Hawaii Orchids: Orchid Care

Q. How hard is it to care for orchids?

Orchids are not hard to grow, but they do need the right conditions to keep them healthy and to coax them into re-blooming.  Some orchids are easy to care for, while others are rather exacting.  Here's a summary of general growing conditions for three popular orchid families:

Phalaenopsis - America's favorite orchid requires modest light and consistent moisture.  They like bright light but no direct sun; in the home or office, an east, west, or shaded south window is ideal.  Mature plants need a 15-20 degree difference between night and day, with nights of 60-65 F and days of 75-85 F. Humidity should be 60-70%; in the home, pots can be placed on trays of damp pebbles. Water frequently enough so the plants don't dry out between waterings.

Cattleyas - With their big, showy blooms, these "corsage" orchids are what people most often think of when they hear the word "orchid." Cattleyas need nighttime temperatures of 55-60 F and daytime temperatures of 70-85 F. They can tolerate up to 95 F during the day if humidity, air circulation and shade are increased. Cattleyas need to dry out thoroughly between waterings, but the humidity should be at 50-80% with good air circulation.

Oncidium - an extensive New World genus with a wide range of optimal growing conditions. Light conditions may vary from bright to nearly full, direct sun, depending on the species. In the home, east, south or west windows are ideal.  Oncidiums require intermediate to warm temperatures: 55-60 F at night, and 80-85 F during the day. Water requirements will vary, because a species with large fleshy leaves will need less-frequent watering than one with thin leaves. The potting medium should be allowed to dry at least halfway before re-watering.  Humidity should be at 30-60%; placing the pots in trays with moist pebbles works well in the home.

Like all growing plants, orchids also need regular fertilizing and occasional re-potting.  We'll provide you with full care instructions for the plants you order.  To learn more information about orchid care and culture, refer to the publications listed below, or visit the The American Orchid Society's website at http://orchidweb.org.  Look for the link to their culture sheets, which can be downloaded for free.

Q. How do I know my orchids will arrive in good condition?

We select only the finest, healthiest plants from our nursery, and then pack them carefully and ship them promptly.  Shipping is handled by FedEx for two-day delivery to the west coast, and two- or three-day delivery to the midwest and east coast.  (To avoid a Sunday layover, we don't ship on Thursdays.)  Each plant arrives with care instructions so you can keep your plants healthy and beautiful.

To learn more about our guarantee, visit our Customer Service page.

Q.  Where can I learn more about orchids?

Internet Resources:
American Orchid Society - 6000 South Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33405
http://orchidweb.org.

Books:

  • Rogers, Marilyn, ed. Ortho's All About Orchids
  • Rittershausen, Brian and Sara Rittershausen.  Orchids: A Care Manual
  • Rittershausen, Wilma and Brian Rittershausen. Gardener's Guide to Growing Orchids: A Complete Guide to Cultivation and Care
  • Schoser, Gustav. Orchid Growing Basics
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