How to Grow Orchids At Home
Many orchids are tough, durable plants that will bloom year after year on a windowsill. These sturdy beauties only look fragile!
Before you buy an orchid, think about where you plan to put it. Different species do best at specific light levels and temperature ranges. You’ll get the best bloom if you match the plant to place. Here are the best windowsill orchids and their preferred conditions.
Paphiopedilums: need low to medium light (an east or west-facing window) and temperatures between 55° and 75°F. Exotic relatives of our familiar lady-slippers.
Equitant oncidiums (Tolumnea): need the same conditions as cattleyas. Very compact growers. The “butterfly” orchid.
There are two other points to consider when buying orchids. First, although orchids bloom for a long time (sometimes months), when they’re not in bloom, they’re foliage plants. Some paphiopedilums and phalaenopsis have beautifully patterned foliage that makes them beautiful even when not in bloom. Second, orchids can take years to reach blooming size. When you buy a plant, specify “blooming size” to make sure it will flower the first year.
Popular Species For Growing Orchids At Home
One of the most diverse species of plants is the orchid. This beautiful flower has long been admired and cultivated, however recent years have shown a surge in the popularity of growing orchids at home. When many people think of tropical plants, they imagine locations such as Hawaii and the rainforest. While there are many species of orchids that are native to tropical locations, even areas such as northern Europe and North America have indigenous species of orchids.
This flower boasts over 25,000 different species worldwide, which can make choosing a flower to raise at home a daunting task. There are several particular species that are most popular for growing orchids at home.
Cymbidiums are one of the most popular species for gardeners who want to try growing orchids at home. These voluptuous plants can grow to heights of up to three or four feet. If these flowers are properly tended to, they bloom annually. Cymbidiums come in a multitude of colours including hues of pink, white, burgundy, green, and yellow.
By keeping the plant moist and at a moderately cool temperature, the blooms will hold on to the plant for a month or two. Growing orchids at home allow you and your guests to enjoy these beautiful blooms for their entire life cycle. They also make wonderful additions to corsages, bouquets, and centerpieces. For gardeners growing orchids at home, cymbidiums are definitely one of the most popular choices.
Phalaenopsis Orchid Plants
Phalaenopsis: need low to medium light and temperatures between 70° and 80°F. The “moth orchid.”
The Phalaenosis, also known as the Multiflora Phalaenosis has a simple beauty that stuns many. Growing orchids at home can produce a range of blooms in colors such as purple, white, and pink. These blooms are as hardy as those of the Cymbidium and can stay on the plant for up to two months if kept in the proper conditions.
While the Phalaenosis produces smaller flowers than many other species of orchid, a single spike can hold more than two dozen blooms which definitely makes up for it. When an orchid enthusiast chooses Phalaenopsis for growing orchids at home, they are sure to enjoy the beauty that the plant brings to their house or garden.
Oncidium Orchid Plants
The third popular option for growing orchids at home is the Oncidium orchid, which is often referred to as the dancing ladies. These blooms earned their name because they can resemble a society woman dancing in her regal clothing. Color choices for Oncidium orchids range widely, and the colors combine so that practically every plant is unique.
The blooms range in size from a ¾ inch to nearly 1.5 inches, and each stem has multiple flowers. If properly located in a warm, sunlight spot, the blooms will maintain for six weeks. When growing orchids at home, try to group several of these plants together to maximize the impact of their beautiful, dancing flowers.
Planting and Caring of Orchid Houses
Orchids have been in existence since the time of the dinosaurs, but since the 1800s they have been popularly sought after for their beauty, elegance, and vibrant colours. Countless people have spent their lifetimes trying to grow and breed the most perfect orchids.
Competitions regularly take place which showcases these beautiful, tropical flowers and the people who love to grow them. Greenhouses, or orchid houses, can help the orchid enthusiast create the perfect environment for an orchid to grow.
Since these plants frequently grow in tropical locations, many people think that they need heat to thrive. However, they often grow in shady locations and prefer a humid, consistent environment. Orchid houses can provide this stability.
Whether you choose to grow the flowers in your home or in orchid houses, there are plenty of varieties of orchids to choose from. However, not all species of orchids are suitable for home growth. Much of the beauty of wild orchids comes from the location that they naturally grow in, which often cannot be replicated in orchid houses.
The History Of Orchid Houses
While their popularity has been a phenomenon of the last two centuries, fossil evidence does demonstrate that the orchid is one of the oldest flowering plants still in existence. Their beauty is interwoven with nature, as they often grow in a symbiotic relationship with other plants and trees. Orchid houses are a relatively new invention, as technology has allowed the greenhouses to become more and more practical and controllable.
When orchids began to become popular, in the southern United States there was an orchid society that flourished in many towns located near the Gulf of Mexico. These were small, poor communities and yet they took great pleasure from the simple beauty of the orchid. Many of the growers were African-American.
These societies often grew their plants in early orchid houses, which stretched from Homer to Gulfport. One of the most beautiful parts of the orchid is the care is taken by the grower to help it thrive.
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The turmoil and racial violence of the 1960s destroyed nearly all of these early orchid houses, and the catastrophic tropical storms of the early 21st century almost finished the job. Rumours indicated that one of these orchid houses still remained, and in truth it does. With all the things that could have wiped it out, there is one greenhouse left. It is owned and maintained by a man who is nearly 90 years old. He lives with his family in the coastal swampland of the deep south.
This man frequently visits the communities of the south which are recovering from natural disasters. He recalls the types of plants that have been grown over the years and reminisces about the community of orchids and orchid houses that once ranged across the Gulf. The history of these amazing flowers still lives on and will continue to do so as long as there are people willing to care for them.
How to Take Care Of Orchids
Taking care of orchids is both a popular hobby and for many a thriving business. Orchids are now found naturally on all continents except for Antarctica, hence there are specialists all over the world taking care of orchids. The florist market alone consumes millions of blooms daily, this is a demand which needs to be met by the growers and they cannot afford to have irregular supplies as they will lose costume, hence the extensive expertise of those taking care of the orchids.
Businesses that specialize in growing orchids need to have a very carefully defined and researched target market. The people taking care of the orchids need to have the correct experience; different expertise will be needed for mass-producing a single type of orchid, to breeding and specializing in the rarer and more exotic species of orchid.
The average hobbyist who wants to try his hand at taking care of orchids needs to understand some of the basics. The wide range of orchids and the fact that they now occur naturally in such a vast range of climates means that there are species that can be grown in your living room.
The best place for taking care of orchids is in a purpose-built greenhouse; the downside to this is that they will not be there to decorate your home. If you want to have the plants indoors you will need to understand some of the biologies of orchids before you can successfully start taking care of orchids. Orchids need moisture; most orchids grow naturally in areas with high humidity.
In cooler climates we warm our homes with heating, this can lead to a very dry atmosphere and the orchid will not be able to get the moisture it needs from the air. To resolve this issue you can place a bowl of water near the orchid and then when it gets warm the water will evaporate and create a suitable environment for your orchid.
The novice orchid grower needs to take care of more than just the moisture levels of the orchid, they must also take care of the roots and make sure that they have the correct environment.
Many of the orchid species use their roots to hold onto either a tree or rock. If the orchid is used to holding onto a tree it may be gaining nutrients from the tree as well as Anchorage, therefore you will need to supply a suitable branch for this possibility with the correct moss growing on it.
Taking care of orchids should be easy as once you have set the environment and your orchid is flourishing, you just have to keep everything consistent. However, if you are using the light from a window to stimulate your orchid, then you must remember to reconsider the positioning as the seasons change.
Your orchid may be happy directly in the milder winter sunlight, but may struggle in the stronger summer sunlight! Equally winter drafts could destroy your efforts of taking care of orchids in the summer in just one chilly night!
When you are buying your first orchids it is best to go to a nursery where they have a large selection and where there is the staff who will advise you of the basic information on taking care of orchids. After you have chosen a species, you then need to research the original climate and the biology of the orchid and its chosen environment. With this information, you should be successful at taking care of orchids.
Care Of House Orchids: Pest Control
One of the most beautiful flowers, treasured by horticulturalists everywhere, is the orchid. Taking care of house orchids has become a competitive event. These flowers are most often found in tropical and sub-tropical areas, including parts of Asia, Central and South America, and Africa. There are some varieties that are exceptions to the rule.
Most species of orchid have aerial roots, and they often grow attached to trees in their natural habitat. care of house orchids can be intimidating, but they are really simple plants to maintain.
Types Of Pests
However, there are many types of orchid pests that are ready to ruin the effort you have put into taking care of house orchids. The most common varieties are aphids, mealybugs, mites, centipedes, slugs, snails, and whiteflies.
Which pests infest your plant depends on the area in which you live and the variety of orchids that you are growing. Taking care of house orchids properly depends on knowing how to eliminate these pests from your plant.
Aphids damage the plant by sucking phloem fluid off the plant. They bite into the plant itself, and this dead tissue turns yellow and decays. Mealybugs, which are generally white or pink, also feed on the orchids. These can be difficult pests to remove, so taking care of house orchids requires that you give them immediate attention. Never wait to clear up an infestation or it may get worse.
If you see a white insect that looks like a scale, these bugs are commonly known as scale insects. As they feed off the orchid, they will grow larger and harder. The male scale insects are actually winged insects that breed with these scaly females.
Taking care of a house orchid also demands that you eliminate mites. The most common type of mite is the spider mite, which are tiny insects that form a spider-like webbing on the plant.
Millipedes and centipedes attack the roots of a plant. They are particularly harmful to plants, and centipedes can also sting humans who are taking care of orchids. Snails and slugs have a similar attack on orchids by eating them. Whiteflies rank with aphids and spider mites as the most irritating form of orchid pests.
There are plenty of natural solutions to taking care of orchids and eliminating pests. The simplest way is to procure an enemy of the pest and release it. For instance, instead of an insecticide, you can purchase ladybugs to eliminate aphids. Most pests have a natural predator that can help you eliminate them, so long as you take care to not let the predator become a problem as well. However, large infestations of certain pests may require the use of an insecticide when taking care of orchids.
When taking care of a house orchid, make sure to purchase the most natural, environmentally friendly insecticide. These safe bug killers will help protect your plant and the world. You can also try certain barriers and nettings to block the orchids from pests.