How to Care for Mini Teacup Orchids
Who doesn't love orchids? I have never met anyone who does not appreciate the delicate flowers or colors that orchids bring to delight us. While you may not want to tackle growing full-grown orchids, these mini teacup delights will still bring you great pleasure. They are perfect for smaller homes or apartments where there is limited space. They just need a windowsill and some care. You will be surprised how much fun they can be.
I have started growing mini orchids because I am fascinated by their tiny perfection. I like the fact that they don't need a lot of space. I am looking forward to a growing collection.
The Biggest Orchid Mistake
The biggest mistake you can make with orchids is overwatering. While they need to be moist, they will rot if they are standing in water. Feel the soil. If it is moist, leave it alone.
How to Care for Mini Orchids
Orchids have gotten a bum rap when it comes to being able to grow them. It's not all that difficult. More common sense than anything. Here are the tips you need to keep your minis in good shape.
Watering and Humidity
Pour distilled water into the soil in the pot once per week during the winter months until it is saturated and water runs out of the bottom drainage holes. When the temperature warms, increase watering to twice per week.
Mini orchids prefer higher humidity levels of 70 to 80 percent. The minimum humidity is 50 percent. Mist indoor plants between waterings to keep humidity levels high.
Fill a shallow bowl or dish with a single layer of pebbles and set the miniature orchid pot on top of the pebbles. Pour distilled water into the dish until it covers 3/4 of the rock height to increase the humidity level around the miniature orchid plant.
Place the miniature orchid pot in a bright windowsill but out of direct sunlight, which will burn the fragile leaves. If the leaves turn yellow or red, the sunlight is too bright, and you should move the orchid to another location. Mini orchids flourish best when placed near a southern or eastern facing window. Western windows frequently prove to be too hot.
Place a thermometer next to the window where the miniature orchid is located and ensure the temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 60 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Even miniature orchids need support so their stems don't break. If you purchase mini orchids from a home center or nursery, they will come with a supporting rod to keep the stem upright.
Orchid Tip #1
Rub mayonnaise on your orchid leaves for that special "shine" you see in professional pictures. Take a tiny amount of mayo and rub it on your leaves. Buff with a paper towel gently, and your leaves will shine (with no harm to the plant).
How to Pot Mini Orchids
- Turn your orchid and pot upside down, with one hand held over the potting material to prevent loose potting matter from falling out.
- Tap the bottom of your pot and/or use a sterilized knife to lightly scrape around the inside of the pot and potting matter.
- Gently remove the orchid from the pot, and remove old potting matter from the roots with your hands. You might need to gently shake the roots to remove any material that sticks to the roots.
- Remove old, loose, damaged, or diseased roots by using a sterilized cutting tool. A pair of garden shears works great, or you can also use a knife.
- If the roots are healthy for the most part, position the orchid in a pot one size larger than the previous pot. You should position your orchid with the old growth toward the back, so that the new growth has space to grow (frontwards). Monopodial orchids (orchids that grow upwards rather than sideways) should be repotted in the center of the container.
- Place the plant so that the new shoots are level with the pot rim. Position it in the new pot at the same depth as it was prior to repotting.
- Fill the bottom of your pot with a layer of Styrofoam peanuts to ensure proper drainage (optional). Then add your fresh potting matter.
- Place a wooden stake at the center of your pot and secure the new and old leaves carefully with string.
Orchid Tip #2
When repotting orchids, soak the potting medium overnight in hot water. Use a large bucket, as the material will expand. The next day, drain the water in a strainer and re-rinse with warm water.
How to Fertilize Your Orchid
A good orchid fertilizer should have the right balance of nutrients.
- Nitrogen—Total amount should be 20 percent or less.
- Phosphorus—Any amount greater than zero.
- Calcium—Total amount should be 5 percent or less.
- Magnesium—Total amount should be 8 percent or less.
Your fertilizer should also contain trace amounts of elements like sodium, iron, and copper. Fertilize your orchids when they're in "active" growth stages.
Drench your potting material with a thorough rinsing of water every two weeks to wash out excess fertilizer minerals. This process is often called "leaching." Remove any "crusted" salt and mineral deposits left by your fertilizer on your orchid's pot using a damp cloth.
- Never apply more fertilizer than the dose recommended on the packaging. For generic fertilizers (not orchid-specific), I usually like to play it safe and use about half the recommended dose.
- Never fertilize orchids that are in sick or in poor condition. Nurse them back to full health first. Once they appear fully healthy again, then you can begin reintroducing fertilizer.
- Never fertilize orchids with root damage. This is literally like pouring salt in your orchid's wound. Ouch!
- Never apply fertilizer to dry potting matter. You should always ensure your potting matter is thoroughly soaked before applying fertilizer.
Common Orchid Growing Mistakes to Avoid
- Most orchids need only about 1/4 cup of water per week. Overwatering causes the roots of the orchids to rot. So, limit your watering for healthier plants.
- Orchids in their natural environment would grow on trees. So they should never be grown in soil. Use a natural orchid mix, and you will be happy with the results
- Always have your orchids in indirect sunlight. Never place them in a sunny window. They should be placed in a south- or east-facing window.
- Your orchids need humidity. You can do this by misting them or placing water in pans underneath them.
We always love to hear from other mini orchid growers. Tell us about your success and all other orchid ideas and tips. Or just stop by and say hello! We always love to hear from you!