General Orchid Culture


Artificial Sources - Fluorescent tubes

Windows - Natural Light Note that filtered means a light sheer curtain, while shaded means a less transparent material.

Watering and Humidity

Water quality is important to all plants. Hard water should always be avoided since it contains too many dissolved minerals. Tap water is acceptable on occasion, but rainwater and distilled water are preferred choices.

Orchids should be potted in a mix that caters to their needs for water. Bark mixtures allow for free drainage of water. The coarser they are, the more quickly they dry out as well ! They should be watered until water pours out of the drainage holes.

Sphagnum moss, peat mixes and inorganic moisture-retentive mixes hold on to water for long periods. It is very easy to overwater plants potted in these, so add water only until the pot feels heavy. Remember that it is always safer to underwater, rather than overwater !!!

All orchids appreciate a humid environment. Misting several times a week with distilled or rainwater will help to keep your plants happy. It is important to apply water in any form, only in the morning to allow the plant to dry off before evening. Never water when temperatures are cool.


  • Cool - 10 to 13 ° C nights
  • Intermediate (most homes) - 13 to 16 ° C nights
  • Warm - 16 to 20 ° C nights

  • There should always be a difference of at least 5 C degrees between night and day temperatures. Air circulation helps to alleviate the stress of warmer temperatures, and discourages fungal problems as well. Remember that windows can get dangerously hot if the sun is shining directly in !

    Repotting and Fertilizing

    Bark mixes should be replaced at least every 2 years. Moss mixtures should be replaced every year. Neglecting repotting can lead to severe root loss through rot.

    Most orchids are light feeders. A good general rule is to use commercial fertilizers at 1/4 strength in alternate waterings. Some common fertilizers you can use are 20-20-20, 30-15-15 and 15-30-15. I prefer to use many different types of fertilizers, including organic fertilizers like fish emulsion. Remember to ONLY fertilize plants when they are actively growing !

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