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Orchid Basics

What Makes an Orchid an Orchid?

To be in the orchid family one must first be a plant, and second have a special flower.  This flower is comprised of a tall skinny stalk that rises to 3 inner petals, 3 outer petals, and a distinctive cupped petal at the bottom.

Orchids are a flower that date back back to the age of the dinosaurs that now have over 35,000 species.

Orchids attract pollinators by scent, mimicry, and stealth.


Orchid Care

Orchids Need 4 things to thrive. Light, Temperature, Water, and Air Movement.

Light is important to orchids.  Most people know that orchids like a good amount of light.  But just like your mother said too much of a good thing is never good.  Orchids will tell you what they need.  If the leaves are too dark they are lacking light, if they are yellow to yellow with a reddish tint they are getting too much.  To resolve this problem  think of how an orchid grows in their natural habitat. They  hang in trees.  They get plenty of light  but it id  filtered by the leaves of the tree . Try to emulate  this in your home.  One way of doing this is to put them in a sunny window but protect them with a sheer curtain.

Orchids are divided into two light requirement sectors, think of them as East and West.

Western Orchids are orchids  that enjoy high light and warmth.  
These orchids thrive in a Southern or Western Window, and they like to dry out between watering. Examples of these orchids are Cattleya, Dendrobium, and Vandas.

Eastern Orchids are those that enjoy moderate to low light and warmth.
These orchids prefer light from the North or the East. If placing these in a Southern or Western facing  window make sure they are protected by a filter from the light, for example a curtain. examples of  these orchids include  Lady slipper,  Phaleanopsis, and oncidiums.


Orchids are one of those plants that loves a tropical climate.  Imagine being in a Jungle, where it is warm during the day and slightly cool at night.  These are the conditions that orchids love in your home.  You can mimic this in the summer by placing your orchid near a AC vent, and in the winter placing your orchid near a single pain window.  

The best way to get an orchid to bloom is to let them get a temperature fluctuation of 10 to 15 degrees, for example going from 62 at night to 72 is fine.  You can get as cool as 55 degrees and as hot as 95 but not for prolonged periods.  

Tips for watering Orchids

Water orchids early in the morning so they can dry out before night time.
For Most orchids water 1 time a week in the winter and 2 times a week in the summer.
Orchids prefer non chlorinated water. Bottled or rain water is preferred.

Air Movement

Orchids like air movement, like that they get in trees, a nice breeze from a window or a ceiling fan help keep the air moving and the chances of your orchid developing a mold or mildew problem low. 

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