‘Essential’ houseplant jobs to ensure ‘tricky’ orchids thrive

Orchids: Expert shares tips for looking after plant

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Orchids make a great addition to any room in the home, adding colour as well as improving air quality. There are various types of orchids, although the moth orchid is ideal for beginners. With spring just around the corner, many Britons will be looking for tips on how to make their houseplants thrive.

1. Pruning

Pruning an orchid can not only help it last longer, as well as flower more, but it will also ensure dead and diseased leaves are being removed.

Jo Lambed, founder of Beards & Daisies, explained: “Orchids are up there as one of the most beautiful plants around, but they have a little bit of a reputation for being tricky to look after.

“To get the best out of yours and ensure your plant continues to bloom, pruning is an essential part of its care.”

For healthy, green spikes, find a node under the lowest blower bloom and trim one inch just above that node.

If the spike is unhealthy and brown, cut all the way back to the base of the plant to encourage new growth.

2. Watering

Experts at Baby Bio® explained: “Watering your orchid correctly is vital to keeping it happy and healthy. 

“Orchids are susceptible to root rot, so it will eventually die if it’s allowed to sit in wet potting mix. Likewise, roots may shrivel and dry out if conditions are too dry. 

“In winter, watering once every 10 days is usually enough to keep it thriving, but it’s always best to check the dampness of the compost before watering to ensure you aren’t overwatering it. 

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“Ideally, you’ll want to water it when the potting mix is almost dry, but not completely dry.”

Orchids can also benefit from being misted, particularly in the winter months when the central heating is on.

It can help to boost humidity as well as prevent common overwatering. The experts also recommended using tap water when hydrating an orchid, but making sure it is room temperature.

They added: “We recommend traditional watering from above using tepid water, as opposed to using ice cubes or cold tap water, as cold temperatures can shock the roots and prevent healthy growth.

“If your orchid is potted in a grow pot, you can also water by filling the outer container with tepid water so that the whole compost in the pot is covered. 

“Leave to stand in the water for one hour, then drain off the water. Leave to drain for another hour to avoid it sitting in water, then put the water to one side, as this can be used to water your other houseplants.

3. Repot

Generally, orchids will need a new home every year or two, and the best time to do this is usually a couple of weeks after it has finished flowering.

You’ll know when it’s time for a bigger pot because the root system may be tangled and tight, meaning it does not have enough room to grow.

Experts at Baby Bio® said: “When potting your orchid, start by taking a bark-based orchid compost which promotes aeration to the roots and drainage, and cover it in boiling water in a large bucket. 

“Allow the mixture to sit for half an hour, then drain. Next, remove your orchid from its current pot by tipping the container to the side and gently teasing the plant and its roots free.

“Add a little of the potting mix to the bottom of the new container, then place the orchid in the pot so that it sits comfortably level with the top of the container and fill the gaps around the side with more potting mix. 

“Consider using a clear plastic pot so that you can monitor root health easily.”

4. Feed

Orchid owners should feed their houseplants with every water for the “brightest blooms”, according to the plant experts.

While orchids may not need too much water now, within the next month they will be in active growth once again and may be thirsty, which means owners can feed them more often.

There are a variety of different feeds on the market, but make sure to use one specially formulated for orchids.

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