I love growing mini orchids and love giving tips on how to care for them.
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.
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. You need 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.
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. 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.
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!
- The American Orchid Society—Lots of great checklists, information, tips and guides. They are all free even to non-members.
- Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopedia—A photo orchid encyclopedia with growing guides.
- About Orchids—A guide to orchids. Especially useful for beginners.
Questions & Answers
Question: The flowers have fallen off my orchid. Should I trim the stem or leave it there for future blooms?
Answer: You have two options once the bloom has finished. You can cut the stem to the node or cut the stem right down to the leaf. Cutting it to the node will encourage another bloom or flower spike. If the stem is withered, dry or damaged, the whole stem should be removed. If you decide to cut to the node, make sure to cut it clean at a 45-degree angle about 1/4 inch above the node. Hope this tip helps.
Question: I have a mini orchid with stems and leaves in perfect condition but the flowers are a bit dry and crumpled. How can I give them a bit more life?
Answer: The flowers should last for a considerable time. But once they dry, it will be difficult to get them to last longer. Since I do not know what medium, planter you are using, or how much water you are giving them, it is hard to know what may have caused them to wither. I have had some blooms lasting from a couple of weeks up to a month and a have, depending on the variety.
Question: I bought a Teacup Orchid and the blooms fell off. I watered once a week and it sits near a window with no direct sun. What do I need to do to keep it blooming?
Answer: Most orchids only bloom once a year...some more often. But none of mine bloom year round. A lot of the ones that come from box stores or supermarkets are bred to have a bloom for show. Most are not taken care of correctly, especially if they sit there for a while. You can find the orchid society on line. Investigate different varieties and invest on one from a reputable buyer. It sounds like you are doing everything else ok
Question: Will an orchid rebloom if it has lost all of its blooms?
Answer: Mine bloom from March To April every year. One of the best things you can do is to fertilize them with a good orchid fertilizer. Follow the directions on the package, and you should be successful.
Question: I have a multi-stem mini orchid, the roots are lovely and green and so are the leaves but the small flowers look dry and the buds are dry and falling off, does this plant need extra misting between watering?
Answer: It depends on the area where you have your orchids. They want to be in an area that is between 65-80 degrees, They also like indirect sunlight and humidity. I would try misting if your plant seems dry.
Question: I was given a mini orchid. The main stock was cut down to leaves. Seems healthy but can’t get it to bloom. What can I do?
Answer: The most common reason that an orchid does not bloom is insufficient light. It should not be in direct sun, but it does need to get enough sun daily. The leaves should be a nice light grassy green. A second reason may be that you are not fertilizing your plant. I like to use an orchid fertilizer that I mix with water. Another reason may be that there is no difference in the temperature where you have them. They need to have a difference of 8-10 degrees at night to encourage blooms.
Question: I have a three-inch teacup orchid that I water once a week with about half a cup of water. It blooms every 6 months and sprouted a new leaf and flower stem. Roots are growing over the pot. It is in full bloom as of right now and I have had it since October of 2016. Also, I don't know if I am overwatering as it grows quickly, started blooming only three orchids and has now moved to six. Should I keep doing what I am doing or should I repot and water a little less?
Answer: Your orchid should only be watered when the growing medium is dry. Make sure to allow that water to soak the medium but drain any excess water from the plant so that you do not get root rot. It is normal to get roots over the pot. These are called arial roots, In nature. The roots should be a white color. One sign of over watering is when the root stays deep green. If you see more than two of these roots coming out of your container, it is time to go to the next sized container. Make sure when you repot the plant that you clean off all the growing medium off the roots. Make sure to clip off any damaged or dead roots with the scissor that you have wiped with alcohol. Sounds like your plant is doing nicely.
Question: Can I leave the plastic cover it came with it on or remove it?
Answer: You should remove the plastic cover and let the plant breathe.
Question: I have purchased a mini orchid which came in a round glass bowl, grown in moss. So no drainage, the instructions said to water every 2 weeks. I've followed this and found 1 leaf has fallen off and flowers dry up. What do you suggest is the best way to look after my mini orchid?
Answer: The first thing that I would suggest is that you get a orchid clay pot ( you can get them in Lowes) just an inch or two larger than the plant itself. I would replant it in orchid potting medium following the directions on the bag. I have personally never had good luck with any orchid planted in a bowl, though lots of florists send them that way. Orchids need to drain the water out or the roots will rot. Once you get it replanted, just water once a week or when the potting mixture becomes dry.
Your Mini Orchid Stories
Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on September 03, 2019:
There are three things that determine how well your orchid grows, light, water and fertilizer. Doing all of these things in the right proportion is essential to making a success of your plant. Indirect light is one thing to consider. It is also important to use a quality growing medium. Water when the medium is dry. I like to mist them every day. Here is another resource https://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-miniature-orchi... Good luck with your orchid
Debbie on September 02, 2019:
I am a first time mini orchid grower. What is the very best tip to successfully grow a mini orchid?
Janda Raker from Amarillo, Texas on July 07, 2017:
Wow, Linda! So you have five chances to succeed with your most recent gift orchids! I only have one, but I'm hopeful. Mine has just lost the last of about 12 blooms that it came with, so let's see if I can keep it alive and make it bloom again, using your suggestions! Thanks!
Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on July 07, 2017:
My daughter gave me a white one last summer and I got it to bloom in January. I live in Florida and have a sun room. Most of my plant collection is there. Was surprised at this one because it came from Walmart. My son sent me 4 from a florist for Moms day, so we shall see
Janda Raker from Amarillo, Texas on July 06, 2017:
Thanks for this info. I'm trying to learn to keep a "gift" orchid alive!
Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on March 19, 2014:
@Elsie Hagley: Appreciate it. I am a huge orchid fan and still learning more and more about them
Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on March 18, 2014:
Beautiful article. Love orchids you have some very nice pictures here. Thanks for sharing.
PlantNerd on August 19, 2013:
I also find the mayo trick fascinating. I will have to try this...
Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on May 02, 2013:
@anonymous: Yes, I agree. I have lost a few when I started growing them. Those were ones that I purchased at Walmart, just to test the water. They looked good when I bought them, but did not last long. Had a little more luck with the Lowe's stock
anonymous on April 23, 2013:
A word of caution~ seems Wal-Mart really has no interest in all types of Orchids, except as 4 a "Special Promo"~ depending on the time of year. I found they were diseased, root rot etc..
anonymous on October 05, 2012:
When the bloome die off do I cut the long steam off ?
Fay Favored from USA on October 02, 2012:
I'm not much of an orchid fan, but I do like the mini version. Lovely lens.
Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on August 10, 2012:
I have never tried growing orchids -- it always seemed scary. Maybe I willl try it now.
anonymous on July 05, 2012:
I received 2 orchids for mother's day , a teacup & a phalaenopis which were both in full bloom. The teacup just dropped it's last bloom & I need to know if you cut the bloom stem off like on the phalaenopis.
DeannaDiaz on May 31, 2012:
Very beautiful pictures! I have orchids outside and I am learning how to take care of them.
aurora7 on May 30, 2012:
I love orchids. I wish I had a mini orchid.
KimGiancaterino on May 08, 2012:
The mini orchid in our kitchen window just bloomed and should last through the summer. I will have to try your mayonnaise trick!