Orchids are undoubtedly among the very amusing flowers and ones with a truly unique appearance. Orchids make up a huge portion of the flowering plant family and have around 25,000 different species.
Their differences in color, size, shape, foliage, growth patterns, blooming seasons, etc. make them a very diverse kind of flora among the many others. Orchids are greatly used for their ornamental purposes and are popularly grown as indoor and outdoor plants.
They are also considered to be among the easy and straightforward houseplants to grow and do not require too much attention and care.
Their brightly and differently shaped and brightly colored flowers are their main attraction. The blooming of orchids is a true sight of beauty and only requires certain key elements to be kept in mind while gardening.
Different species of the orchid plants have different blooming periods and varied dormant periods. These factors along with the environmental conditions and supply of proper light, moisture, and nutrition play a lead role in determining the flowering capacity and frequency of the various orchid plants.
Commonly the summer and spring seasons are the growing seasons for most orchid plants and they bloom in the winter or fall months, however, the opposite period in blooming can also be observed in the flowering of the orchids. Blooming time and frequency differs from each variety to the other as all of these plants are unique in themselves.
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How often does an Orchid bloom in a year?
The natural blooming period of orchids differs from type to type. Commonly these plants flower during the winter and fall months after their growing period in the summer and spring seasons.
The growing period in the orchids is mainly for the growth of its roots and stems and flowering usually takes place later.
In stores, orchids can be made to bloom off-cycle, that is, the plants are forced to bloom even during the non-flowering season.
Therefore, the orchid plant you buy may have an entirely different blooming schedule than what the store or cultivators sold it for. Thus, it is always better to know about your orchid type and find out the time for its flowering.
Orchids usually bloom only once every year, although some species may even bloom twice or more than twice per year. The flowers also have varying durations.
Where some orchid flowers last only a day, some others can last up to weeks or sometimes even months. All of this is depended on the type of orchids you have.
For instance, the Phalaenopsis orchids bloom once every year and bear flowers for a month. Oncidium, Cattleya, and Dendrobium orchids can bloom either once or twice a year and their flowers can last up to two months.
Factors such can improper sunlight, temperature, over or under-watering, pests and diseases on the plant, inefficient nourishment and fertilizing, wrong positioning and potting, etc. can also hamper the flowering in orchids.
Providing the correct balance of everything results in timely flowering, otherwise, the flowering can either be delayed or even canceled. Re-potting the orchid is an essential task but many a time it results in no flowering of the orchids for the year or even two years.
Thus, the time of bloom, frequency of blooming, and the duration of the flowers can vary depending on the variety of orchid species. Make sure you are well aware of your plant’s growth and flowering routines and supply them with the necessary environmental and nutritional conditions to expect good full blooms of the vibrant orchid flowers.
Let us know about some more detailed tips on how to take care of the orchid plants so that they grow well and efficiently bloom into beautiful bright colored flowers.
Care tips and how to grow and maintain an Orchid plant
Depending on the type of orchid you own, the care tips and needs for your plant’s growth may vary. But there are some simple guidelines which can be followed to ensure the good and healthy development of your plant regardless of its difference in species.
Here are some of the major elements that need to be kept in mind while growing orchid plants at homes and in your gardens.
1. Proper potting of the plant
Selecting proper pots is the very first step when it comes to planting an orchid at home or outdoors. The pots you choose to grow your orchids in must have good drainage holes so that the water can easily be released from the soil and there isn’t any unnecessary excess water held by the soil.
This water if not drained out can lead to water-logging in the soil and result in root rot causing permanent damage to the orchid plant. Pick a pot depending on the size of your orchid plants.
There must be enough space in the pot to let the plant grow and for the roots to spread. To ensure a clean and spill-free drainage, the pot can be placed on a saucer so that the excess water gets stored in the saucer instead of spilling out.
Along with selecting a pot, it is also necessary to choose a good soiling medium for the orchids. A well-drained soil like a bark-based or moss-based one is suitable for the orchids to grow well.
These soils help the roots to receive proper oxygen and facilitate aeration and also prevent water-logging as they have proper-drainage qualities.
2. The positioning of the Orchid Plants
Placing your orchid plant in the right place is very essential as it decides the sunlight, warmth, and air circulation that it will receive. It is best to place your orchids by the south or east-facing window.
These plants require a bright but indirect supply of sunlight to bloom and grow. When placed by a South or east window, the light they get isn’t too harsh and war, and is also less intense.
If the potted orchid is kept by a west window then it should be kept covered and protected by a sheer curtain on the windows. North-facing windows do not provide enough sun for the plant’s light needs.
Depending on your plant’s sunlight requirement, choose a suitable location in your house. If growing outdoors, it is advisable to keep the plant under the shade of a bigger plant or tree, in this way they get the required amount of sunlight indirectly. Placing the pots by windows also enables good air circulation for the orchids.
3. Temperature setting for Orchids
Orchids are usually easy to grow in room temperatures. Too extreme climates and frost are not tolerable for the orchid plants. Generally, an ideal temperature range for growing orchids is around 60 to 75. Cooler during the night and about 10 to 15 degrees warmer in the daytime is an optimal condition. Try avoiding temperatures cooler than the given range as it increases the possibility for the orchids to die freezing.
4. Watering needs of the orchid plants
Watering the orchids must be done frequently but the plants should not be over-watered. The soil must be left to dry out between watering and re-watering of the plants.
Orchids have varying water needs and it is best to check the soil to find out when the plant would prefer being watered. After every one or two days check the soil by touching and pressing down an inch of your finger into the soil, if you can feel no moisture, it is time to water the plant.
If the potting soil still feels wet then allow it to dry before you water the plant again. It is best to pour water on the potting medium and not over the foliage and the flowers of the orchid plant.
Climate change and differences in levels of humidity based on seasons can be a factor which affects your watering schedule. Usually, watering every 3 to 4 times a week in the growing season and lesser in the dormant phase is the way to go.
Checking the level of humidity is also helpful as orchids must be kept in environments with 40% to 60% humidity. If the level of humidity in the surroundings is lesser than 40%, then the orchids can be misted with water once in a day to avoid drying up.
Similarly, if the humidity levels are higher than 60% then the watering schedules can be placed farther apart to ensure dry soil and to avoid the building of fungi and bacteria.
5. Fertilizing the potted Orchid plants
Orchids have specific nutritional requirements and thus there are fertilizers available in the markets that are specially composed to suit the nutritional needs of orchids.
These liquid fertilizers can be diluted with water and added to the orchid plants during their growing season. Feeding the orchids in the spring and summer seasons with fertilizers assists in their development.
These plants also prefer organic matter and it can be added to the soil slowly or it can be mixed along with the potting medium while preparing the soil before planting the orchid.
A balanced fertilizer can be used by reducing its strength to the half. The plants can be fertilized every once or twice a month during their flowering season. Be cautious to not water the plant directly after it has been fertilized as in this way the fertilizer could get washed away.
When the plant is going through its dormancy phase, that is when it bears no flowers and new leaves do not grow, the plant must not be fertilized during such a time.
It is best to leave the plant to rest during this phase instead of over-feeding it or providing any extra nourishment. The fertilizing schedules can be started again once the plant begins to grow new leaves.
6. Pruning the orchid plant
Most orchid stems do not blossom more than just once. If a stem of the orchid plant has already borne flowers then it would not do so again. Although, it is not so in the case of Phalaenopsis and moth orchids, other orchids tend to have this rule.
Thus to keep the orchid bloom regularly, it is necessary to chop off the older stems so that new stems can rise and bear flowers. Some orchids need to be cut from above their pseudobulbs; some can be cut right at the nodes, or in many orchids the stem needs to be cut from entirely.
It is advised to use clean sterile tools and garden equipment so that the plant does not suffer from any mishaps or diseases.
7. Keeping away pests and diseases from the orchid plants
A lot of times, pests and insects infest the orchids defiling their growth and display features. Mealybugs, white scale insects, etc. are common pests found on the leaves and surfaces of the orchid plant.
If the leaves start to appear black, covered with sooty mold, or feel sticky to touch, then it indicates that there are pests on the leaves.
The insects and pests which can be spotted on the plant should be removed by hand. Check the surface of leaves, flowers, under the foliage, etc. to spot bugs and pests and remove them from the plant.
Once removed, the affected portion should be cleaned. A soft cloth or even cotton swabs dipped in soapy water can be used to get rid of the sticky feel. Wipe the foliage using this soapy solution. It prevents the stickiness and also kills any existing insects.
If the orchid bears leave which show white, yellow, cream, or brownish patches and have discolored portions on the plant, then it is a sign of a fungal or microbial disease. Such leaves must be removed to stop the spreading of the disease further to the plant.
Insecticides, fungicides, and pesticides available in stores can also be used to keep away such diseases and pests.
An orchid prefers to be repotted every year or once in two years. You can check the bottom of the pot to find out the growth of the roots and accordingly select a larger and wider pot to transfer your orchid plant.
Keep in mind the preferred potting medium and drainage requirement while choosing a soil mix and a pot. After re-potting the orchid, it usually takes up time to adapt and grow in the new medium. The plant may not even bear flowers for the first year after re-potting.
With all these necessary orchid gardening tips and maintenance techniques in mind, you are ready to plant a new orchid or continue with your plant and can experience the beautiful blooms of the orchid flowers. Happy Gardening!
Hi there! My name is Constance and I am a professional botanist. My enthusiasm for organic farming has led me to start this blog about gardening for beginners!
I write articles and tips on improving your home and garden with less work. I also share my own advice from the perspective of someone who loves all things green – like how to grow vegetables in containers or how to make compost out of kitchen scraps.