If you're like me, caring for something as delicate looking as an orchid can be intimidating, but these plants are surprising little creatures. They can be some of the easiest and most beautiful houseplants to grow.
Orchids are a vast and elegant family. There are some thirty-five thousand naturally occurring species from all over the world. The family is divided into four major groups based on whether they grow in trees, on rocks, decaying vegetation or in sand.
If you're a beginner at growing orchids, I recommend that you start with the Phalaenopsis orchid. They produce spectacular sprays of blooms in solid or variegated, white, pink, lavender, yellow and even red. When you select one go for a plant with healthy foliage and mature flower buds rather than open blooms.
The reason the Phalaenopsis orchid is a favorite houseplant of mine is that it will take low light conditions and when it comes to temperature, if you're comfortable, it is too. Phalaenopsis enjoy a temperature range similar to what we prefer, about 70 to 80 degrees during the day, but a bit cooler at night. This makes them the perfect companions in our homes.
When it comes to soil, orchids really don't grow in soil at all. They grow in the bark of fir trees and some growers like to create a blend of fifty-fifty fir bark and lava rock.
Now when it comes to feeding, orchids are light eaters. You only need to fertilize them with twenty-five percent of the recommended amount on a liquid fertilizer label. And they should be fed about every other week. Orchids hate salt build-up from fertilizer so it's important to wash that out when you water.
If growing something this beautiful has seemed out of the question for you, you should really give Phalaenopsis orchid a try. I think you'll be surprised at how easy and enjoyable they are to have around.