Here are some of the most Common Orchid Growing Mistakes that you can avoid to keep the plant thriving with full of flowers!
Common Orchid Growing Mistakes
It is one of the most common mistakes that newbie gardeners make. Remember, orchid is not like other houseplants and as it does not grow in regular garden soil, its watering needs are different, too. Do not water the plant daily—water it only when the growing medium feels a bit dry to touch.
Another method you can follow is using a spray bottle—it will help you moisten the growing medium evenly, without overdoing it.
Here’s all you need to know about watering orchids
2. Fertlizing the Plant Excessively
People often think that fertilizing the plant frequently will result in more flowers, but that’s not the case with orchids. Avoid using too much fertilizer, especially every week, as it will cause more harm than good to orchids.
Use a fertilizer that contains equal parts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium like (10-10-10) in a half or one-quarter strength, diluting it with water. Apply it once in 5-6 weeks.
We have a detailed article on Homemade Plant Foods for Orchids here
3. Keeping it in a Cool Spot
If you live in a cool climate, then avoid keeping the plant near to a window, where it can catch cold drafts of air. Similarly, keep the plant away from the A/C vent.
Any place where the plant is safe from cold temperatures will be good. Do not expose the plants to the temperature below 50 F (10 C). Also, avoid exposing orchids to sudden temperature changes, too.
4. Using Hard Water
Using hard water will result in excessive salt and sodium built up in the roots—this will prevent the plant from taking up water and nutrients, resulting in wilted foliage and no flowers.
Do make sure that you are keeping the tap water overnight to help salts settle down. You can also use spring, well, RO, or aquarium water.
5. Keeping it in Direct Sunlight
Houseplants love sunlight but keeping orchids in direct sunlight exposure is a big no. You can keep them on an east-facing window where the plant can get the mild morning sun for 1-2 hours.
Avoid keeping it near a south-facing window in the afternoon, especially if you live in a hot climate, as it will burn the leaves.
6. Not Picking the Right Growing Medium
If you are using garden soil to grow orchids, you are making one of the biggest mistakes! Orchids are particularly sensitive to the growing medium used, and their watering needs vary according to that.
For growing orchids, it is best to use sphagnum peat or moss, fir bark, perlite, coconut husk chips, and diatomite. Using a mixture of these materials in equal quantity is also fine.
In any case, avoid using the regular soil and use an orchid mix to grow the plant.
Here are the best Orchid Potting Mix Recipes to make them thrive
7. Misting the Flowers
Orchids love humidity and thrive best in it. However, misting the flowers will result in untimely death and wilting of the blooms.
Mist the foliage but make sure you are not spraying water on the flowers. Keeping the pot on a pebble tray filled with water will help greatly.
8. Transplanting Orchids While they are Blooming
When the plant is flowering, it means it has directed all its energy in blooming. If you will transplant during this time, then it won’t be able to handle the transplant shock and may even die.
9. Not Giving them Enough Ventilation
Orchids thrive well when they are well ventilated. Avoid crowding them with other houseplants. However, you can group 2-3 orchids to create a humid environment.
10. Choosing the Wrong Type
Always pick a variety that’s well-suited to the environment you live in. Every orchid has different growing requirements, and thankfully, as they come in thousands of types, it will be easy for you to pick the one that goes best with your needs.
11. Not Re-Potting Them
Repotting ensures that the plant gets a new potting mix, and it also gives you a chance to inspect its roots. It is a good habit to re-pot the plant every 1-2 years to keep it in the best of its health.
If the roots have not grown much, then you don’t have to use a bigger pot. One thing that you need to ensure is to use a fresh potting mix designed specifically for orchids.
12. Watering the Foliage
Do not water the plant from above. Always water the soil, avoid the leaves and flowers. It will save the plant from rotting and wilting.
13. Not Keeping them Clean
Do not just water the plant and forget about it. Make sure that you give a nice clean-up to the leaves once a week to keep the dust away. Use a soft cotton damp cloth and clean with a gentle hand. It will keep the foliage clean, helping the plant breathe well.
Yes, orchid hates overwatering, but this doesn’t mean that you end up underwatering the plant. Low watering will result in yellowing of leaves and will also make the plant lose all its buds.
Check the growing medium every 3-4 days and water when it feels dry to touch.
15. Using Too Hot or Cold Water
It is best to make sure that the water is at room temperature before you water the plant. Using too hot or cold water will shock the orchid and will also result in root damage.