Growing Orchids Indoors



Facts about Growing Orchids Indoors

Their exotic beauty far outweighs the time and patience needed for growing orchids indoors, as many who step up to the challenge soon realize.  Orchid care is not as hard as most people think. The key to success comes from: 1) knowing the need of an orchid and then creating a habitat for it or, 2) choosing an orchid suited for the growing conditions you can provide for it.

Like most plants, taking care of a few basics will keep orchids happy and thriving for many years, especially with the hardier hybrids available in this day and age.  Specialized potting mediums can be purchased already measured and packaged, not to mention, the tools, variety of pots and ‘Orchids for dummies’ material available in most stores that carry plants and/or their supplies.  For this reason, serious enthusiasts find growing orchids indoors to be as rewarding as it is easy.

Some simple facts on growing orchids indoors to create a beautiful garden of tropical blossoms involve areas common to most plants-lighting, medium, water and food.  Like many of their tropical counterparts, orchids love to be drenched and then left alone until they are almost dried out once more. Watering generally depends on the species, temperature and how humid their environment is. Using warm water mimics their natural habitat; always administer any care early in the day. As orchids need moist air planting them in a tray of gravel with a ½ inch of water in it provides humidity as it evaporates.

When growing orchids indoors consider the lighting. The size and shape of your orchid’s leaves should be a determining factor for the amount of light needed. Plants with long, slender leaves need more light than those with short and/or wide leaves. They should be placed where they have opportunity to receive the strongest light through out the day.  Plants with short, wider leaves-often softer in texture, have been known to thrive happily with very little light at all.

Choose an east or west facing window for placement of your plants-but not in direct sunlight.  Two 20 watt fluorescent tubes-available at any nursery and most garden supply stores will do nicely as well, if natural lighting is not plentiful. If the leaves of the new growth are reaching the same size and shape of the old ones your growing orchids indoors experience is right on track.

Food for growing orchids indoors should consist of 20% or less nitrogen, with other nutrients not as important.  Feed only when orchids appear to be going through a growing spurt. A good way to judge over fertilization is by watching the leaves.  Limp, dark green leaves while growing orchids indoors are a good indication too much fertilize is being used.

Air circulation is another important factor to consider when growing orchids indoors. An open window in warm weather or a small fan placed near orchids will help keep the temperature regulated and above 60 degrees-this can be warmer in the daytime, if possible. Keep your plants away from drafty window sills at night to avoid drastic temperature fluctuations.

A few good choices for growing orchids indoors would be: Moth orchid (Phalaenopsis) because of their long lasting blooms, and when these plants are healthy they can bloom twice a year making it quite thrilling for the grower.  These orchids have multi-flowered spikes ranging from white to lavender-often with strips in a contrasting color for its center.

Another very good choice when growing orchids indoor is the Lady's Slippers (Paphiopedilum) as the flowers of a young plant can last up to three months while established plants can repeat blooming through out the year. They have an exotic look as well with their hairs, unusual warts and stripped colors that home growers find appealing.