‘Key’ to looking after ‘delicate’ orchids in winter – how to avoid killing your houseplant

Alan Titchmarsh shares tips for looking after moth orchids

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The plant species originates from South-East Asia, the Philippines and Australia and are known for their gorgeous bright colours including pink and white. They have grown in popularity due to their dramatic appearance, with a single flower spike producing beautiful blooms in a long arch. Despite their popularity, orchids have “specific requirements” which can make them tricky to look after. 

With the festive season over, many may have received a moth orchid as a gift and experts at Baby Bio® have shared top tips on how to look after the houseplant.

Baby Bio® explained: “Orchids are wonderfully delicate houseplants that have been firm favourites in households for years thanks to their beautiful blooms which can last for months.

“Yet, it’s no secret that they have specific requirements and therefore must be treated carefully, a reputation which has caused many plant enthusiasts to be wary of owning an orchid.

“The key to orchid care is all in the environment. 

“In their natural habitat, orchids are mainly either epiphytic, meaning they grow on trees, or lithophytic, meaning they grow on rocks.

“Most orchids therefore naturally grow high up in the rainforest treetops on rough bark rather than on the ground in soil.”

This means owners must try to replicate this environment at home as much as possible.

One way this can be done is to pot the orchid in bark-based orchid compost.

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According to the experts, this will help to promote aeration to the roots and drainage, preventing the plant becoming waterlogged.

Baby Bio® added: “Orchid roots will easily rot in wet compost, so allow the plant to dry out in between watering.

“While they are susceptible to overwatering, orchids get most of their moisture from the air and they prefer high humidity.

“Mist the foliage and areial roots daily or place the plant next to a try of wet pebbles to increase air humidity.”

Owners should also place them in rooms that are naturally more humid.

This includes the bathroom or kitchen but they must be kept out of the way of direct heat sources.

Moth orchids also help to slowly release moisture into the air as part of its natural breathing process.

This is great for those suffering from dry skin or chapped lips during the winter months.

The experts continued: “Place your plant in bright but not direct sunlight, as they can burn in mid-afternoon sunshine.

“Most orchid owners will admit that getting their plant to repeat bloom can be extremely difficult.

“Their nutritional needs are unique and need fertilising both when in bloom and dormant. We recommend using an orchid feed like Baby Bio® Orchid Feed with every water for the brightest blooms.

“Once your plant’s flowers have fallen, you can encourage it to rebloom the following season by pruning the whole flower stem and continuing to care for it as usual while it lies dormant.

“Remember that there are many species of orchids, so each should be treated according to its requirements. We recommend the phalaenopsis moth orchid variety for beginners.”

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