Fertilization – Spring is the best time to start fertilizing as the plants start to grow with longer days. Attention – less fertilizer is usually better for your plant – orchids don’t like salt buildup in the substrate!
  • Not every orchid can be kept outside during summer! (e.g. Phalaenopsis Hybrids usually do better inside year round)

Warm growing orchids e.g. Phalaenopsis, Cattleya, …

need warm temperatures year round and usually flower easily. Some may need a short and dry rest periode (Cattleya) to flower well. Plants should receive bright light but no direct sun – some extra shading in summer may be necessary.

Orchids for the intermediate temperatures e.g. Coelogyne, Odontoglossum, …

need intermediate temperatures with a drop in temperatures at night and a cooler and dryer winter rest to flower well. These orchids like to be outside during summer on a balcony or in the garden protected from direct rain. Often these orchids grow in tropical regions but in higher altitudes were it is cooler. Some orchids also experience a dry winter in their natural habitat and this should be simulated at home to induce flowering. Place the plants on a bright spot without direct sunlight and protect them from rain if you keep them outside during summer.

Cold growing orchids e.g. Masdevallia, Dracula, …

These are orchids that live in extreme environments in tropical areas on high altitudes were it is cold and wet year round. The plants must be kept outside from late spring until autumn and it is best to grow them in clay pots that draw water from a saucer to cool the plant and provide high humidity. (except Dracula orchids or others that grow the flower spike downwards instead of up). In winter these orchids need a cold (no frost!) and a very bright growing area. Often they start to grow during winter and pause growth on warm summer days.