Orchid Tips for “Hawaii” at Home

The magic and beauty of the orchids adorning Pele’s Garden and other 2012  exhibits seemed to inspire a lot of visitors. So much so, that we spotted many of you leaving the Show toting a new gorgeous orchid for your home or workplace.

If you are a first-time orchid caretaker, you may have some questions about caring for your new plant. Here are some orchid care tips for beginners to get you started!

How often should I water my orchid?:
Every 5-12 days, depending on the type of orchid you have and the time of year. During the warm summer months, more watering is required than in the cool winter months. For the most part, over-watering is more common that under-watering, but be sure to research the needs of your particular orchid, because every type is slightly different.

How often should I be fertilize my orchids?:
Your best bet is to purchase a fertilizer that is made specifically for orchids and follow the instructions on the package. Excessive fertilizing may burn the roots and leaves.

How do I know if I need to re-pot?:
A newly potted orchid should be fine in it’s current pot for about two years. You’ll know it is time for re-potting when there are many long visible roots over the edge of the pot.

What are the most common orchid pests?
Eek! Snails, slugs, aphids and thrips are all known pests that target orchids. Additionally, if you notice a brown or black crust on leaves or stems it is probably scale insects. If you notice a white, cottony mass, that is likely mealybugs. The best line of defense is to visit your local garden store for products designed to control each of these common pests.

Learn More:

If you’d like to learn more to ensure that you bloom as an orchid tender, check out the marvelous “How to Care for your Orchid” subject guide online provided by the PHS McLean Library!

Also, consider joining the American Orchid Society, a great way to network with other orchid enthusiasts and learn more about these terrific plants!

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