With more than 30,000 species of orchids, for sure, there are some of them that are difficult to propagate. However, there are also many of them that will be easy to grow indoors, even for novices in gardening. Indoor orchids are diverse, especially in terms of the color of their flowers. In fact, their flowers can be almost any color, except true black.
While each variety of orchid will differ from the other, there is one common characteristic that they share – they have the same floral arrangement. The outer part has three flowers or sepals. Meanwhile, there are three inner flowers or petals. They can grow almost everywhere, with almost 10,000 of them in the tropics. You can find orchids on rocks and underground. Most of them, however, are epiphytes, which means that they grow on trees or other plants.
One of the many good things about orchids is that they have an adaptable habitat. This allows them to live in almost any climate, but they will not thrive in extremely arid or frigid environment. If you intend to plant them indoors, meanwhile, make sure to pay attention to choosing the right variety. Some of the most common varieties to consider include denbrobium, vanda, miltonia, and oncidium.
Planting and Growing Conditions
One of the first things that you need to do is to choose the right variety to plant. Among others, Phalaenopsis or moth orchid is one of the best varieties to grow indoors. Their blooms can last for months, making it a great accent piece for any home.
You can propagate orchids by seeds, but this is not a good idea. This will take time, and hence, you need to be patient. Scatter the seeds in a pot, making sure that your hand is clean. It will take a while before it blooms. With this, a better idea is to buy a mature orchid plant and just transfer it to your preferred space at home.
When transferring orchid, one of the most important things to know is that it should not be potted in soil. Orchids need air to breathe. With this, they need to be in a place that is porous. Some of the best choices include sphagnum moss, coconut husks, and Styrofoam pellets.
When it comes to the growing conditions for orchids, one of the most important is light. Orchids will need bright but indirect sunlight. If the light is insufficient, it will compromise the quality of the flowers. On the other hand, if the light is too much, it will most likely suffer from leaf scorch. The leaves should be bright green. If it is darker or brighter, it can be a sign of a problem with light.
Meanwhile, when it comes to temperature, it should be at least 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Because most of the orchids are tropical flowers, they need good air. Also, it is important that there is at least 15 degrees Fahrenheit difference in temperature from day to night.
Watering is another factor that will be vital in growing orchids indoors. You do not need to water daily. Orchids are usually in pots not with soil, but with loose materials. This allows them to enjoy aeration. Watering too much will kill the orchids. With this, water only once every week.
Pests and Diseases
Some of the most common diseases that orchids can experience include leaf spots, bacterial blight, and root rot. In terms of pests, on the other hand, some of the most common causes of infestation include mealy bugs, thrips, spider mites, fungus gnats, and whiteflies, among others.
Care and Maintenance
To ensure the healthy growth of indoor orchids, below are some of the most important tips you have to keep in mind:
- Fertilizing is important, but do not overdo it. In most cases, you will be good with fertilizing it at least once a month. If you fertilize frequently, there is a chance that you will burn the roots and hinder flowering. Because many of the varieties are not heavy feeders, there is not much need for fertilizers.
- Aside from light, water, and temperature, it is also important to consider humidity. Orchids love humid environment. With this, indoors, keep humidity at as much as 80%. There are several ways to improve humidity, such as the use of a humidifier or misting the plant frequently.
- It is also best to repot your orchids at least once in a year. Take note that you will not need compact soil. You need something that is loose, such as coconut husks. Through time, the latter will break or decompose, which is why repotting is necessary.
- Pruning is also a good way to retain the orchid in its tip-top shape. However, you should prune only the flower stems once you notice that it is already brown. If it is green, this is a sign that there is still a possibility of reblooming, and hence, you should not remove it. Do not prune the leaves as this can kill the plant.
- It will also not hurt to bring your orchid plant outdoors every once in a while, allowing it to enjoy the fresh air. Do not leave it for too long. Also, avoid direct exposure to sunlight.
Bright and colorful, orchids are sure to be an excellent addition to your home. Do not bother growing it from seeds. Instead, buy a healthy plant and transfer it to your desired place indoors. Taking care of it is sure to be an easy task.