Easy Orchid Care Guide

Caring for Orchids

Many of the orchids found for sale in retail stores (Phalaenopsis, Cattleya, Dendrobium, and Oncidium) are ‘epiphytes’. Epiphytes, more commonly referred to as ‘air plants’, do not grow in soil. Instead, they anchor themselves to another plant with their roots. They receive their nutrients and water from the air, rain, and debris around it – only using the plant they sit upon as a support structure.

A good balance of light, water, food, air circulation, and temperature control is needed to ensure optimal growth and flowering of your orchid. Luckily, in spite of belonging to one of the largest, most diverse families of flowering plants, there are some generalizations when it comes to caring for an epiphytic orchid. 

bouquet of orchids in container on gardening table

Which Orchid Should I Choose?

Phalaenopsis orchids, more commonly known as Moth Orchids, are popular among both beginner and advanced growers due to their beautiful flowers and ease of care. With the right balance of light, water, food, and temperature, these orchids will bloom frequently and produce an abundant amount of gorgeous flowers.


Poor lighting conditions is the most common reason an orchid fails to bloom. Your orchid may produce lush looking growths, but without enough light, those growths will never flower. An orchid receiving sufficient light will have light yellowish-olive green foliage. Lush, dark green foliage is a sign of insufficient lighting.

Orchids typically prefer low, indirect light and do best near an east, west, or lightly shaded southern window. In overcast climates, exposure to full sun may be necessary.

Be sure to guard your orchid against temperature extremes that can happen when placed to close to glass windows.


More orchids will die due to over-watering than any other cause. Orchids should only be watered just as they are starting to dry out. If an orchid is left in constantly wet medium, it will develop root rot which will eventually kill the plant.

We recommend watering your orchid in the morning. This practice will allow excess water not absorbed into the potting medium to dry up. The stagnant moisture caused by nighttime watering can lead to bacterial and fungal diseases. It is also important to avoid using distilled or softened water.

close up of several white phalaenopsis orchids


Orchids will typically enjoy temperatures similar to those that you find comfortable.
(55-60F at night, 75F during the day)

Air Circulation

Orchids require a light, fast-draining potting medium that allows for air circulation near their roots, but is capable of holding the moisture needed for them to survive.

Orchids are naturally found in rainforests and therefore enjoy environments with high humidity levels. Set your orchid container on a tray of pebbles with  a shallow amount of water to increase the humidity immediately surrounding your plant.

Fertilization & Potting

Orchids should be fed regularly but will perform far better with too little fertilizer than with too much. Growers suggest feeding your orchid ‘weak, weekly’ with a balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20. A ‘weak’ feed is one that is diluted to 1/4 strength and proceeded by a normal watering.

When repotting, gently remove the potting mixture from the orchid’s roots and trim away any rotted roots with a sharp, sterilized tool. Clean the interior of the container with soap & water and repot the orchid with new potting medium.

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The best planters for orchids

round white self watering planter on white background
Classico - White High-Gloss
black square planter on white background
Quadro - Black High-Gloss
black globe self watering planter on white background
Puro - Slate
taupe rectangular self watering planter on white background
Delta20 - Shiny Taupe