Caring for orchids and watering them properly – this is how it works

Orchids inspire with their noble flowers and make something special out of every home. Versatile in shape and color, there are more and more varieties on offer. The plants are known as the queens of pot plants and have long fascinated with their incomparable beauty. Many orchid species were only discovered through the courage and thirst for adventure of enthusiastic naturalists. They went off and took many a risk until they found what they were looking for. The first orchid-like plants developed more than 60 million years ago in Indonesia.

Here they still grew on the ground before the development as an epiphyte began. The epiphytic way of life results in the low need for moisture and the demands on the permeability and consistency of the soil. The special plants sit high up on the trees of the rainforest to get enough sun and shade. The tropical plants cling to branches with part of the roots and the other roots rise into the air. This means that orchid roots onoriginal location not stuck in the ground.

Watering orchids should therefore be carried out with care. It is also good if you use a pot that does not leave too much room for the roots, because the exotic plants are very frugal and require little soil. The houseplant rarely needs a new pot, often it is enough to change the substrate. With the right knowledge, you can easily care for and enjoy orchids. You can also read helpful tips in our orchid advisor for download.

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Interesting facts about orchids

Originally, many of the orchid species known to us are at home in warmer areas, but some members of the large plant family are also at home in our latitudes. These so-called terrestrial orchids retreat under the surface during the winter break and survive even extreme cold with the help of special hibernation organs.

It is thanks to the botanists and researchers that many species are now known and registered and can be cultivated in nurseries. Some species are exotic, only available at special times and in limited quantities. Rarities that are in the garden all year round are an absolute specialty.

How to care for orchids?

It is important to know the origin or species in order to understand the needs and to properly care for the beauties. The topic of orchids is very extensive, because each group has its own individual requirements. With the right care, you can enjoy the magical indoor plants for a long timeand, with a bit of luck, make them bloom again. But orchid care is not rocket science and with a little patience you will experience the fascination of the valuable plants. A passion is quickly awakened and the number of orchids on the windowsill is steadily increasing. It is important to have the right feeling for the orchid location and water the orchids.

In which location do orchids feel most comfortable?

The location is important for orchid care. The beauties prefer a bright location in the house all year round. However, avoid direct sunlight, as it prevails on the south side in summer. Leaf burns are easily caused by too intense radiation. Make sure that the temperature does not fall below 18 °C and that the humidity is high, between 60 and 80%. The conditions are thus similar to those at home. Once the plant is in the right location, it is essential that you take care of the flowerwater regularly, fertilize and occasionally repot.

How should I water orchids?

It is important for the vitality of the special plants that you water the orchids correctly. It is usually sufficient if you water the exotics once a week. However, the water requirement also depends on the location of the orchid. Water your orchids very sparingly with stale water at room temperature. If necessary, you can immerse the root ball in low-lime water, preferably rainwater. The advantage of diving is that the special plants absorb the necessary liquid within a short timeand re-watering can occur at wide intervals. Place the pot on the sink to drain and only when the excess water has drained can the plant go back to its previous location.

The roots must never stand in water, this can quickly lead to rot. It is therefore important that you take care of the orchids and never leave water in the planter or saucer. An orchid is more tolerant of drought than stagnant wetness, so the right level is essential to success. You can recognize dried roots by the fact that the tips are no longer green and continue to remain brown and dry after a dip. Tip for orchid care:To increase the humidity, spray your beauties with tempered water every 2 to 3 days. Make sure that you never wet the flowers, only spray the leaves directly. Like many other indoor plants, you should never water them with hard tap water. Preferably use soft water when watering orchids. High humidity improves plant health all year round.

How do I fertilize my orchids properly?

For a lasting joy, it is important that you fertilize the flowering plants regularly. In order to prevent damage to the roots, it is important that you only use special fertilizer for orchids. Orchid fertilizer contains the necessary nutrients and is specially tailored to the needs of houseplants. In this way, the supply of nutrients is simply ensured. Fertilize the houseplant once a week during the main growth and flowering period. More frequent fertilizing damages the potted plant and the roots suffer. Dose the fertilizer exactly as indicated on the labelthe fertilizer bottle and the requirements of the respective species. Fertilizer sticks are easy to use. Put them in the pot after watering and provide the plants with the most important nutrients for many weeks.

When do I repot my orchid?

The right time to repot your orchids depends on the species. In principle, it is only transplanted when the fleshy roots protrude from the previous pot. You should avoid repotting blooming orchids. A change of substrate in late summer or spring is ideal. Only use a larger pot for very lush specimens. It is also possible to just replace the soil and use the old pot again. Above the substrate, the plant usually has special roots, the so-called aerial roots. If possible, leave these aerial roots on the stick; you can only remove dead roots.

Step-by-step instructions for repotting orchids:

  • Before repotting, immerse the culture pot in a bucket filled with water.
  • With the dipping method, you ensure that the root ball is completely moist.
  • Carefully loosen the old substrate from the roots.
  • Remove dead roots by hand or sharp scissors.
  • Protect healthy roots and do not cut them off.
  • Place the root ball back in the pot so that all of the roots are in the pot but the heart of the plant is flush with the edge of the pot.
  • Carefully fill orchid soil between the roots and keep tapping the edge of the table with the pot.
  • Make sure that the fresh substrate gets into all the cavities between the roots.
  • Water the repotted specimens after a week.

After transplanting into fresh substrate, the plant quickly forms new leaves and flower panicles. In addition to watering the orchid, repotting is one of the most important measures in orchid care.

Healthy orchids need a new substrate every 2 to 3 years. Only use orchid soil for your orchids. This substrate is very loose, permeable to air and ideal for the roots. With the mixture of sphagnum moss and pine bark you get the ideal conditions for the enchanting exotic species and prevent waterlogging and thus root damage. In the right substrate, Phalaenopsis and Co. quickly form new roots and bloom reliably. You can add the old substrate to the compost or use it as mulch in the garden.

Regular repotting is part of orchid care and ensures the rarities the best conditions for growth and abundance of flowers. Even after repotting, pay attention to the ideal orchid location. Gardener tip:Compared to other plants, the orchid family is not as firmly rooted in the substrate. Therefore, repotting with tact is necessary. Little maintenance is required after transplanting. The location for the repotted orchid should initially be bright and warm. In this way, the plant can quickly establish itself in the fresh orchid substrate or new pot. Orchids do not thrive in potting soil because the structure does not allow enough air in the root area. Potting soil is therefore completely unsuitable for repotting. Only use special orchid soil.

How do I plant my orchids in a pot?

Orchids are often found in transparent pots in the nursery. The aerial roots of the popular houseplant, the butterfly orchid, in particular, contain chlorophyll. This building block is responsible for light-dependent photosynthesis. Through transparent pots, the orchids can carry out photosynthesis via the aerial roots in addition to the leaves. Cover pots are decorative, but the transparent pots are ideal for lush growth. Make sure you use the right pot when caring for your orchid.

What types of orchids are there?

Over 30,000 different species are known to date. The exotic species are valued worldwide for their abundance of colors and shapes . Botanists keep discovering novelties in nature and new varieties are created through complex breeding . Especially in the genus Phalaenopsis, countless forms have been enriching the range for a few years. Phalaenopsis orchids are particularly impressive because of their low maintenance requirements and theirlong-lasting flowering. Without a lot of orchid care, it will bloom again in the coming years. Each orchid species has its own special features and is an asset to your home on the windowsill.

What pests and diseases can orchids get?

With the right conditions and optimal care, orchids are long-lived plants. The following problems can still occur:

Scale and Mealybugs

Orchids are particularly susceptible to these annoying pests in phases with less light and less growth. Try to get rid of the lice on the leaves and strengthen the orchid with a tonic. In this way, the immune system is strengthened in a natural way. Substances containing paraffin oil also help to combat the pests.

Red Spider

The affected foliage is covered with a fine web. On closer inspection, small bright spots can be seen. When heavily infested with the red spider, the foliage color changes from green to yellow. In the case of initial infestation, rinsing with water and consistent spraying can help, because the pest is particularly common in dry heating air.

spider mites

The affected leaves have silvery dots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. Spider mites appear on orchids especially in warm, dry weather. It is usually sufficient to rinse off the indoor plants with water and treat them with a plant strengthener. These organic active agents contain natural plant extracts that contribute to the revitalization of orchids.


Especially in phases with less light and weakened specimens, the probability of an infestation by aphids is high. The pests pierce the leaf tissue with their mouthparts. At first, the infestation can be seen on young twigs. Control is analogous to spider mite infestation.

Yellow dry leaves

Turning yellow and dropping orchid leaves is usually not a cause for concern. Usually this is a normal leaf shedding. It’s a natural process as long as there aren’t too many leaves turning yellow. Especially in the dark season, orchids lose a leaf or two and new leaves appear.

Yellow rotting leaves

If leaves turn yellow on the orchid and no new ones grow, then the orchid is most likely suffering from stem rot. In such a case, the leaves turn yellow and rotten from the start. The trunk is often rotten as a whole. Bacteria are usually the cause, which were transmitted with the irrigation water. Stem rot is favored by standing water that has settled in the heart of the orchid or the leaf axils. Unfortunately, most of the rarities can no longer be saved. Pay attention to the following points when caring for orchids and thus avoid stem rot:

  • do not pour water into the heart of the orchid
  • Drain excess water from the planter
  • Always choose a culture pot with a drainage hole

Only plant orchids in special soil

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about orchids

How old can orchids get?

Basically, the age depends on the orchid species. Dendrobiums in particular can live for over 20 years.

How do you get orchids to bloom again?

Depending on the species, the willingness to bloom varies. In the case of a long flowering break, a dormant period of 15 to 18 degrees for 4 to 6 weeks can help new buds form.

How are orchids cut off correctly?

For multi-shoot orchids, cut off above the third node after they have faded. The houseplant will sprout again from the thickening. Single-shoot types are cut off as soon as they sprout.

Do orchids need to be repotted?

After 2 to 3 years, we recommend planting orchids in fresh substrate. Usually the soil is no longer suitable and should be replaced. Only use orchid soil, this is ideal for the orchid roots, stores little moisture and allows sufficient air to reach the roots.

When do orchids bloom?

Flowering time varies by species. Most orchids flower from March to October. Butterfly orchids in particular are willing to flower and can flower all year round.

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