Orchids make beautiful houseplants and are now more widely available than ever, but how do you keep yours flowering year after year. The first tip is to check the label to see which type of orchid you have and provide the conditions that particular plant enjoys, as some, such as Cymbidium, like cool conditions, while others, including Phalaenopsis and Cambria, and are happiest in warm rooms. Most orchids prefer a bright position away from direct sunlight, and they thrive in a humid atmosphere, so set them in a pot on some pebbles in a tray of water and mist your plants regularly.
The atmosphere in most centrally heated homes is too dry for orchids, so mist the leaves and aerial roots every day or two using a brass or plastic mister filled with tepid water.
Water your orchids about once a week with tepid water. Water from above and tip away any excess that collects at the bottom of the pot to prevent the roots from rotting. Alternatively, plunge the container into a bowl of water for a few minutes, remove, and leave to drain.
Feed your plants every three weeks from spring to autumn with a proprietary orchid fertiliser. Dissolve dry orchid food in water according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and water this solution onto the compost. Leave to drain, then tip away any excess solution from the bottom of the pot.
Repot your orchid only when the roots have completely filled the pot and the old compost is beginning to break down. Carefully remove the compost from around the rootball, and cut out any old or rotten roots.
Trimming the roots
Place the plant in its new pot and fresh orchid compost, choosing a container that is one or two sizes larger than the original pot. Also try not to bury the aerial roots, as this may cause them to rot.