How to Take Care of Potted Orchids

Updated on March 23, 2018
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Thelma is a Filipina expat living in Germany. She is a very creative person and shares tips about anything she has experienced in life.

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Why It's Important to Take Good Care of Orchids

Buying or planting flowers is very easy, but as you may know, keeping them alive is an entirely different story. I have heard stories of people buying beautiful and expensive orchids to decorate their homes only to lose patience and end up throwing their wilting flowers in the bins a couple of weeks later. It's a pity because orchids cost upwards of €10-20 each, depending on the type.

I can't judge too much, though, because several years ago, I went through the same experience. I bought my first Phalaenopsis orchid at a local flower shop. It was very expensive but its beauty compelled me to buy it—even though I knew I didn't have a green thumb. Some of my window plants were dying except for a durable, green lily. I placed the orchid on our windowsill so that I could look at it every day—I was enamored by its simple yet intricate beauty. Sadly, the flowers started to droop a few weeks after. How did this happen? All I had to do was water it, right?

There is a lot that goes into caring for potted orchids. I was fortunate enough to have a sister that happened to work at a Dutch orchid company. She was able to help me revive my orchids and keep them alive! I'll share her suggestions below.

Tips on Caring for Potted Orchids

  • Buy orchids with lots of new blooms. You can enjoy the flowers for longer than you think.
  • Always read the instruction that come with the orchids, or ask the saleslady how to take care of them.
  • Place your potted orchids in a bright area but not in direct sunlight. You can use them as a centerpiece for your table as long as the room is bright enough for the orchids to have sunlight.
  • Each kind of orchid has different watering requirements, especially during the summer and winter, but here are some general guidelines:
    • Water once a week by removing them from their pots and shower them with room-temperature water (at least 16° C) in the sink or bathtub.
    • Let the water drain until there are only a few occasional drips, and put them back in their fancy pots. Dry the leaves of the orchids using a cloth or a tissue paper.
    • In the summer, water the orchids twice a week or when the bark appears dry.
    • In the winter, avoid placing the orchids near heaters, air vents, or any place where a draft of cold air can creep in. Extreme temperatures can dry them out and kill them.
  • Fertilize the orchids once a month with a special orchids fertilizer.
  • Play relaxing music in the room where the orchids are living. They love music, and you'll realize this when you see that your orchids always have new blossoms.
  • Talk to your orchids nicely, and ask them to give you more flowers. You´ll be surprised. They´ll give you what you have asked for—well, at least in my own experience.

Collecting Orchids

My collection of orchids.
My collection of orchids. | Source

After I brought my orchid back to life, I told my sister the good news. I now had enough confidence to buy more orchids. I even started collecting various kinds of orchids—from Vanda (Singapore) to Cattleya—but it was mostly different colors and sizes of Phalaenopsis because they are the easiest to take care of.

When there was an "open day" at my sister´s work, I went with her to see their exhibition of orchids. Not only were they showcasing their inventory, but they were selling at wholesale prices—without the mark-ups you get at the shops!

My obsession with orchids has led me to my current collection of 16 potted orchids—well presented on my four windowsills. Their presence also reached my neighbors. Passersby would in front of our living room window (we live on the ground floor) to appreciate their aesthetic. Some of them even copied what I did, decorating their own windows with orchids. I was very proud of myself.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Phalaenopsis OrchidsPhalaenopsis Orchids
Phalaenopsis Orchids
Phalaenopsis Orchids | Source
Source
Phalaenopsis Orchids
Phalaenopsis Orchids | Source

I Had to Give Away My Orchids

I enjoyed my orchids for only a few months before I had to give them away to my friends and relatives. We were moving to Ireland, and I knew that they would not survive in the cold climate. It broke my heart to have to part ways with my orchid collection, and I hoped their new owners would be able to take care of them. Unfortunately, when I visited a year later, I found that my orchids had either died or didn't blossom anymore. The photos above—except for the one of my collection—were taken before 2008 and are my only remembrances of them.

Taking care of orchids takes a lot of attention and patience. Consider this and the tips listed above before you make a commitment to owning your own orchid!

Thank you for reading my article. Please feel free to leave a comment.

My Dancing Lady Orchids blooming for the first time! This photo was taken on my balcony in the Philippines on May 13, 2013.
My Dancing Lady Orchids blooming for the first time! This photo was taken on my balcony in the Philippines on May 13, 2013. | Source

Do you love to have orchids plants in your house or flat?

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Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Thelma Alberts

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        Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

        You are welcome uNicQue. I hope reading this hub will help you. Thanks for your visit. Have a nice day!

      • uNicQue profile image

        Nicole Quaste 4 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

        Thank you for this hub. My boyfriend just bought me a beautiful orchid, and I'm nervous about it, because I want it to stay as beautiful as it is now.

        Great hub. Thanks again!

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

        Hi Lavender Jade! Yes, I shower the orchids and wait until the water is drained. Then before I put them back into their pots, I wiped off the wet leaves of the orchids. That´s what I mean of keeping them dry. Thanks for dropping by.

      • Lavender Jade profile image

        Lavender Jade 4 years ago from Derbyshire

        Really lovely hub and very informative, I have 3 orchids the Phalaenopsis type they have flowered beautifully this year but I was unsure about the flowers, when you say shower them, which I have never done, but will, can you get the flowers wet, I thought, I maybe wrong, but I thought you had to keep them dry, I may have dreamed it!

        Thank you for the information

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Hi mizjo!

        Thank you for stopping by. I´m no longer living in Ireland, but I did have a few pots of orchids on a bright and warm window sill. They grew very well too with lots of flowers to appreciate not only by me but also by our neighbours there. Sad to say I had to give them to my neighbours before leaving Ireland for Germany.

        I´m sure with your loving and caring hands they will grow beautifully.

        Have a great week!

      • mizjo profile image

        mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

        Very nice article, Thelma. I enjoyed reading it.

        If you're still in Ireland, maybe you could try growing these lovely flowers (which you love) on a bright, warm windowsill?

        I was so sorry your lovely plants got killed without your loving care.

        I'm not as good with orchids as you are. Right now I have two plants I'm trying to save.

        Thanks for the interesting read.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Yes, orchids are one of the beautiful flowers we have on earth and if you know how to take care of them, it´s awesome having them. It´s worth a try. Thanks for stopping by, Phoenix.

      • phoenix2327 profile image

        Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        I think orchids are among the prettiest flowers but I've never had the nerve to keep one as I thought they were hard to look after. I enjoyed reading this.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Hi BkCreative! It´s nice to hear from you again. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate that. You don´t have to wait for the spring to buy orchids for the inside of your home as long as you have the heater on, but don´t put them near it. Enjoy your new orchids. Have a great day!

      • BkCreative profile image

        BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

        Wish I knew this when I was given the gift of some beautiful orchids - my favorite plant. With spring coming I think I will try again. Thanks so much for such a well-written hubs. I feel excited once again.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Hello Justsilvie! Sorry for not answering your comment immediately. I was traveling again. Well, good luck for your try in having a potted orchids. Thanks for sharing, as well as for your visit. Have a great weekend!

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        Justsilvie 5 years ago

        Excellent Hub with some great tips. I look at them at every store that sells them and always afraid to buy, because I have a brown thumb not a green one. Will pick up one next trip and give it a try. Voted up and shared.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Thanks pstraubie48 for your wonderful comment and for sending angels on my way. I appreciate that. Good luck for having new plants, orchids.

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

        This is so helpful. I am a huge plant lover and have always wanted an orchid but truthfully I am a bit intimidated by them. After reading this I feel that I have the information I need to help me give it a try. Thank you for sharing. Sending Angels your way. :) ps

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Hi Eiddwen! Thanks for your comment. I appreciate that. I enjoyed my weekend. Thanks. Have a great week!

      • Eiddwen profile image

        Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

        Interesting, useful and well informed.

        Take care and enjoy your weekend.

        Eddy.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Hi, Natashalh! You don´t have to be afraid. It´s not really difficult to grow orchids as long as you know how to take good care of them. I wish you good luck for your coming orchids. Let me know later how it is. Thanks for stopping by.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Hi Tammy! Just think positively that your coming orchid will grow healthy. With your love and care, the orchid will reward you with beautiful flowers. Thanks for your visit.

      • Natashalh profile image

        Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

        I've always loved orchids but have been afraid to purchase them because I'd been told they were difficult to grow. Now I want to rush out and buy one! They are such beautiful plants and I feel empowered by your tips. Thank you.

      • tammyswallow profile image

        Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

        These are just gorgeous. I have never invested in them because I didn't want to kil them.. LOL! This looks like something I could do. Beautiful and helpful!

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Well, we have the same reason why our orchids died. We left them for Ireland! You can start again with another orchids just like me, but this time you´ll know how to take care of them. You´re always welcome to visit my articles RunningDeer. Have a lovely weekend! Thanks for your visit.

      • RunningDeer profile image

        RunningDeer 5 years ago from Iowa

        Clearly you know what you are doing. Great tips! I'm trying as hard as I can to get my orchids to rebloom, the poor things. I've had another orchid that would constantly rebloom. Sadly though, my sister killed it by leaving it in front of the A/C all summer while I was gone studying abroad in Ireland. I'll try some of your tips and get back to you. Thanks for the info!

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Thank you rajan jolly for your wonderful comment, for sharing and pinning this hub. I appreciate that. Have a lovely weekend!

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        Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

        Thelma, the orchid photos are lovely. Especially in the last video. A very useful hub providing practical tips for orchid care.

        Voted up, useful and interesting. Sharing this and pinning as well.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Hi moonlake! What a pity your friend got rid of her orchids! You can try one pot of orchid in your house, this time you can take care of it the way I stated here in this hub. You´ll never know, it might grow. Thanks for your visit and for sharing this to others.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Yes, I have started a trend. It would be nice to see orchids market in Thailand or somewhere in Asia. That´s one of my to do list. I can already smell the wild orchids. Thanks for your visit and for sharing Brett. I appreciate that. Have a great day!

      • moonlake profile image

        moonlake 5 years ago from America

        My friend had beautiful orchids she just recently got rid of them. I have tried to grow them but they don't do well in my house. Yours are so pretty you do a good job taking care of them. Voted up and shared.

      • Brett.Tesol profile image

        Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

        Sound like you started a trend. Over in Thailand where I lived before and shall return to in the future has an orchid market near the border, selling wild orchids ... the smell and scene is beautiful (although, as a hey-fever sufferer the smell is 'muffled' lol).

        Shared, up and useful.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Hi, Mama Kim! Good luck for your coming orchids. I´m sure they will live long inside your house with you taking care of them. Thanks again for your visit and pinning. Have a great week!

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        Sasha Kim 5 years ago

        Wonderful hub Thelma!! I've been wanting to get an orchid ^_^ Now with your hub telling me all the care instructions I will most certainly get one! Thank you for all the great information! Voting and pinning!

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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Thank you randomcreative for your comment. I appreciate that. Have a great day!

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Hi drbj! I got that problem before and was very thankful to my sister as she told me how to take care of them. So you see, I just passed on what I learned. Thanks for stopping by.

      • randomcreative profile image

        Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        Just beautiful! Thanks for all of the great tips.

      • drbj profile image

        drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

        Thanks for these very useful instructions, Thelma. I've had potted orchids before but they never seemed to last very long. Now I've learned how to treat them the way they should be treated - thanks to you.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Hi Vinaya! I had potted orchids at home (Germany) before because I did not have the possibility to let them grow outside the house due to the non tropical weather. In the Philippines, I have the orchids hanging on the trees in our garden. Thanks for stopping by. Have a lovely week!

      • Thelma Alberts profile image
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        Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

        Hi ignugent17! You´re welcome. Yes, some orchids are sensitive and one should know how to take care of orchids before buying them. Thanks for stopping by and for your sharing. Have a great week!

      • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

        Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

        I have always loved orchids in the wild. I have never planted orchids in my home. Thanks for sharing your wonderful tips.

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        ignugent17 5 years ago

        Hi Thelma! This is really very useful. Some orchids are very sensitive and really needs care. Thanks for the tips.

        Voted up and shared!

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