Beginner's Guide to Orchids – IncrediGrow Garden Centre

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Beginner's Guide to Orchids

If you're stepping into the mesmerizing world of orchids for the first time, don't be intimidated! These exquisite flowers may seem mysterious, but fear not. Many orchids are actually quite easy to grow once you grasp their unique needs. Unlike your usual potted plants, orchids are epiphytes, which means they don't grow in soil. Instead, they cling onto the bark of trees, deriving their nutrients and support from there. While most orchids are epiphytic, some, like lady slippers, are semi-terrestrial and thrive in the lush soil of the jungle floor.

Now, the burning question on every orchid novice's mind is, "How do I take care of these delicate beauties?" The truth is, caring for orchids isn't difficult; it's just different. Contrary to their reputation, many orchid varieties make fantastic house plants. With proper care, an orchid can bloom for several months each year and live indefinitely. This makes orchids an incredible value when it comes to blooming plants. A well-cared-for orchid collection can offer a continuous display of blooms throughout the year. To master orchid care, all you need is some fundamental knowledge about these fascinating flowers and how they grow.

Let's dive into the key requirements for proper orchid care:

  1. Water: Most orchids need to be watered once a week. It's important to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and harm the plant.

  2. Light: Position your orchid in a bright windowsill facing either east or west. Orchids thrive when they receive the right amount of light.

  3. Fertilizer: Feed your orchid weekly with a fertilizer specifically designed for orchids. This will provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and vibrant blooms.

  4. Repotting: When your orchid stops blooming, it's time to repot it in fresh orchid mix. This helps ensure optimal root health and encourages future blooming.

As you delve deeper into the world of orchids, you'll discover that they have diverse care needs. The orchid family boasts a staggering variety, with over 880 different types (known as genera) and more than 22,000 species. These numbers continue to grow, making orchids the largest and most diverse flowering plant family. Most orchids are tropical plants that exist as epiphytes, gracefully clinging to trees for support. Some orchids are lithophytes, which means they grow on or among rocks. The remaining orchids are terrestrials, thriving in the fertile soil found on the jungle floor.

Given this immense diversity, providing general guidelines for orchid care can be challenging. However, only a few dozen species are widely produced, and even fewer are readily available at local nurseries.

There are several orchid species and hybrids that are commonly grown and traded in Canada. Here are some of the popular orchids you can find in Canada:

  • Phalaenopsis Orchids: Phalaenopsis, also known as moth orchids, are among the most popular orchids grown in Canada. They have beautiful and long-lasting flowers in various colors, making them suitable for indoor cultivation.
  • Cymbidium Orchids: Cymbidiums are favored for their vibrant and often fragrant flowers. 

  • Dendrobium Orchids: Dendrobiums come in a wide range of colors and sizes. They are adaptable and can be grown both indoors and outdoors, depending on the specific variety and the climate in different regions of Canada.

  • Oncidium Orchids: Oncidiums, also known as dancing lady orchids, are known for their beautiful sprays of flowers. They have a diverse range of colors and patterns and are popular among orchid enthusiasts.

    Paphiopedilum Orchids: Paphiopedilums, or slipper orchids, are valued for their unique and exotic-looking flowers. They have interesting pouch-like structures and can thrive in the indoor environment.

  • Miltoniopsis Orchids: Miltoniopsis, often referred to as pansy orchids, have striking flowers that resemble pansies. They require cooler temperatures and higher humidity, making them suitable for indoor cultivation in Canada.
  • Brassavola Orchids: Brassavola orchids feature fragrant white flowers and are known for their nighttime fragrance. They can be grown outdoors in warmer regions of Canada or indoors in a suitable environment.

  • Cattleya orchids are prized for their vibrant and fragrant blooms, making them popular among orchid enthusiasts and collectors. Their flowers can last several weeks, providing a spectacular display. They are commonly grown both indoors and outdoors in suitable climates.