Orchids are a tall, slender plant that are oddly shaped. These unique plants are doused in bright colors making them the perfect plant for many colorful events. Orchids are one of the largest flowering families. These wonderful smelling flowers are diverse and widespread, making it easy to find an orchid for all of your decorative needs.
Taking Care of Orchids
Each type of orchid has its own specific instructions on how to take care of them, however, there are some general instructions that you can follow if you do not know what kind of plant you have.
Rule #1- Keep the orchid in bright light but not direct sun.
Rule #2- Water your orchid very well once or twice a week. Water them more when it is warmer and less when it is cooler. Make sure the water drains completely out of the holes at the bottom of the pot. You do not want to leave your plant sitting in water!
Rule #3- Make sure you fertilize them while they are growing.
Rule #4- Make sure your plant has access to gentle air circulation.
Rule #5- Provide a little humidity, because most orchids do not like an arid environment.
Rule #6- Keep your flower in an area between 65- 75 degrees Fahrenheit. With a nighttime drop on a few degrees.
Tip- Planting your orchid in bark or moss can mimic the proper air circulation and humidity conditions. The roots stay in high humidity and have air circulating around them.
Following these tips will work if you don’t know your specific breed of orchid. However, most orchids require specific temperatures and light levels. If you can figure out your species and follow the specific instructions, your orchids will be healthy and provide you with wonderful blossoms and fragrances for years to come.
Pests and Diseases
Unhealthy plants are more likely to get infested so make sure that you eliminate the underlying problem as well as the disease. Below is a list of common disease and pests that can infest and infect your beloved orchid, be sure to read it so you know of what to look for when searching for potential predators.
Scale- They look like small, brown lumps and are located on leaves, stems and even flowers.
Aphids- They are tiny green or black insects that attack new leaves or flowers.
Mealybugs- Mealybugs are fluffy white parasites that feed on plant juices.
Spider mites- Spider mites are microscopic fiends that suck the life out of your plant. Brown or yellow leaves will indicate their presence and they love arid climate so keep the humidity high for your orchid.
Snails & slugs- These slimy creatures love leaves, and your orchid is no exception.
Viruses- Viruses usually mark the end for your orchid. These incurable diseases are hard to identify and if you plant is infected you should discard it. Signs to looks for are deformed flowers, weird growth patterns, and streaking patterns on leaves.
Pets- They mostly won’t bother your orchid, however, some might think your orchid is a snack. A good tip would be to keep your orchid out of reach of potential orchid-loving animals.
Being vigilant in looking for pests or diseases that make have taken over your orchid will help you have a healthy orchid. This will also help you find pests and disease early, which will increase your chance of saving your orchid.
Solutions for your Infested Orchid
If you plant gets infested do not fear, there are plenty of solutions to your pest problem.
Beneficial insects- A great alternative to insecticides, which kill all insects not just the evil ones. Many garden stores sell ladybugs and praying mantises to release in your garden. Spiders also eat many plant pests.
Soapy water- A great way to safely and effectively kill pests. Spray it on the tops and bottoms of leaves. The soap will kill all the insects it has direct contact with. You can buy insecticidal soap at a gardening center or even make your own.
Rubbing alcohol- A perfect solution for all your scale and mealybug problems. Simply dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and wipe the bugs off. Make sure to rinse all parts you touched with the swab with clean water afterwards.
Insecticides with natural ingredients- These should only be used when absolutely necessary. Always follow the instructions!
Horticultural oils- These kill many pests and can be found at many gardening stores. Make sure to follow the instructions.
Copper strips- This is a perfect way to keep out snails and slugs, which are a big threat to outdoor orchids.
Using the right solution is very important. Using the wrong one could hurt your orchid worse rather than helping it. Using the wrong solution could hurt other plants in your garden as well. There are also multiple solutions that could all help solve the same problem so do your research to find the best remedy.