Success With Growing Orchids Indoors
Important for the success with indoor orchid care is the right choice.
There are many orchid varieties to choose from and they all have
Depending on their origin they prefer certain temperatures and soil
A Phalaenopsis for examples likes a warm room. They would not be happy in a
cool bedroom. They are more suitable for a warm living room.
Where To Grow Your Orchid
You can grow orchids successfully on a window sill. East or west facing
windows are ideal. On a south facing window you have to shade them with a
or something similar to prevent burning of the leaves. On a north facing
window you might need some additional plant lights.
You can also be growing orchids indoors in conservatories and glass
houses. Important is as well that the temperature is high enough for the
This might need additional heating especially through the winter months.
Ventilation and shading are also a critical points. Pests and disease
to manage in a glass house.
Understanding their needs is critical for success with indoor orchid
care. I have put together some orchid fact that will help you with that.
If the air is too dry you can
put trays with pebbles and water underneath the pots. This will increase the humidity levels around the plants significantly.
Some Interesting Orchid Facts
- Most orchids in cultivation come from tropical and subtropical rain
forests with warm temperatures and high humidity. But you can find
orchids on a
continents but Antarctica.
- The orchid family Orchidacea has the largest variety of flowering
species of all plant families. Together there are more than 100.000
varieties of hybrids and orchid species.
- Some orchid flowers look like an insect. They try to attract the male
insect for pollination. They even imitate the smell of the female
- Vanilla is the only orchid that is grown commercially for food production.
- Orchid seeds are the smallest seeds found amongst flowering plants. It is like fine dust.
Why Orchid Roots Are Different
Orchid roots are different than the roots of most other plants. They are
thicker and sometimes have coat of small hair. Epiphytic orchids have
roots that can assimilate water and nutrients. You can see these
particularly well on a Phalaenopsis. They seem to grow into every
Why Do You Need Special Orchid Soil?
You might have wondered
why orchids need a special compost. You can't just use ordinary
potting soil for these plants because the roots will start rotting in
it. A lot of orchids that are grown as indoor plants are epiphytic.
That means they grow on top of other plants or rocks and don't have
their roots in the soil. Orchid compost is very coarse and allows for
a lot of air near the roots.
have two functions. They have to anchor the plant to a tree or rock and
they have to absorb water and nutrients when they are available. The
roots form a
symbiosis with fungi. These fungi help the plants to absorb nutrients.
The roots are covered with a layer of dead cells that are called
velamen. These cells act like a sponge and absorb water and nutrients
Orchid root only grow for one growing season. They will stop growing
after that but stay fully functional. That means that they can't
regenerate if they
get damaged or when mistakes are made with over watering. You will have
to wait for the next growth period for new roots to grow.
A lot of orchids have pseudobulbs. These bulbs store water and
nutrients. This is very important for the survival of the plant because
water is not
Orchids can successfully be grown in hydroponic systems. You should use a
porous growing medium that allows a lot of air near the roots.
is that you keep the water level on the low to optimum side.
Never fully fill the system up to maximum and only refill the system when the meter shows
minimum. You also have to reduce fertilizer to half for orchids.
The most important varieties for growing orchids indoors are: Phalaenopsis,
Paphiodelium, Cymbidium, Cattleya, Odontoglossum, Oncidium, Miltonia and Laelia.
All Photos by dwittkower
If you are interested in more detailed orchid care check out these great books
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