Orchids - Knowledgebase Question

Utopia, ON
Question by parval
December 4, 1999
Could you please give me information about orchids; how do I grow them properly? I'm having problem to grow flowers. I have dendrobium orchids that doesn't want to grow. How many times do I have to water them? Do I need to transplant them after a year? Do I need to put charcoal? In the Philippines, we usually used charcoal to grow orchids. But when I bought the orchids here, its in the tropical topsoil. Could you please give me some advice? I really love orchids.

Answer from NGA
December 4, 1999


Dendrobiums are well adapted to growing indoors, providing you give them the best possible conditions. If yours are not growing well, it may indicate hot, stuffy conditions, or insufficient light. Orchids like a day temperature of about 70F during the summer and 60F during the winter, with a 10 degree drop at night. Cool nights are important to the health and flowering ability of your plant. Orchids require 10-15 hours of light each day, so you may need to supplement natural light with artificial light during the winter months when the days are short. Orchids like moist soil and appreciate being misted once or twice each day. To increase humidity around the plant, place the pot on a layer of rocks in a tray of water. As the water evaporates it will provide moist, humid conditions around your plant. Try adjusting the growing environment and your orchid should recover and begin blooming for you.

Charcoal isn't necessary, but it was probably an easily obtained material in the Phillipines. Small chunks of bark are sometimes used as potting medium here in the states, which might be what your new orchids are growing in. As long as the potting medium is fast-draining, your orchids should thrive.

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