How to grow orchids

March 13, 2011 11:23:53 AM PDT
You might think orchids are difficult to grow, but there are many varieties that can be successfully grown in conditions similar to those in our homes, with lower humidity and lower light.

They require repotting to give the roots healthy oxygenated bark.

To help you grow beautiful orchids, Jennifer Brennan from Chalet Nursery visited the ABC7 studio with tips. You can learn even more at a free workshop at Chalet.

Free Workshop on Earth-Friendly Gardening and Lawn Care
March 18 and 19
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

3132 Lake Ave.

Popular orchid varieties:

    Phalaenopsis ("Moth Orchids")
  • Warm
  • Medium light
  • Bark mix
  • Heavier feeders
  • Annual potting - plastic in September
  • Easiest to grow without greenhouses

    Paphiopedilum ("Lady Slipper" Orchids)
  • Warm or cool
  • Lower light
  • Plastic pots
  • Annually
  • Light feeding
  • Easier because they are ground dwellers - not as easy to overwater.

    Dendrobium phalaenopsis
  • Warm types
  • Bright light
  • Clay pots
  • Small pots
  • Biannual re-potting
  • A little more difficult because they need brighter light than many homes offer.

    Miltonia ("Pansy Orchid")
  • Intermediate to cool growing
  • Shady
  • Annual to biannual repotting to plastic pots
  • Less fertilizer
  • More difficult but worth it

Orchid Care Tips:

- Give them bright, indirect light for 5-6 hours/ day to support blooming
- Fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer with each watering ? for house-grown orchids, a higher phosphorus level is best
- Use chunk fir bark for the best planting medium
- Increase humidity around the plants ? best is with a table-top humidifier

- Overwater (more than once per week) or allow the pot to stand in water
-Use regular potting mix (too heavy and not enough oxygen for orchid roots)
- Repot when an orchid is in bloom