Table of Contents
Orchids are a great choice for both experienced and novice gardeners alike. Not only are they beautiful and exotic, but they are also relatively easy to care for. If you’re a beginner at growing orchids, you’ve come to the right place.
In this beginner’s guide on how to grow orchids, we’ll cover everything you need to know on how to grow orchids, including their history, fun facts, and specific care requirements. Let’s get started.
Orchids have been around for millions of years, with the first fossilized orchid dating back to the Cretaceous period. They are one of the largest plant families in the world, with over 25,000 different species and over 100,000 hybrids.
Orchids have been revered and admired by cultures around the world for centuries, and they were even used in traditional medicine in ancient Greece and China. Orchids are associated with luxury, refinement, and elegance. They are often given as gifts to express admiration, respect, or congratulations. In the language of flowers, orchids can symbolize love, beauty, and strength.
In Chinese culture, the orchid is one of the Four Gentlemen, which represents the four seasons and the virtues of Confucianism. The orchid represents spring, and its virtue is integrity, and it symbolizes nobility, friendship, and refinement. In Japan, the orchid is a symbol of wealth, power, and nobility, and it is often given as a gift to business associates and politicians.
In general, the orchid is a versatile flower that can symbolize many different things depending on the context in which it is given. In the language of flowers, orchids can symbolize love, beauty, and strength.
Orchids are known for their unique and beautiful flowers, but they also have some interesting characteristics. Let’s have a look.
- It’s said that orchids can mimic the scent of rotting flesh to attract pollinators.
- Orchids can also be found growing in a wide variety of habitats, from tropical rainforests to high mountain ranges.
- Orchids have adapted to grow in a wide range of environments, from rainforests to deserts.
- Orchids have a symbiotic relationship with fungi, which helps them obtain nutrients from the soil.
- Orchids have evolved to have a wide range of pollination strategies, including attracting pollinators with bright colors, strong fragrances, and mimicry of other flowers or insects.
- Some orchids can self-pollinate, which means they don’t need any help from pollinators to reproduce.
- Orchids have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries in traditional medicine.
- The vanilla bean, used to flavor desserts and drinks, comes from a type of orchid called Vanilla planifolia.
- Orchids have been cultivated for centuries and used in many cultures for ornamental and ceremonial purposes.
- Some species of orchids are endangered due to habitat loss and over-collection.
- Orchids have a reputation for being delicate plants, but many species are actually quite hardy and easy to grow with the right care and conditions.
5 Popular Types of Easy–To–Grow Orchids
Here are five of the easiest types of orchids you can grow in your garden.
1. Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)
Moth orchids are a popular and easy-to-grow type of orchid. They’re known for their large, showy flowers that come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, yellow, and red. The flowers typically last for several weeks, making them a great choice for indoor decoration. This orchid is associated with grace, femininity, and elegance.
Phalaenopsis orchids are native to Southeast Asia, and they’re epiphytic plants, which means they grow on other plants instead of in soil. They prefer bright, indirect light and moderate humidity. They also prefer warm temperatures, between 60-85°F, and they should be kept away from cold drafts or windows.
These orchids are relatively easy to care for and are tolerant of a wide range of conditions. They should be watered regularly, but they shouldn’t be left sitting in water. Allow the potting mix to dry out slightly between waterings. Be careful not to over-water, as this can lead to root rot. They should be fertilized regularly with a balanced fertilizer or one high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Phalaenopsis orchids are great for beginners as they are easy to care for, and they can also be propagated by dividing the plant when it becomes overcrowded. They’re also popular for corsages and other floral arrangements. With proper care, these orchids can rebloom multiple times per year, making them a favorite among orchid enthusiasts.
2. Corsage Orchid (Cattleya)
The corsage orchid is a genus of orchids in the family orchidaceae. They’re also known for their large, attractive flowers that come in a variety of colors. The flower of Cattleya is considered a luxury flower and is typically used for corsages, floral arrangements, and as cut flowers. They are also known for their long-lasting blooms that can last for several weeks. Cattleya orchid is often associated with mature charm, elegance, and refinement. It is also a symbol of strength and resilience.
In Victorian times, the corsage orchid was given as a symbol of maturity, refined love, and courtship. In some cultures, the cattleya orchid is also associated with wealth, luxury, and nobility
Cattleya orchids are native to Central and South America, and they are epiphytic. They can be found in the wild growing in areas such as tropical rainforests, cloud forests, and mountain ranges.
They’re great for beginner gardeners. Remember to provide them with bright, indirect light and moderate humidity. They also prefer warm temperatures, between 60-85°F, and remember to keep them from cold windows or doors where there can be a draft.
Regular watering is necessary when the potting mix is dry, but excessive water will damage the plant. Fertilize regularly with a balanced fertilizer or one high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
3. Dancing Lady Orchid (Oncidium)
The dancing lady orchid has flowers that resemble dancing ladies with their small, delicate petals and long, thin sepals, hence the name. They’re native to Central and South America.
This orchid is often associated with cheerfulness, happiness, and joy. In some cultures, this orchid is also associated with sensuality and romance. The bright colors and unique shape of the flowers make it a popular choice for corsages and boutonnieres. The Japanese think the dancing lady orchid is a symbol of good luck and prosperity. It is often given as a gift to express good wishes or congratulations.
They are an easy-to-care-for type of orchid that prefers warm temperatures, between 60-85°F so keep them from the cold. Be mindful of watering to avoid root rot and fertilize with a fertilizer high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
This type of orchid can be propagated by using keikis, which are small plantlets that grow from the base
4. Boat Orchid (Cymbidium)
This orchid is named “Boat Orchid” because of the shape of their flowers are boat-shaped and most times they are used in floating flower arrangements.
It’s often associated with elegance, refinement, and maturity. Its delicate and long-lasting flowers make it a popular choice for formal occasions such as weddings and other celebrations. It’s also associated with wealth, luxury, and nobility and often given as a gift to express admiration, respect, or congratulations. In Japanese culture, the Cymbidium orchid is a symbol of wealth, power, and nobility, and it is often given as a gift to business associates and politicians.
Boat orchids are native to Asia, and they are terrestrial orchids, which means they grow in soil, unlike epiphytic orchids. They can be found in the wild growing in areas such as tropical and subtropical regions, mountain ranges and forests.
They also prefer cool temperatures, between 50-65°F, and water them when the soil is dry. They also prefer a fertilizer rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. With the right care, Boat orchids will bloom year after year.
5. Dendrobium (Dendrobium Orchid)
These orchids are also a gardener’s favorite as they are easy to grow. They can bloom twice a year with flowers lasting up to months. Dendrobium is a genus of orchids that contains over 1,200 species. They are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.
This orchid is often associated with strength, resilience, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Its diverse growth habits and tolerance to various conditions make it a symbol of versatility and flexibility. In Chinese culture, the Dendrobium orchid is a symbol of integrity and friendship, it is often given as a gift to express good wishes and congratulations.
In general, the Dendrobium orchid is a versatile flower that can symbolize many different things depending on the context in which it is given. It is often used to express admiration and respect, as well as to symbolize resilience and adaptability.
Dendrobium orchids are known for their attractive flowers, which can be found in a wide range of colors including white, yellow, pink, and purple. They can be grown as houseplants, but they also make great additions to gardens in warm climates.
They have diverse growth habits, some are epiphytes, lithophytes and some are terrestrial. They are known for their tolerance to a wide range of conditions and can be grown in a variety of settings, including indoor gardens and greenhouses.
What to Consider When Growing Orchids
Orchids can be propagated in a few different ways. One of the most common methods is by dividing the plant when it becomes overcrowded.
You can also propagate orchids by using keikis, which are small plantlets that grow from the base of the mother plant.
Another method of propagation is by using orchid seeds, but this method is not as common as the other two, as orchid seeds are extremely small and need special conditions to germinate.
Orchids are epiphytic, which means they grow on other plants rather than in soil. This means orchids need to be planted in a well-draining potting mix that’s specifically formulated for orchids. This mix should be composed of ingredients such as bark, perlite, and sphagnum moss.
Orchids need to be fertilized regularly to promote healthy growth. A balanced fertilizer or one high in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is recommended.
Fertilize orchids every 2-4 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer.
Orchids need to be watered regularly, but they should not be left sitting in water. Allow the potting mix to dry out slightly between waterings. Be careful not to over-water, as this can lead to root rot.
Most orchids prefer bright, indirect sunlight. They should be placed in a location that receives bright, filtered light during the day. Some orchids prefer more shade, while others prefer more sun. It’s important to know the type of orchid you are planting and if it’s store-bought, then the label should have the care details.
Heat and Temperature Needs
Orchids prefer warm temperatures, between 60-85°F. They do not do well in temperatures below 50°F, so they should be kept away from drafts and cold windows.
Orchids prefer high humidity, between 50-70%. If growing indoors and the humidity in your home is low, you can increase it by using a humidifier or by placing a tray of water near the orchids. If your orchids are outdoors, be mindful of the weather changes and move your orchid accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions About Orchids
Orchids should be watered when the potting mix is almost dry, but not completely dry. Stick your finger into the mix, if it feels dry to the touch, it’s time to water. It’s important to not over-water orchids, as this can cause root rot. Also, it’s recommended to use room temperature water and water the orchid until it runs out the bottom of the pot.
Orchids should be fertilized every 2-4 weeks with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Always follow the package instructions for amount and dilution. It’s best to fertilize when the orchid is in active growth.
Orchids prefer bright, indirect light. They shouldn’t be placed in direct sunlight, as this can cause sunburn and damage to the leaves. Some orchids prefer more light, while others prefer less, so it’s important to research the specific needs of your orchid.
Orchids typically need to be repotted every 1-2 years, or when the potting mix begins to break down and become compacted. Signs that your orchid needs to be repotted include roots growing out of the bottom of the pot, yellowing leaves, and a lack of new growth.
To encourage reblooming, it’s important to provide your orchid with the proper care, including the right amount of light, water, and fertilizer. After the orchid has finished blooming, it’s important to stop fertilizing and reduce watering slightly. Once new growth appears, resume regular care and fertilizing.
A healthy orchid will have firm, green leaves and new growth. The roots should be white and firm, and the potting mix should be moist but not waterlogged. If the leaves are yellowing, the roots are brown or slimy, or there is no new growth, it could be a sign of a problem.
Orchids are a beautiful and exotic addition to any garden. The easy-to-grow varieties of orchids listed in this beginner’s guide on how to grow orchids will be helpful. With the right care and attention, they can thrive and bloom for years to come.
Remember to research the specific needs of your orchid, and to pay attention to things like soil, fertilizer, water, sunlight, heat, and humidity to ensure that your orchids are happy and thriving.
Have a go at some of the easy-to-grow orchids for beginners. With a little effort, you will be rewarded with exquisite orchid blooms in your home and surroundings.