Orchids are some of the most popular and rewarding houseplants! There are many, many kinds, each with different requirements, but here are some general care tips for orchids: They like daytime temperatures of about 70F in the summer, 60F in the winter and a drop of ten degrees at night. Cool nights are important. Give them bright light, 10-15 hours each day. Supplement with artificial light in the wintertime. Keep the potting medium moist, but reduce the frequency of watering during the winter months. Mist the leaves occasionally. Keep them out of drafts and shade them from direct sunshine. When the flower is spent, cut back just the old flower and leave the rest of the stem alone. Your orchid will bloom again from shoots off the old stem.
Orchids grow from pseudobulbs, which are actually thickened stem bases. They frequently grow multiple stems that can be separated (each with its own pseudobulb) and potted up as new plants. The best time to repot orchids is in the late winter and spring when the plants are in an active state of growth. Choose a clay pot the next size larger and soak it in water for about 30 minutes. Make sure you have the correct potting medium; i.e., cattleya and phalaenopsis prefer mostly bark chips, and paphiopedilum likes some peat moss or sandy loam added. Loosen the roots from the side of the pot by slipping a knife down around the inside of the pot. Remove the plant carefully and cut off all dead roots with scissors that have been sterilized in alcohol. Fill the pot about one-third full with loose material such as bark chips or perlite, then add some of the new potting mixture. Holding the orchid in the pot so the base of the leaves are at the same height as the edge of the pot, gently fill in the root area with more potting mixture. Take care not to damage roots. Your newly repotted orchids will need frequent misting during the day, but don’t water for a couple of weeks. Keep the plant in the shade during this time. Most orchids only need to be repotted every 2-3 years.