Growing Orchids – The Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Orchid Growing

Orchid Growing QuestionsEven for people who are familiar with gardening, growing orchids can pose a unique challenge. These flowers tend to have a reputation for being finicky or difficult to grow. But anyone with actual orchid growing experience can tell you, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Just by learning a few simple basics, you can confidently grow virtually ANY orchid with good results. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of “FAQs” to answer the biggest questions (and dispel a few myths)….

FAQ #1: Aren’t They Hard to Grow?

Orchids aren’t necessarily as difficult to grow as you might think. You just have to learn what particular needs your type of orchid has and then do your best to meet them. Each orchid needs different amounts of sunlight and water, and none of them take well to soil whatsoever. So it’s easy to understand why growing them can seem intimidating. Just be sure to find an orchid whose needs you can match, and you should have no troubles!

FAQ #2: What’s the Best Orchid for Beginners?

It’s generally agreed that the best orchid for beginners is the phalaenopsis orchid, or “moth orchid”. These plants are resilient against beginner’s mistakes and have a short time to blossom. But nevertheless, they produce brilliant blossoms that you’ll love.

They’re also quite abundant and inexpensive, so you could even buy several in case you accidentally kill one of them (which does sometimes happen, sad to say). In general, they’re just a great plant to learn on when growing orchids!

FAQ #3: How Do I Pick a Good Plant?

Picking a good orchid is similar to picking any other healthy plant. You want to make sure that the shoots and leaves look sturdy and healthy. Make sure that the plant is capable of standing up under its own weight and doesn’t look wilted.

If you can, check the root system to make sure it’s healthy and flourishing. Look for the presence of flower spikes to get an idea of how many blossoms you can expect your plant to have. (It can help to make a checklist before you go orchid shopping, so that you remember what to look out for.)

FAQ #4: How Can I Keep My Orchid Healthy?

Keeping an orchid healthy is a complex topic, but in a nutshell, it all comes down to maintaining the proper environment for your plant at all times.

If it needs a lot of aeration, don’t keep it bogged down in a heavy mix. If it needs indirect sunlight, don’t put it right in the sun. If it needs high humidity, don’t put it somewhere dry.

Take steps to make sure that you know what the particular needs of your orchid are (there are several thousand unique types of orchids out there!). Also take care to watch your plant to observe how it responds to different techniques you try on your orchid growing adventures.

FAQ #5: Why Isn’t it Blooming?

This is probably the most commonly asked question of all. Orchid growers can be a bit anxious about when their plants are going to bloom. Unlike annuals or perennials, orchids can sometimes take up to three years to bloom, and re-blooming after that can be unpredictable. This is why you need to take steps to find out the age of your orchid when you buy it.

Plants labeled as “BS” are ready to bloom within the next year. And those labeled “NBS” may take longer than that. Each orchid has a different time in which it’s expected to bloom, so for many people, the answer to this question is simply, “it’s just not ready to bloom yet”.

If your plant should be blooming, however, and it isn’t, then you need to make some changes to the care you’re giving it. Ensure that all of its environmental and nutritional requirements are being met. When growing orchids, remember blooming requires a lot of energy and optimal health.

To get more of your questions answered about growing orchids, download my totally FREE 5-Day Orchid Insider training course by going here: Orchid Care Insider Secrets.

Your Comments

22 Comments so far

  1. Matt Rhyan says:

    Blooming has always been the problem I have with Orchids. I guess patience is key with an orchid and is worth it because, orchids are beautiful when they do bloom.

    • carmen says:

      the way i do i put food evey week on my orquids they grwo green and bif flowers now they happen to have many to blossom soon thi is the month and last for my orquids about 8 to 9 months alive before they die

  2. Bryce Anderson says:

    Picking a flowers has always been the hardest for me, which is strange because every orchid I have ever chose has been amazing. Great post for anyone who wants an orchid.

  3. Fred Marle says:

    I think you answered all my orchid questions in one post. This is such a great website for anyone who is serious about orchids.

  4. Chester says:

    Thanks for addressing the question about keeping an orchid healthy this has always been a concern of mine and something I have struggled with. Now, I feel confident to get another orchid.

  5. Barbara Robinson says:

    I have looked at “many” sites for info on number of blossoms on an orchid. Can you tell me what the average amount is? I have a two year old orchid that has been reblooming for the past two months and keeps getting new blossoms. It is now on its 12th blossom. Is this unusal or not? All the flowers look as fresh as the day they first opened.

    • Mary Ann says:

      Hi Barbara,

      That’s wonderful! That is not abnormal. It means you are doing a good job. The number of blooms depends on the type of orchid and its blooming cycle and also how healthy your particular plant is. It sounds like your plant is very happy and well cared for.


  6. Jane Hallowell says:

    To get my orchids to bloom I use fish emulsion in an end hose sprayer and add a capful of superthrive. I go ahead and spray roses and azaleas and anything else that blooms. As a professor once said to me “plants cannot read”. My orchids bloom on a regular basis if I keep them feed with my “tonic”. I have several different varities. Hope this helps.

  7. mary kesner says:

    my orcid had two buds on it one opened up beautifull and the other one just dryed up and fell off. why?

    • Mary Ann says:

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks for your comment. Most of the time this is a bud blast, and it’s due to environmental changes. So big changes in temperature can cause this to happen, like drafts from windows. Or it can also be caused by ethylene gas, which is released by ripening fruit. If your orchid is near fruit, that can create this problem. 🙂 I hope this helps! Thanks, – Mary Ann

  8. Mary Duddy says:

    I have found that all of the popular orchids are very easy to grow. I know that phaleonopsis is considered easy, however, i have known people who just couldn’t manage. i believe that the orchids with pseudobulbs are the easiest in that they can be ignored and allowed to dry out before anything drastic happens. I have found that dendrobrium are easy and also produce keikis (babies) often.

  9. Sasha says:

    My Phalienopsis roots are dried out. The leaves appear fine. What can I do to keep it healthy?

    • Mary Ann says:

      I’m not sure what’s happening with your orchids, but it sounds like you need to just water it more frequently and increase the humidity. If only some of the roots are dried out or dead, then you need to remove those dead roots and you might want to repot it if you haven’t. If they are all dead, then it might be time to part ways. Thanks! – Mary Ann

  10. April Royo says:

    the leaves of my phalaenopsis is getting yellow and some of its flowers are withered, and the new flowers didn’t bloom yet.. what shall I do…? Pls, I need advice.. thanks.!

  11. judy says:

    I have 3 orchids & so happy they r still alive. when they finished blooming I cut the stem down. how long does it take for them to send out a new stem for flowering? they have new roots like coming out but no stems yet.

  12. Jan Tegnér says:

    It is far easier to kill an orchid by watering it too much than too little. The roots will rot and the leaves get soft and yellow. The roots need air, so make sure the compost is not too fine grained. If roots start to rot, remove all dead roots an wrap the remaining roots in damp (not wet) spagnum moss.

    There may be several reasons why an orchid doesn’t bloom. Some orchids, like cattleya and cymbidium, wants a difference in day and night temperature to bloom. At night they like around 10 degrees Celsius.

    Some orchids also wants a rest period with little or no water and cold temperatures. Don’t water orchids in the evening. They might get black rot.

    Since I live in Sweden, my orchids (I have around 50) are inside during winter time, but in the summer the cattleyas, cymbidiums and dendrobiums move outdoors (avoid direkt sun) to get a temperature difference. Phalaenopsis plants stay in inside.

    • Mary Ann says:

      Thank you so much! You are so right. Please feel free to chime in wherever the mood strikes you. 🙂 – Mary Ann

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