Orchids are tropical plants that for the most part grow on trees in the rain forests. They are called "epiphytes," which means they attach themselves to another plant instead of growing out of the ground. They use the other plant, mostly trees in the case of the orchid, for structural purposes but not for nutrients. They get the nutrition they need from the rain and debris found on the host plant. Orchids are found mostly in tropical climates although of the thousands of varieties, 140 are native to North America. This beautiful flower is loved by all tropical gardeners, as well as the many girls and women who have worn them as corsages during their lifetimes.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Fill a small orchid pot with coconut fiber and sphagnum moss halfway. Other mediums you can use are charcoal granules, peat moss and fir bark, but do not use potting soil. Orchids do not grow in dirt, and it will kill them if you pot them in potting soil.
Place the orchid in the pot and completely fill with the rest of the medium. Water the plant so that the medium is damp, but the water has gone through to the bottom. Use rainwater that you have collected or filtered water so no harmful chemicals or minerals build up in the medium or plant.
Place the pot over a humidity tray, but don’t allow the bottom of the pot to sit directly in the water. Orchids should be allowed to just about dry out between waterings and if the roots stay wet, they will rot.
Give the orchid the recommended amount of sunlight. With the many varieties of orchids, you will need to ask at the nursery where you purchased the plant, how much sun it needs. Some only need minutes a day, while others require hours of filtered sun.
Keep the window open several hours a day or use a small fan to circulate the air around the orchid. In nature, the orchid is high up in a tree and is used to light winds. This keeps the roots dry and free of mold and other wet plant diseases.
Repot the orchid every other year to keep the plant healthy. Changing the medium can eliminate some disease and/or insect infestation. Sterilize the pot each time you repot.