Dating back millions of years, orchids are one of the most common house plants out there, and when in bloom, their tropical flowers make for a beautiful accent to any home. But, many people are scared of caring for orchids and think they won’t be able to look after them. Contrary to popular belief, orchids actually don’t need much maintenance. They can be quite particular in their preferences though, so read on to find out our top tips for caring for your orchid plant.
We keep the majority of the plants we sell in store in their plastic nursery pots. This makes it easier to care for them, and orchids in particular like their roots to be compacted and compressed. (You should keep the orchid in its nursery pot wherever possible.) We then sit this nursery pot inside a decorative pot and usually cover it with a layer of moss. The moss does double duty of helping keep the moisture in, as well as hiding whatever is going on underneath for a better aesthetic.
The first thing to note is that orchids hate to be sitting in water. In their natural environment, orchids grow anchored to trees or shrubs in the tropics and subtropics. If you know anything about the climate in these places, you’ll know that warm tropical rainstorms and high humidity are definitely a thing! With that in mind, orchids do like to dry out in between waterings. To make sure yours is ready for a drink, you’re going to want to pull the plant out of its decorative pot and feel the planting material at the very bottom of the plant.
Gently pull at the base of the plant to loosen it from the decorative pot. You don’t even have to remove the decorative moss on top, however, if there are stones, do set those aside. Feel for the drainage hole at the bottom of the plastic grower pot. Is it dry and crusty? (A tiny bit of moisture there is fine, because of course you don’t want it to be dry for an extended period of time.)
Nice and dry? Well then it’s time to water! You can run the base of the plant under the tap, letting the water drain through, or pour from a watering can. Let the water run all the way through, saturating the sphagnum moss. You might need to let the plant sit in water for a few minutes to allow the moss to draw the water up into the root ball. Leave the plant for five minutes or so to fully drain out any excess. You do not want to put the plant back in the decorative pot sitting in water. We recommend a baseline of every 10-14 days if using this method.