how to care for orchids photo by h michael miley You may think this is a funny post for an interior designer to write, but orchids are a mainstay in interior design.  Sculptural and colorful, they are living plants that provide months of beautiful blooms.  Plants add so much to a room and to me a project is not complete without a little greenery.  But purchasing floral arrangements weekly can be expensive and time-consuming, but place an orchid on top of that stack of books and you are good to go for months.  If...you can keep it alive and perhaps even coax it into blooming again.

Water: I've heard over and over to let your orchids dry out between waterings, but in my experience the soil/moss/bark should always be a little moist (this could be because I live in a bone-dry climate).  I don't want the roots to be soaking in water, but by not allowing the plant material to dry out completely my orchids are alive much happier.  I also keep a small bottled mister nearby and spritz occasionally.

Light: My house receives no direct light through the windows (great for the harsh Arizona sun), so finding a spot for my orchid was not easy.  You don't want to place your orchid in direct sunlight, but somewhere that get sufficient bright indirect sun.  Right now it is placed in the room that receives northern light.

Temperature: You want your house to be between 70-80 degrees, which is probably where it is at anyway.  A little cooler at night is okay, but you probably don't want to turn your heater/air conditioner off if you go on vacation.

Fertilizer: You can buy orchid fertilizer at a nursery or home improvement store.  By following the instructions, it helps the orchid rebloom.

Reblooming: Once your orchid is done blooming, you can cut the stalk off at the base.  I like to wait until the stalk has dried up.  By continuing the care you've provided while it was flowering you should be able to get the plant to rebloom.

title image: H. Michael Miley

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