In Print – Triangle Style Magazine – Caring for orchids in your home

Gardening With Confidence

Caring for orchids in your home


Oh, an orchid. They beg to be noticed. The long lasting blooms and simple care also make them oh, so desirable. With a little care, these flowering gems will give you many weeks of enjoyment.

There are several different types of orchids – each with their own unique growth habits. It is best to be prepared before purchasing orchids so you get the right variety for the right location in your home.

Cattleyas, Dendrobium, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum, and Phalaenopsis are some of the easiest to grow and easiest to find orchid varieties.

Generally, most orchids require sufficient light to thrive. The ideal location is to place in an east or lightly shaded south-facing location. Paphiopedilum is the exceptions, preferring limited light making this an ideal houseplant.

Most orchids like to be watered about once every week allowing to dry-out between waterings. Paphiopedilum and Phalaenopsis are the exceptions, preferring to stay evenly moist.

Orchids like it warm and humid making the kitchen and bath ideal locations. They also want to be fed a fertilizer about twice a month, but only when they are not in bloom. So, for most of us who don’t plan to keep the plant after it finishes blooming, this care is not necessary.

Below are some specific orchid care requirements.

Cattleyas (kat-lee-uh) adapt to a wide range of indoor temperatures.

This orchid will thrive with lots of light and time to dry-out between waterings

Dendrobium (DEN-dro-bee-um) like moderate temperatures, lots of light, and time to dry-out between waterings.

Oncidium (on-sid-EE-um) like moderate temperatures, lots of light, and time to dry-out between waterings.

Paphiopedilums (paff-ee-oh-PED-ih-lum) are commonly known as Lady Slippers. They only require limited light to thrive. This is an ideal choice for a place in your home that will receive little direct light. They are also thirsty plants – keep evenly moist.

Phalaenopsis has been named America’s favorite orchid by the American Orchid Society. Very sensitive to cold so it is best to keep this orchid in a location where the nighttime temperature remains above 60 degrees. They like lots of light and like to stay evenly moist.

Few flowers match the quality, longevity, and enjoyment of an orchid. And the choices are oh, so easy.

By Helen Yoest

First printed Spring 2008 Issue of Triangle Style Magazine



  1. kate said

    What an interesting overview about Orchids. Our annual Orchid show should be happening in about six weeks. I am planning to buy another Orchid, even though I have trouble keeping them alive. This time I am going to be more careful and not over-water.

  2. Thanks Kate. I must admit, I pushed publish when I thought I was pushing save. As such, I have not photo. I will try to get one up…people like to see photos. Helen

  3. TC said

    Ellen Zachos and I were conversing about my “holy” orchids some time ago. It seems they’ve lost a bit of their holiness and haven’t bloomed since Jesus left Chicago. So, Ms. Ellen was kind of enough to diagnose my problem and recommended a plan of action that I will start any day now. And mine are Oncidium

  4. Katherine said

    I underwatered and they look slightly wilted; are they permanently dead?

  5. Not necessarily Katherine. Water it once a week and wait it out. Leaves of a healthy orchid are not typically best when green and lush.

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