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Orchids are some of the most beautiful and magical blooming plants in the world. They thrive in seemingly unbelievable conditions, often enjoying the struggle to stay alive. There are thousands of varieties of orchids. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and every imaginable color combination.
These plants have a reputation for being difficult to care for, but with a little knowledge and continued diligence, an orchid plant can last for 15 years or even longer. If you have an orchid that you are fond of and want to keep for many years, you are likely wondering what you can do to keep your orchid thriving.
If you want to keep your orchid thriving for years, pot it in the correct-sized pot with the right potting materials. Orchids enjoy indirect sunlight and usually prefer temperatures near room temperature, so position the plant in these conditions. Water the orchid sparsely on a reliable schedule. Remember to trim any dead leaves or stalks, and be patient, as orchids can lay dormant for many months before blooming.
When an orchid is in bloom, it is a sight to behold. But just because the once-stunning blossoms begin to shrivel up and fall off, does not mean the plant is dead. Orchids are resilient and long-lasting indoor plants worth saving, especially if the plant in question was a gift or has sentimental value. The key is to know what these plants like, and what they don’t like. Once you are armed with the knowledge of how to keep an orchid thriving, it should be relatively easy to keep your orchid blooming for many years to come.
10 Tips To Help Keep Your Orchid Thrive For Years
1. Choose A Resilient Orchid Species
Some orchids are much easier to care for than others. If you are looking to find an orchid to keep in your home, consider purchasing an orchid species that is resilient, and thrives in your climate. Moth orchids are relatively low maintenance, and popular in homes throughout the world. Just make sure you buy a plant that likes the temperature you keep in your house, and is happy with the lighting conditions. This will make maintenance and upkeep much easier.
2. Choose The Correct Pot
Orchids have roots that are more like lungs than typical plant roots. These lungs need room to breathe and expand. Therefore, you should make sure you have an appropriately sized pot for the orchid to thrive over time.
Often orchids are packaged in small containers in the store, as they are not meant for long-term housing for these plants. Re-pot the orchid as needed to ensure it has a healthy and comfortable habitat.
3. Keep Your Orchid In The Right Temperature
Temperature is a major factor when it comes to keeping orchids alive and safe. Orchids can quickly wither and die in very cold or very hot conditions. Different orchids like different temperatures. But almost no orchid likes temperatures below 45 or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. For the most part, orchids are great plants to grow indoors. Just make sure you know the ideal temperature range for your specific plant and then find a room or window sill that best reflects these temperature conditions.
- Pro Tip: Keeping evening temperatures in the proper cool zone will help promote blooms.
4. Trim Dead Leaves And Stems
Another way to ensure your orchid stays happy and healthy is to always trim dead leaves and branches off the plant. This includes old stalks where blooms once sprouted. Believe it or not, once the blooms fall, that entire stalk is essentially useless, and is only taking vital nutrients away from the rest of the plant.
The same is true for yellowing and drying leaves. Dying leaves are usually very easy to spot, as they are a darker, dead-looking color. Cut these leaves off so the plant has more energy to feed the live leaves and also has the ability to grow new ones.
5. Position The Orchid In Ideal Light Conditions
Lighting is just as important to an orchid as temperature. But unlike many other plants that like as much sun as possible, orchids are plants that prefer indirect sunlight. In fact, if you place many species of orchid in direct sunlight, they will die.
This is great news for those looking to place an orchid on a dining room table or even on a kitchen window that doesn’t receive much light. But it is important you are mindful of the placement throughout the year. You may need to move the plant seasonally to ensure it is getting enough (but not too much) sun throughout the year.
6. Use The Correct Potting Materials
Another tip to help your orchid thrive for a long time is to make sure you use the right potting materials. Orchids come from all over the world, and different orchids like to be planted in different materials. Some love tree bark, while others like stones or perlite, or even soil. Make sure you use the correct potting materials.
Proper drainage is essential for an orchid, otherwise, it will likely get waterlogged and die. Regardless of the soil type, make sure the plant has great drainage in its pot where excess water can easily flow out.
7. Stick To A Healthy Watering Routine
Another unique thing about orchids is that they are plants that like very little water, but should be kept on a regular watering schedule. For some orchids, you can simply use a mister every few days to dampen the soil. With others, you can place one or two ice cubes on the bark or soil and let them slowly melt.
Regardless of what method you use, it is critical you do not overwater your orchid. This is one easy way to kill your plant. Underwatering is also possible, although unlikely as long as you stick to a watering schedule that works.
8. Feed The Orchid Fertilizer
In addition to the right soil and a proper watering schedule, another tip to keep your orchid thriving is to feed it some essential nutrients from time to time. Just like any other plant that you grow for an extended period of time, orchids need fertilizer.
If you live in the US, the best time to fertilize your orchid is outside the winter months (ideally March through November), as this is when your plant is likely actively growing. Orchids tend to go dormant in the winter, especially in more northern areas where the sun becomes limited.
9. Wait Patiently For The Next Bloom
Another key factor to ensuring your orchid will thrive for years is patience. Orchids are not like most other plants, in that they can go months without looking like they have grown or changed at all. This does not, however, mean that they are dead or somehow inept. They might be dormant, or just waiting for the right time to shoot up a stalk of blooms.
One of the most amazing things about an orchid is that you never quite know exactly when it will decide to shoot up a stalk and begin budding. But with patience, and by following the other care tips, your plant is bound to bloom annually or even multiple times a year.
10. Take Precautions When You Go On Vacation
Vacations are important for the soul and our mental health, but they often spell death for orchids. When you go on vacation, you likely change the temperature controls in your home, and there is also no one around to water your orchid.
When you go on vacation, consider having a neighbor tend to your plants, including your orchids. If you are changing your temperature settings, see if a friend will let you store your orchids at their temperature-controlled house while you are away.
Wrapping Up How To Keep Your Orchid Thriving
Many people think orchids are difficult or even impossible to maintain for years on end. This is because there are a few species that are a bit challenging to maintain. But for the most part, orchids are easy to keep alive for 15 years or longer, as long as you know the tips on how to care for them.
Make sure you keep the orchid in indirect sunlight, and in its ideal temperature range. Orchids do not like too much water, so be careful not to overwater them. Make sure you pot an orchid with enough space to breathe and grow, and trim any of its dead leaves and stalks to help promote new growth.
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