Five ‘little care’ tips to make orchids ‘bloom for years to come’

Plant rescuer Sarah Gerrard-Jones shares tips caring for orchids

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Phalaenopsis, or moth orchids, are known for their exotic long-lasting flowers which come in a variety of different colours including pink and white. They are easy to look after and grow well in centrally heated rooms, ideal for giving over the festive period. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) said: “Their delicate and unusual beauty has captivated us for centuries, and now they’re cheaper to buy than ever before.

“But don’t throw it away after it has flowered, with a little care they can bloom for years to come.”

To help an orchid rebloom or re-flower the following season, the RHS has shared five top tips for houseplant owners to follow when it comes to looking after an orchid.

1. Flower buds drop if exposed

If exposed to extreme temperatures, orchids may drop their flower buds. This is because they do not like cold draughts and should be kept above 16C at all times to help them grow.

This means Britons should avoid buying orchids from outdoor market stalls or supermarkets where they are positioned close to the open doors.

The RHS said if the houseplant is exposed to these temperatures, they could sustain damage or could die.

Instead, they should be purchased from garden centres or online where they were more likely to have been kept in suitable conditions.

2. Look at the roots

Orchid roots may look different compared to other houseplant roots, and this is because they have aerial roots. 

This means they reach out into the air, rather than dig down into the soil like normal roots.

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Luckily for orchid owners, this makes it easier to see if there is an issue with the plant such as over or underwatering.

The RHS said if an orchid has grey, shrivelled roots, this means the plant is too dry and needs water.

However, orchids are susceptible to root rot so owners should take extreme care to ensure they do not give their plant too much water.

If placing this houseplant in a dry room such as a bedroom, it may be worth misting an orchid everyday to boost its humidity levels. They can also be placed on or near to a tray of wet pebbles to help humidity. 

3. Avoid tap water

Like many houseplants, tap water contains chlorine which can damage the plant, resulting in a houseplant dying.

The RHS said: “Use rainwater or boiled water for misting and watering, they don’t appreciate the chlorine in fresh tap water. Also, make sure water is at room temperature.” 

Rain or distilled water is more suitable for all houseplants as it can help contribute to the nourishment of a plant.

It is also best to make sure water is at room temperature when giving it to them as water too cold can end up shocking them.

4. Watch out when misting

When misting an orchid, it is extremely crucial that the flowers are not misted with water. The RHS explained how this can lead to spots appearing on the petals which can be quite unsightly.

Instead, houseplant owners should mist towards the roots and soil to keep them healthy. It is recommended to do this job every two to three days using tepid water.

5. What to do when an orchid has finished flowering

The RHS explained: “When they’ve finished flowering, cut the flower spike back to the highest node, and they may well re-flower.”

Houseplant owners should also continue to care for their orchid even while it lies dormant, this includes feeding it.

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