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by - February 04, 2019

How to care for orchids: how often do you water orchids? How to rebloom? Repotting? How to fertilize? See my complete gorgeous orchid care guide.

I get compliments about my orchids all the time. Friends, family and people that see photos of my plants ask me how I grow healthy orchids. My collection ranges from Phalaenopsis to Cattleya to Rhyncholaeliocattleya. They are such elegant flowers that can make home look more expensive on a budget. Today I will show you easy-to-follow tutorials so that you can care for your orchids too, not only learning how to keep them alive, but having them thriving and flowering.


Did you know that one in seven flowering plants is an orchid? Still, orchids are for most a mystery in terms of care. As an owner of numerous healthy orchids, I can understand the questions that many plant lovers have. Maybe you bought or received an orchid and you have no idea how to take care of it? Is your orchid withering or not blooming at all? Or is your orchid in need of a repot?

In this article, I want to answer and clarify your questions, while showing you the correct and easy ways on how to care for orchids. While there are about 28.000 orchid species, my advice will refer to the most popular ones, that are generally found in flower shops.

Most importantly, you must keep in mind these 4 factors for healthy orchids:

  • moisture level
  • temperature
  • light
  • feeding

I will tackle each below, but let’s start first with the mistakes you should not make if you want healthy orchids.

how to care for orchids tips
how to care for orchids (tips)


Many years ago, when my mother received an orchid, I was amazed by its beauty. However, as an orchid newbie at that time, I did not knew how to care of it and I was making mistakes that meant that her beautiful orchid was doing very poorly. After researching, I was able to make the orchid healthy again and I still have it today.

After many years of correct orchid care, I am sharing with you what mistakes to not make if you want to keep your orchid alive:

  • do not use regular indoor plant soil (the correct orchid bark from https://amzn.to/2t6RKmJ)
  • do not use opaque pots (use transparent orchid pots: size 6″ from https://amzn.to/2G7oO6W / size 5.5″ from https://amzn.to/2GkZ1Ye / size 4.5″ from https://amzn.to/2t3hpg7)
  • do not let water sit in the tray, because it will make the plant rot
  • do not use general fertilizer (use the special orchid fertilizer from https://amzn.to/2GfU033)
  • do not put your orchid in the cold or in too much heat
  • do not let your orchid sit where it is a constant wind blowing
  • do not move your orchid outside


Watering orchids is an essential step to ensure you keep your plant alive and well. The technique is different compared to other flowers. This is where so many people make mistakes. Here is my tutorial on how to water orchids the right way:

  • take a large enough bowl from. Make sure to use this only for orchids.
  • place the orchids inside the bowl and put lukewarm water inside. It does not have to be filled too much, until the half of the pot is alright.
  • let your orchids soak for 1 hour
  • take them out of the water and let the pots sit on a flat hard surface, to leak the excess water for 1 hour
  • put them gently back to their usual place

Generally, most orchids need time for their soil to dry between waterings. How to know when to water orchids? How often to water orchids? Orchid roots turn a vibrant green when they absorb moisture from watering. This means that they do not need any more water.

how often to water orchids
how often to water orchids

With days passing by, the orchid roots lose this moisture and they become a more muted green, towards grey. Usually this is around 1-2 weeks after watering, depending on the room’s climate. It is a sign that the orchids need to be watered again, using the tutorial above.

How do you tell if you are over watering or under watering? If the potting mix is damp, the roots look mushy and dark while the leafs turn yellow, it might mean that you over watered orchids. If the leafs look wrinkled, the potting mix is dry and the roots are a shade of grey green, it might mean that you under water orchids.


Should orchids be in direct sunlight? Do orchids love the shade or the sunlight? To answer your questions, please know that orchids generally do not like direct sunlight, as it is too harsh for them. Direct sunlight burns their leafs. On the other hand, placing an orchid all day in the shade will make it in need of light, slowing down its health and growth.

Generally, orchids like to be placed near the window, in order to get light but not directly. A trick to see if your plant has enough light is to check its leaf. If the orchid leafs are a very dark green, they might need more sunlight. If they are spotted or yellow, they might be burned by the Sun.

Because they love light for their roots, it is important to not use an opaque pot. Always use a transparent pot.


When do you need to repot your orchid? Many orchids come in pretty but opaque containers that are surprisingly wrong for them, because orchids need transparent pots to be healthy. If you received or bought the orchid in a opaque container, you need to repot the plant as soon as. Is your plant getting too small for the pot? Did you over water your orchid? In those cases, I also recommend orchid repotting. Wonder how to repot an orchid? It is actually quite simple. You just need to:

  • buy a special transparent orchid pot (see below for best orchid pots)
  • get the orchid out of its original pot slowly
  • buy a sharp pair of pruning shears
  • sterilize the shears with rubbing alcohol
  • cut the roots and leaves that are dried or black/brown and mushy
  • rinse the healthy roots with lukewarm water
  • gently put the orchid inside the new pot
  • surround it with a new good quality orchid bark
  • make sure to not cover its leafs
  • do not water it for 1 week
  • after 1 week from repotting, follow your orchid watering schedule as usual

My guide above will help you easily repot orchids safely.

how to transplant an orchid
how to transplant an orchid


Can orchids grow outside in a healthy way? The answer is no. Orchids have their origins in the tropical climates, therefore are not suited for our 4 season’s weather. This is the reason why orchids shouldn’t be kept outside, because they dislike cold weather and direct harsh sunlight.

What temperature can orchids tolerate? The best room temperature for orchids is between 50° and 80° F (10° to 27° C).


Pruning orchids means to cut the spikes. I do it too and it helps my orchids, however there are strict rules. To avoid infecting the plant, always clean the pruning shears with rubbing alcohol.

If the flowers have fallen, there are not buds and the spike is green, cut a bit above the first node, counting from the ground up. This will help the plant focus its energy to the roots, promoting better health and future reblooming.

In contrast, if the spike is dry and brown or yellow, you can cut it below the first node.

pruning orchids
pruning orchids


Over watering and the lack of light are the main causes why orchids are unhealthy. As I have said above, it is best to buy good quality transparent pots especially made for these plants. I have chosen below the ones that I consider to be the best pots for orchids. This is because they have holes to promote aeration and drainage, a raised center to avoid stagnant water and they are made of clear plastic that enables light to reach.

Furthermore, how to choose the right size for the orchid pot? Look at the roots. If they seem to overflow, it is time for a slightly bigger pot. For example, if the old pot was 4.5″, buy a 5.5” pot etc.


Orchid care is a vast subject. Therefore, I highly enjoy reading about it myself, finding new techniques and discovering new things. If you want to explore more about how to care for orchids, I recommend the following book:

What better way to celebrate and discover more gorgeous orchids than having in your collection the following books, full of orchid images. These make gorgeous coffee table books, besides the large amount of interesting information.

how to care for orchids
how to care for orchids

I hope my article about how to care for orchids will help you keep our plant healthy and gorgeous.


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