Orchid Tips


Potting a cattleya is no more difficult than potting any other type of plant. It is best to repot every two to three years when the mix starts to lose consistency (breaking down). Pot firmly in a loose mixture and allow enough room for approximately two years growth. Remember: Do not repot cattleyas when in bloom. A good time to repot is when new roots and growth appear.

Air flow is extremely important for growing all types of orchids. Be sure there is always good air exchange. If grown outdoors, nature will provide plenty of breezes. If grown indoors air circulation can be provided with various types of fans. Remember: Orchids are not difficult, just different.


Adequate light is important for healthy growth and abundant blooming. Bright indirect light is vital, and filtered sunlight is preferable. They can not tolerate the direct rays of the sun during the hot part of the day. The leaves will indicate if they are getting enough light. They should be a medium green color. If they are a dark green color and have weak foliage that indicates not enough light. If you have trouble blooming your cattleyas, it is usually a result of inadequate light.


Cattleyas are hardy plants and can tolerate various degrees of temperatures. A general rule is to have the temperature not to go above 95 degrees during the day and no lower than 50 degrees in the evening. Mature cattleyas are more forgiving with temperature changes, but seedlings require more moderate temperatures.


Cattleyas require 50 to 60 percent humidity. If grown in your home, place plants near a sunny window on trays with moistened pebbles. This will help to create necessary humidity for your plant. In a greenhouse environment a humidifier can be used or wetting down below the growing benches adds humidity.


A good general rule is to use a balanced fertilizer with the trace elements (minerals). We use Peters 20-20-20 with micronutrients. When mixing with water use the amount recommended on the fertilizer label. Feeding your orchids once every two weeks, or once a month is suggested. Remember: Flush out the pots with plenty of water on occasion to remove built-up salts from fertilizers. Be sure your plant is still moist before using liquid fertilizer.


Orchid flowers must reach the peak of their beauty before cutting. Forty-eight hours after opening the colored blooms will reach their richest hue. Cut the flowers with a clean razor blade leaving the stem as long as possible. Hold the stem under water and cut off a thin slice from the end. This prevents air bubbles from entering the cells and enables the stem to absorb water efficiently. Place the flower in a narrow-necked vase or one in which the flower will not touch the water.


Also called the “Moth Orchid,” phalaenopsis is probably one of the most popular and rewarding orchids to grow. They make excellent house plants and will stay in bloom for many months. Phalaenopsis grow well in an east window and require low light conditions; they also respond well to artificial lighting. They like to be kept moist, never too wet, and require good air circulation. No matter where you live, this orchid type will do well indoors and provide many years of enjoyment.


Phalaenopsis are excellent house plants and do well as greenhouse plants in temperate climates. While they can be grown outdoors in tropical regions, they also need protection during the cold months. Phalaenopsis will grow well, with the same conditions as African violets. They will adapt to a bright window (with no direct sun) or to fluorescent lighting, such as two or more 40-watt tubes. Keep them slightly moist, never wet and give them plenty of air circulation. Phalaenopsis should be grown in an area where watering can be regulated (out of the rain). Water early so water will not sit in the crown. This is another reason Phals. make perfect house plants. Liquid fertilize them every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer. If fertilized once a week, remember “weakly, weekly” is best. Your phalaenopsis will stay healthy and green!!


  • Dendrobiums like a lot of bright, indirect light.
  • Dendrobiums will bloom several times a year.
  • Dendrobium flowers will last several months.
  • Most dendrobiums like very warm temperatures.
  • Some dendrobiums are deciduous, and bear flowers on bare canes.
  • Dendrobiums are a good beginners orchid.
  • Dendrobiums like to be watered and allowed to dry out.
  • Dendrobiums do well in bark and rock mixes.
  • Dendrobiums like to be fed frequently since they grow fairly fast.
  • There are over 1,000 dendrobium species.


There are approximately 500 species that make up this genus. The oncidium orchid is often called “The Dancing Lady.” Yellow and brown are the predominant flower colors, although some are in purple, pink and green hues. Oncidium culture is easy. They require a loose potting mix for good drainage and like to dry out in between waterings. They will grow under the same light and temperature conditions as the Cattleya alliance. Oncidiums usually bloom once a year and will produce many flowers.


"The spider orchid" has unique flowers they will last approximately a month. They are easy to grow, and have the same culture requirements as the Oncidium alliance. Remember, brassia orchids do not like to be disturbed by frequent repotting. It is best to let the plant become large and overgrown in the pot before dividing. When dividing a brassia, be sure the divisions are a generous size, so the plant will not be set back for a long period.


It should be noted that the buds are the most sensitive part of the plant and excessive imbalance of cultural conditions will cause bud loss. Temperatures that are too high or too low are the main causes of this complaint, as well as over or under watering. All this can contribute to bud drop, or commonly called 'bud blast.' It is necessary to carefully check the growing conditions to prevent any loss of orchid buds.


Careless watering habits, or very high humidity with poor air circulation, can lead to 'soft-spots' on the leaves of Phalaenopsis. Water, bouncing from leaf to leaf, will spread the infection to healthy leaves. Any bacterial or fungus disease must be stopped quickly! Cut off infected area with a clean single edge razor blade. Use a good fungicide and make a paste. Apply the paste directly to the cut part of the leaf. Isolate any plants with a soft leaf problem and treat accordingly. Allow the plant to dry out and keep the leaves dry.


Since most of these plants will tolerate near full-sun conditions in sub-tropical or tropical areas, they will grow and flower nicely in temperate areas as well.

Ansellia Brassavola cucullata Brassavola digbyana Brassavola glauca Brassavola nodosa Catasetum Dendrobium-Evergreen types Diacrium Oncidium species Renanthera species Schombocattleya Schomburgkia Vanda species Vanilla


Angraecum Ascocenda Brassia Catasetum Cycnoches Cymbidiella Dendrobium (Evergreen-type) Dendrobium (Phalaenopsis-type) Diacrium Doritis Doritaenopsis Grammatophyllum Phalaenopsis Renanthera Schomburgkia Vanda Vanilla

*Temperatures below 50 degrees


Cycnoches, commonly called "The Swan Orchid." These plants can mature rapidly and flower in about six months.  

Temperature: Warm conditions

Light: Bright light (not direct sun) with very good air flow. While the plants are in active growth, provide plenty of water. When the plants have stopped flowering, reduce watering until new growth and roots become visible.

Fertilizer: A balanced fertilizer (20x20x20) is best to be applied during the plants active growing cycle. Do not apply fertilizer while the plants are in a dormant (resting) stage.  

Potting: Use clay or plastic pots along with sphagnum moss or fine bark mix. Since Cycnoches are a pendulous-type plant, they can be put in hanging baskets, mounted on tree fern or cork plaques.


Angraecum orchids are constantly gaining popularity, even though they do not have the wide range of colors, such as the Cattleyas and Vandas. The flowers are nearly all white or greenish-white. Many have star-like flowers with a medium to long, slender spur. Angraceums originated from Africa and Madagascar. They are heavily scented, especially at night.

Angraecums grow well with temperatures of 55 degrees to 85 degrees. They require low to moderate light and to be watered when dry. Most angraecums can be potted in mixes used for Cattleyas, Phalaenopsis and Oncidiums. Feed every two weeks a balanced fertilizer.


Vanilla, the most popular flavor in the world, originated in Mexico. Brought to Europe about 1520 by the explorer Cortez, it was first used only in conjunction with cacao (cocoa) beans in a drink called chocolati (chocolate). Since 1602 it has been enjoyed as a flavor by itself. The vanilla bean, or pod, is the only edible fruit-bearing orchid. Each flower, open only one day a year, must be hand pollinated to produce a pod which requires a labor intensive 3-6 months curing process to develop full flavor. About 5 pounds of harvested pods produce only 1 pound of cured pods