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Best Orchids for your Home

Cattleya, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Ludisia, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum, Phaius, Phalaenopsis, Phragmipedium, Zygopetalum

Orchids for Home, Home Orchids, Houseplants, Cattleya, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Ludisia, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum, Phaius, Phalaenopsis, Phragmipedium, Zygopetalum

Orchids belong to one of the two largest plant families (Orchidaceae) which includes about 900 genera and 25,000 species. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica. They are, however, predominantly found in the tropics.

Despite the myth that orchids are fussy and difficult to grow, many orchids are not as delicate as most people think. They can adapt to the temperatures and light conditions found on the average home windowsill and be rewarding indoor plants.

Many orchids are winter bloomers, which makes them even more desirable as houseplants. Orchids are incredibly beautiful. Aside from their beauty, some orchids exude a wonderful fragrance. Their scent can leave an impression greater than the orchid itself. Unlike other houseplants, orchids do not grow in soil. Potting an orchid in the soil is the best way to kill it. Most orchids in the wild are epiphytic – they grow on trees, attaching themselves by thick roots to the sides of the trees or on their branches. They absorb water and nutrients from the air and rain and whatever drips down the tree. They have to survive for weeks, if not months, without rainfall, hoarding water in thick leaves, stems, and roots.

Guide Information

Plant Type Houseplants, Orchids
Genus Cymbidium, Cattleya, Oncidium, Dendrobium, Ludisia, Phaius, Phalaenopsis, Phragmipedium, Zygopetalum, Paphiopedilum

Best Orchids for your Home

Compost

Home orchids are grown in pots filled with chips of bark, stones, tree-fern or some other loosely packed material, which keeps their roots well-aerated and allows water to drain quickly.

Water

Water your orchid thoroughly, usually about once a week, then allow it to dry slightly before watering again. Never let your orchid sit in a water-logged pot.

Temperature

Orchids are usually classified as warm growing, intermediate and cool growing, with regard to their temperature needs. The limits are defined by the minimum night temperatures. Warm-growing orchids, such as Phalaenopsis, require a night minimum of 65-70°F (18-21°C). Intermediate growers, such as Cattleyas, prefer winter nights around 55-65°F (13-18°C). Cool-growing orchids, such as Cymbidiums, are used to winter nights of 50-55°F (10-13°C).
Whatever the temperature range, it is important that there should be a day-lift in temperature of 10°F (5°C). Reducing the home temperature so it will drop at least 10°F (5°C) at night, especially in autumn and winter when many orchids initiate buds, will induce the orchids to set flower buds more readily.

Light

Most orchids require plenty of light, preferably at least six hours a day. Southern- and eastern-facing windows work best for orchids.
The leaf color indicates if the amount of light is adequate. If a plant is grown in too much shade, the leaves become dark green and luxuriant but the plant may be leggy and not bloom. In too bright light, the leaves may scorch, be small and yellow-green. A grassy green color means the plant is receiving sufficient light to bloom.

Fertilizing

To keep your orchid healthy and blooming, apply a weak solution of 20-10-20 fertilizer once a week. Each month, water with plain water to flush out any accumulated fertilizer salts. Dilute the fertilizer to one-quarter the strength recommended on the package. Switch to a blossom-booster fertilizer in the fall, when many orchids are initiating flower buds.

Humidity

Maintain adequate humidity (50%) for most of the year. In the home, placing the plants in a tray of damp pebbles is ideal.

Whether you grow your orchid on your windowsill, or under lights in your basement, here are great types of orchids you might want to try as houseplants. Because these orchids are fairly easy to grow, they are good choices for novice and experienced growers alike.

Discover more beautiful orchids

Plant Finder

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Plant Type Houseplants, Orchids
Genus Cymbidium, Cattleya, Oncidium, Dendrobium, Ludisia, Phaius, Phalaenopsis, Phragmipedium, Zygopetalum, Paphiopedilum

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