How do orchids grow in nature?
In nature most orchids grow on trees. Their roots grab and “hug” the tree bark and support themselves through this union. The orchid uses the tree as an anchor and gets nutrients from all the organic matter that is on the tree and whatever may wash down the tree through the orchid. This typically happens in a jungle environment. Jungles are humid and orchids thrive in this environment because they absorb water from the natural humidity (check out my post on Humidity and Orchids). Because of natural rain in these areas, the orchid is used to experiencing abundant water (which washes over them) and times of dryness. Orchid roots, leaves and pseudobulbs allow the storage of water for an upcoming dry period. Some orchids grow upright and some naturally slope downward (most orchids are staked by nurseries which makes them grow straight up).
Naturally orchids bloom on a schedule that is rarely seen in todays world. In our world orchids are “forced” into bloom by a nursery. Nurseries have a “perfect” growing environment in which humidity, light and temperature are controlled. This environment allows nurseries to produce blooming orchids year round. For example if you buy an orchid in the Summer, and it is in full bloom, it has most likely been forced into bloom by a nursery. Nothing is wrong with a nursery doing this but once you have your own orchids, on a natural cycle, then they will bloom on the schedule of nature which is early Winter and Spring. In the Summer is normally when an orchid will grow roots and leaves. Orchids need to grow new leaves and new roots to store up energy for the upcoming bloom period. See my Season by Season guide post for more information on this.
All of these facts explain why is is very strange for an orchid to grow in your house, in a pot and being staked. This is not to say that they can not be grown in your home (orchids are very hardy and easy to grow) but you must create a “jungle” environment. Meaning you must repot them snug but not smothering (they need to breath), you must give them humidity, and they enjoy a good misting. Please refer to my previous post in regards to potting, humidity , watering and fertilizing on examples on how to create this “jungle” environment in your home!
Hope that helps,
Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at email@example.com with pictures of your orchid.