How to care for orchids indoors might be one of the first questions that new or future orchid owners ask themselves. If you are confused by the number of answers that can be found on the Internet, there’s a good reason for that: simply, there are more than 100k orchid species that offer great diversity not just in the matter of their look, but also when it comes to care requirements.
What Does Care For Orchids Indoors Involve
Indoor orchid care involves providing the right amount of sun, temperature, moisture, and water to ensure that the plant thrives. The right amount means not too little, nor too much of any of these four basic factors.
– Indoor Orchids Sunlight Needs
Sunlight is essential for orchids to grow, but in most cases, they require filtered or diffused light. Direct sunlight can damage the leaves and flowers. Sunburn on orchids can occur when the plant is exposed to too much direct sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day.
If you want to keep your orchids on the window, it’s very important to determine to which side of the world your window looks. North, or North-East windows are ideal, as they provide enough light, but very short to no exposure to direct sunlight.
Eastern or West-oriented windows can be good, but be aware that the timing of direct exposure to the sun depends on the season, so winter and summer are different. This means that you should keep an eye on your flower pet and react if you notice some “discomfort” it shows.
South-oriented windows can be tricky, as the sun peeks through the glass almost the whole day, so it’s best to avoid this side. But, in case the South is your only option, you can still enjoy these magnificent plants; provide shade with adequate curtains, and expose your orchids to direct sun occasionally, during morning or late afternoon, to prevent them from getting sunburns.
To Much Sun
Too much sun can cause the leaves to turn yellow or brown, and the plant may even wilt. If you want to prevent sunburn, it’s important to gradually acclimate your orchid to higher levels of sunlight over time, rather than exposing it to too much too quickly. You can also provide shade for your orchid during the hottest parts of the day, or move it to a location with indirect sunlight.
Lack Of Sunlight
On the other hand, a lack of sunlight can also cause problems for orchids. Without enough light, orchids may have stunted growth, fewer blooms, and may even become more susceptible to diseases and pests.
It’s important to ensure that your orchid is getting enough sunlight for its specific species, as different types of orchids have different light requirements. If your orchid isn’t getting enough light, you can supplement it with artificial light or consider moving it to a brighter location.
Remember that caring for orchids can take some trial and error, and finding the golden middle for the intensity of the sunlight your particular orchid needs can take some time. And it’s okay if you make mistakes along the way. The most important thing is to pay attention to your plant’s individual needs and adjust your care accordingly.
– Ideal Temperature Range For Indoor Orchids
The ideal temperature range for most indoor orchids is between 60-80°F /15-27°C. Keep in mind that “ideal” means just that – ideal, and all leaving creatures (including orchids) can survive, and even thrive in less ideal environments too.
– Providing the Right Moisture For Orchids
Besides temperature, orchids prefer high humidity levels. There are several ways of providing the right humidity, so let’s list some ideas:
- Use a humidifier: One of the easiest ways to increase humidity levels in your home is to use a humidifier. You can purchase a portable humidifier that you can move around your home or invest in a whole-house humidifier that can be installed in your HVAC system.
- Group plants together: Placing your orchids near other plants can help to create a microclimate with higher humidity levels. As plants release moisture through transpiration, they can help to increase the overall humidity in the surrounding area.
- Use a pebble tray: A pebble tray is a simple and effective way to increase humidity levels for your orchids. Simply fill a tray with pebbles and add water up to the top of the pebbles. Then, place your orchid on top of the pebbles, making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot. As the water evaporates from the tray, it will increase the humidity around the orchid.
- Misting: Another way to increase humidity levels for your orchids is to mist them regularly with a spray bottle filled with water. Be sure to mist the leaves, not the flowers, as misting the flowers can cause them to rot.
- Use a humidity tray: A humidity tray is similar to a pebble tray, but it has a built-in reservoir for water. Simply fill the tray with water and place your orchid on top of it. As the water evaporates from the tray, it will create a humid microclimate around the orchid.
– Watering Indoor Orchids
Answering the question: “How to care for orchids indoors” would not be completed without a chapter about watering. When someone says to you that orchids like moisture, but do not like too much water, it might be confusing, as for making moisture we need water… a lot of water… But, orchids need moisture for their leaves from their surroundings, not from the soil or through the root system. Moisture should be provided in a gaseous state, or as a mist.
On the other side, for watering we use water as liquid, to provide it for the plant. Water is soaked up through the root system. The root system serves to take water when the plant is thirsty. If you water it too much, and keep the soil to moisture – your orchid may drown.
Well, not literary drown, but too much water around its roots, will weaken them, then make them prone to disease and infection, and then will make them rot. This will stop plant feeding, so your hungry and thirsty plant will suffer shortly, and eventually die.
When watering orchids, in general – less is more. Or at least: less often is more. In other words, you must wait till the top (at least one inch) of the soil is dry.
It will make less harm if you are a couple of days late with watering your orchid than to practice a couple of days of early watering, as the second one will definitely lead to moist sticky soil, which will prevent proper aeration, and provide an ideal environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive. This will lead to every gardener’s nightmare: root rot.
Easy-To-Care-For Indoor Orchids
I know that, besides asking how to care for indoor orchids, another going question would be “What are the types of easy-to-care-for indoor orchids?”. Well, there are several types of orchids that you can grow indoors easily, and take care of them successfully, each with its unique features.
- Phalaenopsis (moth orchid) – This orchid is known for its large, showy flowers that come in a range of colors. It prefers bright, indirect light and a temperature range of 65°F to 75°F / 18-25°C.
- Dendrobium – These orchids produce delicate, fragrant flowers that come in a variety of colors. They prefer bright, indirect light and a temperature range of 60°F to 85°F/15-30°C.
- Paphiopedilum (lady slipper orchid) – This orchid is known for its intricate, slipper-shaped flowers. It prefers low to medium light and a temperature range of 60°F to 75°/15-25°CF.
If you read regularly this blog, you might find some inconsistency when it comes to the Lady Slipper orchid. In some previous articles, while describing some basic types of orchids I wrote that Lady Slipper orchids are a group of demanding orchids, and hard to take care of.
Well, it still stands if we talk in general, about all orchids, outdoor and indoor ones. It is hard to maintain the right conditions for them outside. But when you keep this lady indoors, it’s quite a different story. Once you find a good position for her, Lady Slipper will reward you with thriving and blooming without much fussing.
Once I’ve read (can’t even remember where) a sentence that starts like: “Despite their beauty, orchids can be challenging to care for…” and I was asking myself: “What does the beauty have to do with it at all?! They are not “demanding” because of their beauty. It’s because of their origin, and because we have to mimic (the best we can) their natural habitats, which might be difficult, especially when living in very different climate zones.
The good thing is that today we can find enough information and learn how to care for orchids indoors, as it is much easier to provide proper conditions and control light, moisture, or other crucial factors that way. Plus, huge orchid diversity helps that everyone, no matter where in the Globe lives, can find some orchid species that can thrive at their home.