Orchidaceae family

Most commonly used varieties: Brassavola orchid, Catasetum orchid and Cattleya orchids

Common Name: Orchid

Light Needs

Maximum light

Water Requirements

Do not overwater


A tabletop display plant. Orchid leaves are simple, usually alternate on the stem and are often thick and non-decorative.

Most commonly used varieties from the Orchidaceae family: Brassavola orchid, Catasetum orchid and Cattleya orchids

In temperate regions, most orchids grow as terrestrials with their roots in the ground. In the tropical regions, they grow mostly as epiphytes. Generally, they have thick, spongy rhizome-type roots that grow clinging to other plants for support without harming their hosts.

All varieties of the Orchidaceae family need maximum light to stay in bloom. Their leaves are frequently dull and slightly yellowish colored. Light is a critical factor for these plants. If at all possible, station the blooming orchids under a spotlight or near a sunny window.

The planting media that the growers use is fast draining for a reason: to keep from rotting the roots off. Many orchid growers these days use a specially adapted orchid grow pot to help keep the roots out of standing water in the decorative pot. This pot has an elevated center of in the bottom. If you don’t have that kind of pot, the use of some Styrofoam peanuts in the bottom of the decorative container will help keep your orchid dry. For orchids with noticeable pseudobulbs, if these shrink a bit, it is time to add water. Resting orchids will need even less water than those in bloom. As you water, keep your water off the leaves and use room temperature water. Overwatering results in the flowers fading prematurely and the plant turning to mush.

Clean hard water and chemical stains from the foliage of new orchids by wiping the leaves with a soft moist cloth. Support the leaf in one hand and gently wipe along the leaf veins. Clean dust and grime off older foliage with a sponge and soapy water. Remove spent blooms as they fade. Induce a second set of blooms on Phalaenopsis orchids by cutting back the flower spike. Starting at the base of the spike, move upwards counting the nodes. Then, cut the spike midway between the second and third node. This will induce the spike to branch and produce a new set of flower buds.

Fertilize blooming orchids bi-monthly with a complete water-soluble fertilizer containing micronutrients. Plants not in bloom can be fertilized every four to six weeks.

The Orchidaceae family are susceptible to mealybug, scale, whitefly and aphids. Gently wash off pests with soapy water or pick off individual insects with an alcohol-soaked Q-tip. Control leaf spot diseases by increasing air flow around foliage and container, and by reducing standing water on foliage.