Orchid Urban Myths

Orchid myths are nothing new. Some myths cause problems for growers, so I’m going to bust these common misunderstandings about orchid care.

Myth: Orchids are only suited for gardeners with greenhouses or tropical climates.
Growers who have an understanding of basic care can make orchids thrive anywhere. With diverse choices from cool growers to warm growers, there are orchids suited for every home and office. People who live in cold or dry areas need to work extra hard to provide proper temps and humidity, but orchid lovers coax plants into bloom in some surprising places. Want proof? Check out the amazing flowers of Orchid Karma, a fellow orchid blogger in Sweden. Don’t miss her stunning photo gallery.

Myth: Water orchids with ice
Ice is too cold for orchids, and melting ice cubes don’t provide enough water to flush out pots. Some modern hybrids can tolerate ice, but even they will be happier with room temperature water. Save the ice for your drink.

Myth: Don’t fertilize an orchid in bloom
I hear this one all the time, but don’t know how it started. Continue to fertilize orchids while they’re in bloom for optimal plant health. Fertilize weakly, weekly. If an orchid flowers during the winter dormant season, use a weaker fertilizer solution.

Myth: Phals and Paphs like deep shade
It’s true that Phals, or Moth Orchids, and Paphs, or Lady Slippers, don’t want full sun. However, they still need bright light, and they won’t flower if they’re kept too dark. Many will enjoy morning sun.

Myth: Orchid flowers last forever / Orchid is dead when it stops blooming
Since Phals and Cymbidiums can stay in bloom for months, it’s understandable how this myth began. When blossoms drop, that doesn’t mean the plant is dead. All plants go through cycles of flowering, growth, and rest. Healthy plants live to bloom again.

Myth: Don’t water orchids at night
This myth is only partially busted. Of course, in the wild, rain doesn’t fall on a set schedule, and orchids receive moisture at all hours. If pots drain well, and there’s good air flow around leaves and roots, you can water at any time of day. However, growers in warm, humid climates do need to be careful. In those environments, excess water on leaves and flowers at night can lead to fungal or bacterial infections.

Any other orchid urban myths you can think of?

Explore posts in the same categories: Dormancy, Fertilizing, Growing, Problems, Watering

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3 Comments on “Orchid Urban Myths”

  1. Maria G. Says:

    Isn’t it true that orchids don’t live more than a few years in the wild?

  2. Marc Says:

    Hi Maria. There are a few uncommon types of orchids that may only live a few years, but many others can live for decades in the wild. They can continue to grow and expand until they’re very large. That myth is busted.

  3. Wendy L. Says:

    Good discussion here. I actually have discovered the majority of them but didn’t know abot the ice.