Welcome to our guide to how to care for an orchid indoors, in the following article we run down their care and propagation needs so you know how to get the best out of them…
How To Care For An Orchid Indoors – Summary
|Light needs:||Plenty of bright but indirect sunlight.|
|Watering needs:||Water it if the top 40% of potting mix is dry.|
|Fertilizer:||A well diluted balanced feed once a week.|
|Soil:||A dedicated orchid mix.|
|Where to buy:||Your local plant shop or florist.|
|Common issues:||Root rot from overwatering, lack of humidity.|
Orchids need no introduction, their beautiful flowers can be seen the world over. They have some peculiar care needs compared to other plants, but are still easy enough to maintain, propagate and bloom…
See also: Jewel Orchid Macodes Petola.
Orchids do best with plenty of bright but indirect sunlight. They need plenty of light to bloom, but may burn in direct sunlight.
How To Care For An Orchid Indoors – Watering
Orchids like to be kept moist but do not like the be overwatered. The best way to water an orchid is to check it once a week in winter and twice in spring and summer and water it if the top 40% of soil is dry. Make sure the excess water can drain off after you’ve watered it.
How To Rebloom Orchids
You can encourage a orchid to bloom again by following these steps:
- Cut the old spike off, but not completely, try to find a node on the spike and then cut above it, this encourages the plant to put out new flowers from that node.
- Give it colder temperatures for a month or so can also encourage it to flower, like 14-18°C (57-65°F).
- It can take few months for the orchid to bloom again, so be patient! You can fertilize it during this period too.
How To Propagate An Orchid
You can propagate an orchid by separation at the base. A very easy method as you remove the pot and growing medium and then divide up the plants and then pot them up separately.
Another way is from stem cuttings. Cut so you need at least one node, then plant it up in a cup of wet sphagnum moss. You can use sections of the stem that have no leaves, all you need is a node and about half and inch or a cm either side, and bury in moist sphagnum. If your cutting has leaves then you can bury the node under the moss and make sure the leaves are above the moss so they do not rot.
If you have a small baby orchid already growing from the node while it is on the plant then it makes it a lot easier as it is already fully rooted. Just remove it and pot it up. This baby orchid is called a ‘keiki’, we’ll go into more detail on these below…
What Is An Orchid Keiki?
This is a baby orchid ‘pup’ that develops attached to the mother plant. The name is from the Hawaiian word for child. They grow on the flower stem.
What To Do With Orchid Keiki?
You can cut off the keiki and and plant it as a cutting. It is a good idea to do this for two reasons, firstly you get a nice new orchid plant, and secondly if you leave it on the plant it can drain the mother plant resources causing it to flower less.
What Is Orchid Keiki Paste?
Kiki paste is a liquid you can buy to put on your orchids to encourage a new plant (keiki) to grow from the node. This way you get a (rooted) baby plant growing up the stem to remove and plant up.
The easiest way is to feed your orchids weekly a balanced fertilizer but make sure it is really diluted.
Orchids need a combination of moss, perlite, and bark. With bark making up the majority of the potting medium. They like to be really well draining and the roots need more air than normal houseplants, so get a dedicated orchid mix when starting out with orchids.
How To Make Orchid Soil
You can mix your own orchid soil, a good mix is 60% Douglas fir bark, 20% Sphagnum moss and 20% perlite.
When To Repot An Orchid
The best time to repot an orchid is once it has flowered. It is good to do this once a year, or two at least to refresh the medium, even if you keep the pot the same size. You can use the chance to cut off some of the older roots if they have browned.
50%-70% humidity is ideal for orchids. This is at the high end and over of most households, so when the air is dry you can use a pebble tray under the plant to increase moisture in the air.
18-27°C (65-80°F) is a good temperature range for your orchids, so they’ll do well in most homes.
Where To Buy
Support your local florist or garden center, you can find these beautiful plants everywhere!
Pro tip (!): Orchids bloom once a year, but different plants can flower at different times. You can use this to your advantage as they are often in flowering when sold, so you know the time of year they will flower, which means if you buy a few plants a couple of months apart you can ensure you get blooms all year round.
Orchids Indoor: FAQs and Common Problems
Root rot from overwatering is a real issue, which can show as drooping. Make sure you only water it if is almost dry.
Humidity related issues are common, so keep an eye out for fungal infections on the flowers and leaves.