Epiphytic

Tree perching orchids, include Dendrobiums, Phaleanopsis, Oncidiums, Cattleyas and others. Most are not difficult to grow but do require special cultivation, especially to achieve flowers. In the wild, clinging air roots provide structure as well as nutrition. For this reason, most orchids are potted in a mixture of bark or moss to provide excellent drainage.

Water

Always test your orchid before watering. Temperatures and seasons will affect the watering needs. Orchids in fir bark may need a thorough soaking every 7-10 days. Orchids in coco fiber generally need water less often. Orchids in sphagnum moss need even less frequent watering. It is important that orchids have excellent drainage. Make sure your orchid is not sitting in water 5-10 minutes after watering. Some orchids need higher humidity levels. Humidity can be enhanced by creating a "humidity tray" - a saucer filled with water and enough gravel to keep the pot above water level.

Temperature

Temperatures ranging from 60F to 90F degrees are best.

Light

Tropical orchids prefer bright but indirect light. Tender leaves will sunburn easily.

Fertilizer

Because the planting media has no food value, orchids must be fertilized. Plants have individual needs, but as a general suggestion use a high nitrogen fertilizer when plants are growing. When plants are spiking or blooming, switch to a food high in phosphorous and potassium. Most orchids will need to be fertilized every other time you water.

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