New to orchid growing? Welcome to this amazingly fun and addictive hobby!
I’m sure you have a ton of questions, just like I did when I bought my very first orchid back in 2009. So I’ve gathered my blog posts offering detailed yet easy-to-understand orchid care advice for newbies—and collected links to them here for easy access. I’ll be adding more posts to this page as I write them, so please do check back here from time to time.
Note: these posts mostly focus on Phalaenopsis orchid (aka “moth orchid”) care, simply because they’re the most popular orchid for first time growers.
I’ve listed my orchid care posts in recommended order, but feel free to jump around to any topic that you’re most interested in:
- A Basic Guide to Buying Orchids
- “What’s a Spike?” A Glossary of Orchid Terms
- Beginner Tips on How to Grow Phalaenopsis Orchids
- Top Three Orchid Newbie FAQs
- Basic Orchid Supplies for the Home Grower
- Orchid Care: How to Water Orchids
- Orchid Care: How To Fertilize Orchids
- New Orchids: To Repot or Not? That is the Question
- How to Identify Healthy vs. Unhealthy Roots
- When and How to Stake an Orchid Spike
- How to Cut a Phalaenopsis Orchid Spike
- How to Make a Humidity Tray
- How to Identify a New Orchid Root vs. Flower Spike
- How to Recognize Orchid Roots and Orchid Spikes, Part Deux: Photos!
- What Are Aerial Roots and What Should I Do with Them?
- How Do I Get My Orchid to Bloom Again?
- Keikis: What They Are and What to Do with Them
- Tips on Caring for a Sick Orchid
- Full Water Culture for Orchids: An Experiment
I hope you find these orchid growing tips and advice helpful. Happy growing!
Hi! I happened to stumble into your blog when I was searching for a way to revive an orchid and it has been tremendous help and fun to read your postings!
My friend had an orchid that was in original sale pot stuffed with moss since he got them as a gift (over 2 years ago!) and I have never seen it bloom in almost over a year and a half. The leaves were shriveling, changing its color and that’s when I decided to take the poor orchid from its deathbed and attempt to bringing back to life (and bloom again, ultimately!).
It has been a challenge from the moment when I tried to repot it (followed by the moment of realization of how OCD I could be!) and your blog has been very helpful, I just wanted to compliment you for creating such a nice tips for the beginners.
Thanks and I will look forward to your future postings!!!
Hi, I have an orchid that had a new spike growing but the tip of the spike broke when I was clipping it to hold it. What should I do now? And will that new spike grow?
Hi there. I could use some advice on orchid pots. I’ve adopted a phalenopsis and have been nurturing it for a few years now. It’s getting bigger and bigger and has a TON of roots (its longest leaf is 13″ long!). After its last bloom, I recently repotted it, but was frustrated to discover that I’m having a hard time finding a pot big enough. !! I settled for a 9″ diameter pot that seems to be too short. Everywhere I’ve looked online for purchasing pots only has pots up to 7″. My orchid has so many roots that I couldn’t even get the old planting mix off of them without breaking the roots. What do you suggest doing?
Hi Anne, wow, it sounds like your orchid is doing really well! I’m unfortunately not all that familiar with larger orchid pots, but you might want to look into pots that are specifically made for Cymbidium orchids – they tend to be deeper than other, regular orchid pots because those orchids can get really tall and have very long roots. I hope that helps!
Hi there! I have about 70 other plants and desperately want orchids and feel ready to build a collection! have a 3 foot X 13″ X 26″ tall open shelf I’d love to use, how many orchids do you think would be ideal for this space? Have some on the shelf space above as well! I have a ficus bonsai (which will live above it!) so am comfortable with the soaking watering technique and have a bucket specifically for this use. So my questions I guess are 1: How many orchids would you suggest for this shelf to start? 2:A good spot to get affordable orchids/varieties? Trader Joe’s? I’d like to start with 1 of each type, I’m interested in Phalaenopsis and African violet! 3: I live in Brooklyn as well, is tap water OK to use?
Hi there and thanks for your comment. It’s hard for me to recommend a general number of orchids for your shelf, as orchids can range pretty dramatically in size. Some miniature orchids come in pots as small as 1″ and others can look like giants next to minis! I would say, though, not to stuff the shelf completely full of orchids. It’s better to allow some breathing room between your plants, especially if one happens to get a virus or pest infestation that could easily spread from plant to plant in close quarters.
For local shopping I do like Trader Joe’s as well, but they don’t always have orchids other than Phalaenopsis. I’ve found Oncidium hybrids and Lady Slippers at the Ikea in Red Hook, but there have been other times when they only have Phals. Lowes and Home Depot often have a pretty good selection of Phals and sometimes carry a variety of Better-Gro brand orchids that are packaged in netting and plastic (I’ve seen Cattleya, Oncidium, and others). Brooklyn Botanic Garden and New York Botanical Garden both have nice gift shops that usually have a pretty good variety of orchids, though they are more expensive than these other store.
I’ve been using tap water on my orchids here in Brooklyn and it seems to be okay, though I don’t know much about orchids’ needs with regard to water chemistry other than the fact that it’s good to flush the pots with plain water once a month to help get rid of excess salt and other chemical buildup from fertilizing.
I hope that helps – good luck!
I want to build a vivarium 36x18x24 or 36x18x36 (WxDxH) but I’m having a hard time figuring out the artificial lighting needed for my phalaenopsis as I never used them before. Could you recommend an LED light and how much I might need? Does the LED bulbs (day light) sold at the local store for your home also work for orchids?
Hi Caren, I honestly don’t know much about artificial lighting so I don’t have any advice for you. I’d recommend asking over at orchidboard.com, as there are a lot of very experienced members who will have plenty of advice about lighting!