Varied, exotic and beautiful, it’s no wonder that orchids are such a popular choice with interior designers. You may, however, have been put off having them in your own home, thinking they’re expensive and hard to look after. Well, we can’t deny that they’re not the cheapest houseplant available – but they are incredibly easy to look after if you follow a few simple steps, and will continue to flower regularly.
Here’s the Fresh Design Guide to caring for and styling orchid plants in your home.
Orchid care: Tip 1
Orchids are rainforest plants, so they prefer a warm, damp environment and don’t like to dry out. Most of the orchids for sale in the UK in garden centres and supermarkets are moth orchids (Phalaenopsis), which, contrary to a lot of other house plants, love centrally heated homes. They have a long flowering period, and come in a vast variety of colours and flower shapes.
They like bright light, but not strong direct sunlight which can scorch their leaves, so a windowsill that doesn’t face due south is ideal. If you do find blackened areas of scorching on the leaves, move the plant to a less sunny location but don’t remove the leaves unless the plant has lots of other healthy leaves in place.
Orchid care: Tip 2
Orchids prefer a transparent pot so the roots can get light as well as the leaves. They’re almost always sold in see-through pots, but because the roots aren’t the prettiest part of the plant we have a tendency to stick them in nice ceramic pots when we get home. Try using a filigree basket or clear glass pot instead.
Orchid plant care: Tip 3
Orchids hate being dry as they are used to a rainforest environment. Don’t water the plant itself – put a little water in the bottom of the pot, not too much. Don’t let the roots dry out completely, but equally don’t drown them.
Over watering will cause brownish and yellow spots on the leaves and eventually cause the leaves to fall off. In between waterings, spray the leaves with a fine mist of water from a spray bottle (don’t spray the flowers as they’re fragile and may fall off). Dusty leaves can be polished with a soft cloth and a little water to restore them to a dark green glossy finish.
Orchid care: Tip 4
As the flowers die off, remove them. When all the flowers have fallen, you’ll be left with something like a bare twig! It may not look very pretty, but your orchid is still alive and kicking. Leave it for a while, and the orchid may re-flower in a short time. If the flower stem dies back and withers without flowering again, cut it off close to the base and your orchid will grow a new stem.
Orchid plant care: Tip 5
Orchids are easy to look after in every way. Unlike most other house plants, they won’t regularly outgrow their pot and actually prefer to have a smaller pot, growing their roots over the top if they need more room. If you do decide to re-pot, you’ll need some specialist orchid compost.
Carefully remove the plant from its pot and shake off as much of the old compost as you can, then add it to the new pot along with some new compost. Throughout the spring and summer, you can add a few drops of orchid food to the regular water as well.
How to style orchids in your home
Like any plants, orchids are fabulous to have in your home and they can be styled in a number of ways.
- A single, beautiful orchid will look stunning in the right place and can enhance your decor scheme.
- For a huge visual impact, try styling a row or group of orchids. Opt for odd numbers, such as three or five, and try using matching orchid plants or a group of different types.
- Plant your orchids in different coloured or textured pots, such as geometric designs, wire pots, metallic finishes or concrete pots.
- Whilst the flowers are normally the star attraction, the glossy green leaves are a great accent colour too.
(Images courtesy of Pixabay)0