Orchids are not hard to grow, if you know how to do it right. Life! asks orchid hobbyist Stanley Ang, who is a member of the Orchid Society of South-east Asia (Ossea), to share his tips.
Selecting the Right Plant
Some orchids are easier to grow and flower than others. Start with a strong, healthy plant. You can tell the plant is in the pink of health, with its firm and green leaves, while the roots are white with a green tip. Mr Ang recommends starting with mini Dendrobiums, Oncidiums and Cattleyas.
Most orchids needs porous media. Charcoal, which is slow to decay and can absorb toxic substances, and coconut husks, which is lightweight and can hold a moderate amount of water, are commonly used. As orchids are non-parasitic, the roots use the medium only to anchor itself, so there is no need to worry about the orchids affecting your plants. Some orchids grow well also without a medium.
Light and Temperature
Many orchids are from tropical climate with good air, plenty of sunlight and a warm temperature, says Mr Ang. Light is essential for orchids to flower. But direct sunlight may cause sunburn on the leaves. A good rule of thumb, he says, is that the larger the leaf, the less light it needs.
It is important to water your orchid regularly, without overwatering. Rain water is best for the plant and water the plants early in the day to allow time for it to dry properly.
Orchids flower best and are at their healthiest when fed on a regular basis with growth and flowering fertilisers. Follow feeding directions on the product label.