I recently gave a friend a tiny potted orchid to brighten her craft room, partly because she has admired my own orchids but also because she has always sworn she can’t keep a plant alive and I know she can totally handle this one. Orchids are really very easy houseplants, however exotic and intimidating they might seem. Find them a spot they like, water and feed once per week–easy! Most orchids like bright, indirect light. I have one on a windowsill facing east that gets a bit of bright morning sun and indirect light the rest of the day, which has been just right for it.
Plants add great texture and interest to your decor, and orchids are a fun way to add a little something unusual, too. There are thousands of varieties, offering flowers in many different colors, sizes and shapes. They are low-maintenance but look super fancy, and you can get them inexpensively if you know where to go. (Hello, IKEA! Their orchids are a steal! You can also try your local grocery store, but they are usually a bit more expensive than IKEA.)
All of the orchids in my house are phalaenopsis, but I’ve heard that dendrobiums make good, easy-care houseplants, too. I love mine because they produce great blooms that last several months without much effort from me. That’s my kind of houseplant.
Orchids are a bit unusual in that they don’t grow in typical potting soil. Their roots need air to circulate around them. Orchid potting medium gives them the nutrients they require while letting the roots breathe and anchor the plant as needed. You can buy special orchid pots which give them even more ventilation around the roots, but I haven’t found it necessary. Give them a container with good drainage and water only when they get dry (about once a week), and you should have very happy orchids.
The plant in my craft room really needed a bigger pot, so one day I grabbed a reusable plastic drink cup we’d gotten as a giveaway, cut some slits in it with a little knife and punched holes in the bottom. I put the orchid in it with a bit of new orchid potting medium and skipped a trip to my local garden center for a new container. Yay, upcycling!
Now, like all living things, orchids need to rest. They will go into a sort of a dormant period, during which they don’t bloom. This is normal. They still need to be watered, and they may grow new leaves, but they aren’t going to do a whole lot. Many people worry that there is something wrong when this happens. Just be patient, and when they are ready, they will surprise you with a whole new show of flowers.
Because they are so easy to care for, not to mention gorgeous (and often inexpensive), orchids make great gifts. Tie some pretty ribbon around the pot and give it to your recipient with an orchid food spray (I like this one from Miracle-Gro, which is easy to find) and some basic care instructions. Charming and unique!
There are tons of resources online for growing orchids at home, if you’d like to read more about them. Here’s a good one to start with. You can even download some great growing guides for free that will answer a lot of the questions you may have.
I’m an absolute beginner with orchids, but I’ve had great success with them. You can, too.
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