Most people that are not familiar with orchids assume orchid problems are a fact of life for everyone. Don’t believe the rumors. Orchids are not that challenging to grow. You simply have to understand their basic needs and how to fill them.
To avoid the most basic orchid problems, keep in mind the following guidelines:
1. Orchids will do well if they are placed in household temperatures of not less than 60 degrees at nights and not over 85 degrees during the day time.
2. Phalaenopsis orchids are the easiest to grow and are considered the favorite among Americans. This is a good starter for novice orchid enthusiasts.
3. If you plant your orchid in bark medium, plan on watering once or twice each week depending on the heat. If you use sphagnum moss, watering every 7-10 days is usually appropriate.
4. Do not plant an orchid in regular potting soil and expect positive results;
5. Keep your orchids moist, but don’t over water and don’t allow them to sit in any type of standing water;
6. To fight bacterial and fungal diseases, plan to use Physan 20 about once each month;
7. Orchids need regular fertilizer so plan about every other week; Talk with your local grower or supplier for recommendations based on the type of orchid you are growing;
8. Do not repot your orchid randomly; Orchids do best if they are repotted immediately after they flower; Repotting orchids is needed if you notice the bark is packed solid or decomposed; Expect repotting every year or two.
9. If your orchid doesn’t appear to be growing, don’t panic. First find out the normal flowering cycle for your particular orchid; Orchid require patience understanding of their growth cycles.
10. Yellow leaves are not always a sign of decline. Older leaves will tend to turn yellow as part of the aging process but yellowing of new leaves is a sign of problems. Yellowing leaves usually indicates either too much intense light or lack of proper feeding. Also, yellowing may be caused when temperatures are too low.
11. Pay attention to blackened areas on the leaves. This may be a sign of too much direct sunlight or a possible bacterial or fungal disease condition.
12. If you observe leaves that are limp, check the potting medium to see if it is waterlogged. Allow the potting medium to dry out before adding water and reduce the frequency of watering to maintain a moist medium but not waterlogged.
13. If you notice deformed flowers on your orchid and the deformity is consistent, the problem may simply be genetic and nothing that you are doing wrong with care. Occasional flower deformities may be caused when the flower buds are subjected to high temperatures or too little humidity.
14. Buds that drop off or flowers that wilt after opening is usually a sign of sudden stress due to temperature changes;
15. If you begin to see roots of your orchid outside of the pot, you need to repot your orchid in most cases. If you have used a fine bark medium, repotting is needed about once per year and every two years or so if you use a medium bark for potting.
16. Snails and slugs love to eat orchids. The battle against snails and slugs can be won by using Metaldehyde.
17. For other types of pests such as scales and spider mites, use X-CLUDE or Neem Oil;
Orchid problems are completely manageable by following these simple guidelines for growing beautiful and healthy orchids in your home.