It’s true that many people love the beauty and elegance of orchids but also many people are scared to grow their own orchid plant.
While this houseplant is not easily killed off, getting it to bloom can be a struggle for many.
Worry no more as houseplant Expert and product manager at Baby Bio Kate Lindley has shared a few common mistakes to avoid that will help owners with the success of their orchids with Express.co.uk.
Not repotting when needed
Orchids should be re-potted every year so that they can continue to “bloom and flourish”, however many leave them in the same pot for years.
If roots appear tight and tangled or you spot white roots growing out of the container, it may be time to repot.
Another sign an orchid might need repotting is if its roots are beginning to rot, or appear soft and brown, as this could be a sign that the compost is no longer draining effectively.
Kate advised: “When repotting, make sure you use a clean, sharp pair of scissors as orchids are susceptible to disease, so it’s important to make sure your tools are sterilised.”
Over or underwatering
Orchids are very susceptible to root rot, so they “will eventually die” if they are allowed to sit in a wet potting mix.
Likewise, roots may shrivel and dry out if conditions are too dry. To prevent over or underwatering, always check the dampness of the compost first to ensure it actually needs a drink.
The expert explained: “Ideally, you’ll want to water it when the potting mix is almost dry, but not completely dry.”
You can also mist your orchid lightly to increase humidity, but be careful you don’t soak the leaves or leave them damp as this can lead to mould, fungus, and leaf rot.
Not enough sunlight
Like all plants, sunlight is “essential to allow your orchid to convert light into energy”, and in turn produce an orchid’s beautiful blooms.
Most orchids thrive in bright but indirect sunlight, so east or west-facing windowsills are ideal for most of the year.
However, Kate warned that if you give your orchid too much sunlight, you may “scorch the delicate blooms”, and likewise, if you don’t give it enough sunlight, it “simply won’t produce beautiful blooms and thrive”.
There are some varieties which prefer full sun, such as Vanda orchids, so ensure you always check the plant’s requirements before choosing the perfect spot for it.
Not using the correct compost
In their natural habitat, orchids are mainly either epiphytic (they grow on trees), or lithophytic (they grow on rocks). Most orchids therefore naturally grow high up in the rainforest treetops on rough bark rather than on the ground in soil.
As such, orchid owners should try to mimic this environment and always pot these plants in specific bark-based orchid compost which promotes aeration to the roots and drainage to “prevent the plant becoming waterlogged”.