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5 Most Common Mistake People Make When Growing Orchids

Apr 19, 2008
Most people can't get growing orchids right and end up killing them without knowing why. There are 5 common reasons why this happens.

1. You Over-water them

This is the number one killer of household orchids. If an orchid plant gets "soggy" from too much water, its roots will quickly start to rot. Orchids should be planted in a way that the water can freely flow away from the roots. They should never be left sitting in water. It will hurt your orchid less if you don't water it enough than if you water it too much. In general, an orchid will not need watering more than twice a week.

2. You Plant them in Potting Soil

Orchids grow on trees (for this they are called epiphytes). They do not grow in the ground (with a few rare exceptions). Therefore, an orchid will never appreciate being planted with soil. Orchids grow better when placed in bark or moss or some other substance with simulates the experience of growing on a tree. You can even simply mount an orchid plant on a piece of wood without ever putting it in a pot and it will thrive! This is because orchids don't absorb their nutrients from the tree or medium they grow in, but rather the air around them. The only purpose of the growing medium (bark or moss) is to help the plant be stable and not fall over.

3. You Place them in Insufficient Light

It is difficult to find the right spot for your orchid inside your house. Most areas of the home lack the necessary lighting for an orchid to thrive and bloom. The best kind of light for an orchid to grow in is indirect sunlight. This means sunlight that is filtered through a window or sheer curtain (or canopy of leaves, as in their natural habitat). Too much direct light will "burn" the foliage. But some rays of sunlight do need to come in contact with the orchid daily: so it will need to be placed in a bright, but not too hot area of your home.

4. You Forget they Need Wind

Orchids grow way up high in trees when found in nature. This means that they are used to being exposed to a lot of breezy air movement. The air circulation helps the orchid to stay free from disease, pest infestations and rotting. Keep your orchid plant near a breezy window or near a fan and it is more likely to stay happy and healthy.

5. You Let the Air Get Dry

Orchids absorb a lot of the moisture they need from the air. This means they need to be in very humid conditions in order to thrive. In nature, orchids usually grow in tropical rainforests. The humidity there is between 60% and 90%. Humidity inside a house is usually between 5% and 30%. Using air conditioners, stoves and heaters reduces the humidity in our houses and makes it difficult for the orchid to obtain the necessary moisture. You can remedy this by placing the orchid in a bathroom or near trays filled with water. As the water evaporates, it provides the orchid with humidity.

Growing orchids can be challenging and very rewarding. Learn more about the conditions and materials needed and happy growing!
About the Author
Learn how to take care of orchids and your other house plants and make them thrive at LivingHousePlants.com.
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