Orchid Care 101

It’s a common misconception that orchids are much harder to care for than your other houseplants. Orchids aren’t high-maintenance or temperamental, they just have slightly different needs than most other plants. Consider starting with one of these types, which are the easiest orchids to care for:

  1. Phaius (Nun’s Orchid)
  2. Phaiocalanthe
  3. Paphiopedilum (Tropical Lady Slipper Orchid)

Orchid Care Guidelines

All plants need the right balance of food, water, light and air in order to be their most beautiful. Here are basic guidelines to care for your orchid.

Potting Medium

Root with either moss or bark. Moss works like a sponge and takes longer to dry out, so you won’t have to water as frequently. Bark is an easier medium for beginners because it’s harder to over-water. We wrote a blog post about fertilizing orchids and other houseplants that you can read here.


Water your orchid as it dries out, which may be every few days up to every two weeks. The most straightforward way to tell if it’s time to water is to simply stick your finger into the potting mix. If there’s no moisture or the soil is just about dry, it’s time to water. Water your orchid generously until you see it drain from the holes in the plant pot.


If you’re seeing new plant growth but no new flowers, your orchid is light-deprived. Give orchids plenty of light, but don’t let them burn. Foliage that’s dark green means the plant isn’t getting enough light – you want to see a light yellow-green color, and the foliage should be standing up strong.


Orchids come from humid, tropical climates. In order for your orchid to thrive, it should be kept in an ecosystem with moisture, which is why ours are in semi-closed terrariums. It’s still important to keep the area around the orchid well-ventilated, though. Use a gentle ceiling fan on its lowest setting or a portable fan that’s not directed right at the plant.

Watering with Ice Cubes

Some orchid owners swear by watering via ice cube, but according to HGTV, applying something so cold to the roots can be damaging because these plants are never exposed to that low a temperature. Read more about it here and here, but we suggest skipping the ice and watering like normal.

Have any must-know tips for orchid care? We’d love to hear them!

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