You have probably heard it said that orchids are hard to grow. Maybe you have even had an orchid die while in your care. It can be very frustrating. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be as difficult as everyone says it is! I’ve boiled my orchid care down to three main areas: potting medium, watering, and sunlight. If you can get these three areas on lockdown, then you can care for your orchid!
The best potting medium for an orchid is bark, since it can hold a little water, but is also loose enough that the roots can breath (which they like.) My first orchid died because it had moss packed too tightly around its roots so it was never able to dry out. The roots literally rotted away. I learned to replant any moss bound orchids as soon as they were done flowering. You can find orchid repotting mix at any home garden center, I’ve included a link to the equivalent I found on Amazon.
Watering can also be another concerning thing in orchid care. I’ve found a really simple way to do it once the orchid is potted in bark. Once a week, bring your orchid to the sink and run water over the bark. I usually let the water start to fill the pot before I set it aside. Be careful not to let any water sit in the base of the leaves; this will also rot your orchid. Use the corner of a paper towel to mop up any extra water. Then you let orchids drain before putting them back.
If your orchid is still in moss, I would use the ice chip method. Put enough ice cubes to cover the surface of the moss and let them melt. This means less water is being introduced to your orchid, so it has more of a chance of drying out between waterings. I wouldn’t use this for orchids in bark because the water won’t penetrate down to the lowest roots.
Orchids are finicky with light. They like a lot of sunlight, but if they spend a ton of time in direct sunlight, they will get sunburns (yes, plants can get sunburnt.) The key is to find a place where it’s bright a lot of the time, but the direct sunlight is low. In my current house, I have the orchids on my desk in a window that gets a lot of light in the morning, but because of trees, doesn’t get much of it directly. Look around your house for a window that gets light for hours a time, if anything, you can put up a sheer curtain to offset the light.
Once I figured these three areas out, I started collecting more orchids. I have five in my care right now that are all happy! Of course, that wasn’t without trial and error (I’ve also killed two orchids to learn these tricks.) If you have any questions about caring for your orchids, please ask them! I have a Pinterest board dedicated to plants if you want to check that out. Happy growing!