First and foremost, the most important thing you need to know is what type of orchid you have. Without that information, you are simply guessing how to care for it! For help in identifying your orchid, visitEasyOrchidGrowing.com and watch the video titled “Common Types of Orchids.”
That being said, there are basic a few basic steps that will help you keep your orchids sunburn free. While most orchids thrive in bright, indirect sunlight, they are susceptible to sunburn if overexposed. If you’ve ever left an orchid in the midday sun, you know how easily they can burn—and how unsightly the damage can be. Luckily, it’s not that difficult to protect your orchids.
Behind the Curtain
When you bought curtains, you probably focused on home décor, but the strategic use of curtains—and blinds—can improve the chances of keeping your orchid healthy and green. The protective barrier and shading created by curtains provides a filter, supplying your orchids with the healthy dose of the indirect sunlight they crave.
In the Window
Some windows of the home naturally receive less direct sunlight than others. Depending on your location and your home’s orientation, curtains may not be necessary for orchids in north- and east-facing windows. Nevertheless, it's important to monitor the condition of your orchids. Just a touch too much sunlight, and you may start to see wilting, yellow leaves.
On the Move
In some homes, it may not be possible to use curtains and blinds; in others, natural sunlight may be inconsistent. It is best to slowly increase your orchid’s light levels to help prevent burning from too much light too quickly, which could cause sunburn. For example, you might start with your orchid in the center of a room, slowly move it closer to an east-facing window, and then slowly move it to a covered patio. But be careful, just as too much light can cause sunburn, too little can prevent proper blooming.
In the Great Outdoors
Most orchids are native to the rain forest, so they’re most comfortable in a humid, shady habitat. Consider mounting the orchid underneath a nice overhanging tree. The tree’s foliage will filter the sunlight and keep the orchid properly shaded. You can also place orchids beneath an awning or covered porch for shading. Keep in mind, however, that orchids have to be acclimated to their surroundings. A sudden move from your air conditioned den to a 90 degree outdoor location could be shocking. When relocating your plants, always ease them into the new situation gradually and monitor their progress to ensure continued health.
Now you know how to protect your orchids from sunburn! But don’t forget the importance of proper hydration and nourishment. Plants need energy, too, and a soluble plant food like Better-Gro® Orchid Plus® Plant Food can provide a much-needed boost for your orchids year-round.
For more information on orchids or orchid care, visit EasyOrchidGrowing.com.
You’ve waited months and carefully nurtured your orchid. You protected your plant from the cold winter months and fertilized it with care. Like a proud parent, your excitement builds as the first spike begins to shoot out from the base of the plant. You pat yourself on the back when not just one bud forms, but multiple buds form along the spike. The anticipation builds only to end in disappointment as your tender buds shrivel before they reach maturity.
Thrips: Tiny Pests
Sadly, this misfortune can occur with first time orchid owners as well as experienced collectors. One likely culprit is a small insect called Thrips. Thrips commonly attack buds and new growth on many types of orchids including Vandas, Dendrobiums, Cattleyas, Phalaenopsis and Epidendrums.
Almost impossible to see with the naked eye, these tiny hemi-metabolic insects range in size from 1/16 to 3/8 inch and are characteristically cigar-shaped.
They also attack many other types of plants including edibles such as beans, carrots, squash and other flowering plants like gladioli and roses. Despite their tiny size, thrips can ruin your flowering season.
Pest problems do occasionally occur with orchids. Correctly identifying the source of the problem is key to understanding how to treat your orchids and eliminate the pest. In this video, we’ll show you examples of insect problems with orchids and discuss how to remedy the most common problems.
Thrips commonly feed in large groups. Most often, they attack buds and new growth, sucking the moisture out of these fragile parts. Blooms may shrivel and drop before opening.
Flowers that make it to maturity may be spotted, streaked, shriveled or discolored. If you suspect you have thrips, try gently blowing into an open flower and look for tiny green or white insects.
It is important to address thrips quickly. Besides damaging your buds and new growth, they may also help spread viruses throughout your collection due to their ability to quickly travel between plants.
Common Orchid Diseases
Disease problems do occasionally occur with orchids. Correctly identifying the source of the problem is key to understanding how to treat your orchids and eliminate the disease. In this video, we’ll show you examples of disease problems with orchids and discuss how to remedy the most common problems.
What's Wrong With My Orchid?
There are several factors that lead to poor orchid growth. Correctly identifying the source of the problem is key to understanding how to treat each issue and avoid them in the future. Overwatering and under watering are the two most commonly seen problems.
Find Out What Each Pests Does & Eliminate Them
Scale are piercing, sucking insects that are difficult to control as the reproducing females are covered by a protective shell which also protects her eggs.
To remove scale, use a small toothbrush or cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol (known as isopropyl alcohol) to remove the pests. Do not use other forms of alcohol.
Find out More on Scale
Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that are generally pear-shaped and green or black in color. They reproduce rapidly and are most often seen on flower buds/spikes and new growth. They produce honeydew which can encourage the growth of a black fungus known as sooty mold which is often a telltale sign of aphid infestation.
To remove aphids, use a small toothbrush or cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol (known as isopropyl alcohol) to remove the pests. Do not use other forms of alcohol.
Find out More on Aphids
Sometimes confused with scale, mealybugs are a soft-bodied insect that are readily identified at the mature stage as white to greyish-white and cotton-like. They are often found in the same areas as scale and can do substantial damage if not dealt with immediately.
To remove mealybugs, use a small toothbrush or cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol (known as isopropyl alcohol) to remove the pests. Do not use other forms of alcohol.
Find out More about Mealybugs
These are very small, elongated insects that are most prevalent on flowers and buds. Often, their presence is not recognized until the damage from their feeding is obvious. Their sucking of plant juices can cause deforming of buds, flowers, and new growth as well as browning on the margins of flowers
To get rid of thrips, purchase a pesticide. However, the plant should be inspected again every week and the procedure repeated until no infestation is visible. Two repeat applications at weekly intervals are necessary to control successive generations.
Find out More About Thrips
Mites are microscopic, and their presence is often not known until the damage is very evident. They often attack the undersides of leaves leaving areas that look slivery and pitted.
To get rid of mites, it is important to note that mites are not insects! So, most insecticides are not effective against mites. You must purchase a pesticide that is specifically labeled as a miticidefor use against this pest. For small infestations in the home, wiping the infested areas with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol can be effective.
Find Out More About Mites
Grasshoppers, especially Lubbers, can do significant damage to your orchid in a very short period of time. Lubbers are usually 1” to 3” long and can vary in color from yellow to black depending on the Lubber species and stage of growth.
These are best controlled immediately by hand, pruners or shoe/boot.
To find out more about your Common Orchid Pests please click on the above links or you can clickhere. We hope you found this informational and check back next week when we discover why many orchids may contract certain diseases.
The Orchids Bare Necessities
Yes, Orchids have needs too; just like we do. Following these Simple Tips for Growing Orchids, can help keep your orchids living longer.
WATERTwo ways to test whether a plant needs water:
1. Push your finger along the inside of the pot. If potting material is moist and cool, there is enough water. If not, it needs water.
2. Learn the weight of your potted orchid. Pick up the pot. If it is light the plant usually needs water; if heavy, hold off on watering at that particular time.
AIR and VENTILATION:
Most orchids are "Air plants" or Epiphyte and have some miraculous mechanism for absorbing food from the air. Like other plants orchids extract from the air the primary building block- carbon dioxide.
It is best to let your potted orchids sit a few inches apart to take full advantage of the natural air circulation.
If stagnant air is, or becomes a problem, place a fan where it will not blow directly on the plant, but will circulate the air in the general area.
Sunlight and Warmth
Good quality light is important to the growth of an orchid. However, protect your plants from direct sunlight during the middle part of the day and during the summer when light and heat are both greater.
Perfect growth balance for orchids is determined between the plant, the light it receives, the nutrients it absorbs and the temperature of air in which it is kept.
Orchids grow best at 60 and 85 degrees F. In other words, grow orchids in temperatures in which you, yourself, are comfortable.
Cold slows down growth and the leaves become brittle and consistently high temperatures can cause rapid, weak, immature growth.
We think this Orchid took our words a bit too far! We were thinking more of a place like inside a covered patio, under a deck sheltered from the mid-day sun or summer heat, and inside your home by a nice open window perhaps? Not directly outside on the beach, under the hot beating rays of the sun!
There are over 30,000 orchid species in the world, but here we will bring you the general household orchid genus groups and give you a bit of detail about each.
The process of classification is selecting outstanding similarities and placing into tribes. Differing tribes are divided in genera (pl.), and genus(sgl.). The last division is known as species.
The genus is capitalized and the species is lower case.
For example: Cattleya Walkeriana (as shown left) These can become quiet different in color that a varietal name will be added such as: Walkeriana Semi Alba 'Carmela' Cattleya.
Tribe- The classification of plants forming a subdivision of an order and containing a number of genera.
Genus- A group of related plants consisting of one or more species possessing certain common structural characteristics distinct from those of any other group.
Species- Plants ranking below a genus that have permanent characteristics in common.
What Kind of Orchid do I Have?
What Kind of Orchid Do I Have?
The Phalaenopsis has become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to its suitability as a house plant.
Temperature: 65° – 90° F days, 55° – 70° F nights
Water: Keep evenly moist, avoid wet foliage
Light: Moderate light, 70 – 80% shade, no direct sun
Humidity: 50 – 75%
Feed: Twice a month
Read More on Phalaenopsis orchids
Paphs are often overlooked because they do not look as much like a flower that you would see in a cut flower arrangement. Paphs are a great conversation piece and get the name “Lady Slipper” because of their unique, pouch-like bloom that resembles a lady’s slipper.
Temperature: Warm temperatures in general
Water: Should be almost dry between watering
Light: Shaded mostly (70 – 80%); they do very well indoors
Humidity: 40 – 75%
Food: Better-Gro Orchid Plus twice a month weakly – half the strength that you would use on other orchids
Read more on Paphiopedilum Orchids
When the average person thinks of an orchid, they think of a Cattleya. The “Queen of Orchids” has always been popular and is often the first orchid an individual experiences in the form of a corsage.
Temperature: 70° – 85° F days, 55° – 65° F nights
Water: Should be almost dry between watering
Light: Bright filtered light, 35 – 50% shade
Humidity: 40 – 75%
Food: Twice a month
Read More About Cattleya Orchids
The name Vanda will be used here to cover all Vandaceous orchids including Vanda, Ascocentum, Aerides, Renanthera, Rhynchostylis, etc. and the hybrids between them.
Temperature : 70° – 95° F days, 60° – 70° F nights
Water : Water often but allow to dry out between watering.
Light : 25 – 35% bright filtered light
Humidity : 70 – 90%
Feed : Once a week during growing season, less in winter.
Read More on Vanda Orchids
Commonly known as “Dancing Ladies”, the broad flat lip of Oncidiums does indeed give the illusion of a ruffled lady’s skirt. There are several different sections to the Oncidium family as well as numerous closely-related families which can be used to create Oncidium intergenerics such as Colmanara, Miltassia, Burregeara and Aliceara.
Temperature: 70° – 85° F days, 50° – 65° F nights
Water: Allow to dry between watering
Light: Bright filtered light, 35 – 65% shade
Humidity: 40 – 75%
Food: Twice a month
Read more about Oncidium Orchids
Dendrobium is one of the largest families of orchids with somewhere around 1000 species being known. Being such a large family creates much diversity. There are some Dendrobiums that are very large as well as some miniatures.
Temperature: 70° – 90° F days, 45° – 65° F nights
Water: Keep almost moist, drier in winter
Light: 25 – 50% shade, brighter in winter
Humidity: 50 – 75%
Food: Twice a month, less in winter
Read More about Dendrobium Orchids
Identifying the Most Common Orchids
Not sure what type of orchid you have? Watch this video to learn about the three most common orchid varieties and how to identify each of them.
What's Wrong With My Orchid?
This Video will teach you the right air movement and proper light levels you need in order to make sure your orchid has a safe and happy life.
Re-Potting Your Orchid
Potting is one of the most important operations in successful orchid growing. While orchids can be repotted anytime during the year, the best time to repot Orchids, particularly Cattleyas, is immediately after blooming and immediately before new roots and growth begins.
Do not over pot, as plant usually stays too wet. Divide plant behind forth pseudobulb and trim dead roots at bottom of base- leaving as many live white roots as possible. A good rule of thumb is to never divide a plant of less than six strong bulbs.
Read More on Re-Potting Your Orchid
How to Choose a Potting Media
The potting media you use should be based on the moisture needs of the particular orchid you are repotting. For instance Phalaenopsis orchids like a potting media which holds a bit more moisture than Cattleyas or Dendrobiums. As an example, let’s look at a couple of different orchid potting mixes from Better-Gro®.
Better-Gro® Special Orchid® Mix is an airy, quick-draining mix that is ideal for those orchids that like the media to dry quickly between watering. This media is ideal for most epiphytic orchids such as Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Oncidiums, etc.
Better-Gro® Phalaenopsis Mix is designed to drain well but holds moisture a little longer to meet the needs of Phalaenopsis orchids, which prefer a more constant level of moisture.
Many orchids can also be planted directly into a high grade sphagnum moss, such as Better-Gro® Orchid Moss.
More tips of choosing potting media for your Orchids
The beautiful flowers of your carefully tendered orchid gave you seemingly endless days of delight and have finally faded and dropped off. Now what?
Don’t worry; you’re orchid is not dead. In time, your orchid will re-bloom and give you more beautiful flowers.
Most orchids will not re-flower on an old spike (flowering stem) so once the flowers have faded, you will have to wait for a completely new spike to emerge again. The old, spent spikes are somewhat unattractive and will eventually need to be removed. It is always best to wait for the spike to dry out completely (turn brown) before you cut it off, as cutting a green spike with dirty tools can spread various fungal, bacterial and viral infections. Whenever you do need to cut an old, green flower spike (or any other plant part for that matter) always use a clean cutting utensil and cut the spike at the base, as close to the soil as possible. Cutting utensils may be sterilized by flame or by soaking them in a 10% bleach solution for at least 10 minutes.
A few groups of orchids, like Phalaenopsis, have little knubs along the spike that are actually dormant buds (can form either new plants or spikes) and may re-flower on the same spike with some coaxing. This is only recommended for plants that are in very healthy growth as the flowering process does use quite a bit of the plant’s available energy. If you have a very healthy Phalaenopsis whose flowers have faded on the main spike and the spike is still green, try cutting the spike back about 2” above the third node from the base of the spike (that is, start at the base of the spike, count three nodes up and cut about 2” above this node). This does not guarantee that a new spike will form but it is your best bet at extending the bloom time of your precious orchid.
Remember, using sanitary techniques when handling and caring for your orchids will go a long way to keep them healthy and disease free.
For more orchid care tips, visit www.EasyOrchidGrowing.com. Happy Blooming!