Orchid 101

Orchid 101

Updated 12/10/17

So you just got a brand new orchid and you want to know what to do?

If you are new to this world, you need not be afraid. Orchids have a reputation of being really hard to grow but are actually very easy. All you need to do is take some time to learn what they need. Orchids have also been known to be expensive, however  with good care, an orchid can be in bloom for several months a year and can live indefinitely. That makes them an excellent value as far as blooming plants go.

Orchids are not like other potted plants. Orchid care is not difficult, it is just different. They are epiphytes, meaning they do not grow in dirt. Most of them grow by hanging or clinging onto the bark of trees in nature. Caring for an orchid is not hard if you have the right tools, and hopefully this site will help you to be successful! I have an extensive catalogue of useful information on orchids that you can look through, collected from all over the internet, local growers and my personal experience.

So let’s begin with your very first orchid:

  1. The first thing I do is make sure the orchid has proper water drainage. Most orchids are sold in pots without a drainage hole, producing root rot and eventually killing the orchid. (I discuss this here – READ THIS FIRST)
  2. Next, I usually wait to water it until the mix is completely dry. Most orchids are overpacked with mix and then overwatered before we get them to make sure they are still in bloom for the stores that sell them. I water my orchids as shown in this post – Watering Orchids.
  3. Then I sit back and enjoy the blooms. (Which may not last long since it has probably been in bloom for quite some time before I got it). Orchids typically bloom for a few months but store-bought ones have already been in bloom before they were shipped. These blooms naturally fall off as shown in my post –Orchid Blooms Falling off Naturally.
  4. Once the blooms fall off naturally I cut the bloom stem back as shown in my post – Cutting an Orchid Stem.
  5. I then typically repot them as shown in my post – How to Repot.

Do you have a question? I love helping people out and answering questions.

I welcome questions, but please read the other blog post first on watering, fertilizing, repotting etc. It helps both of us know what is going on a little more before you ask a question. I sometimes get people who are so excited about orchids (like me) that they ask a question before reading the other blog post; then I spend a lot of time linking those post in my answers. 🙂

When leaving a comment or emailing please answer these questions:

  • How long you have had your orchid?
  • What type of orchid it is – it’s fine if you don’t know
  • What the problem/question is.
  • How are you watering it? How much and how often?
  • Does it have a drainage hole?
  • Also a picture of your “troubled” orchid helps. If you can’t take a picture that is fine.

Hope that helps,


Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid.

17 Comments on “Orchid 101

  1. Good Afternoon,

    I hope so that You are happy and enjoying Your life. Im wirting this emal because of my orchid(like everyone else 😄) so I have strange situation, I had a gift from friends and it was orchid, I think phalaenopsis, and first few weeks all flowers was purple with blue stripes, but after new flowers was bloomin they turned into white color, I found that in stem was some blue dyes, so thats why it had some blue color. So in these weeks one stem of phalaenopsis has dropped all his flowers and did not bloom any more, later on I found out that it was because of that blue dye in the stem, it has been cutted too much in deep so my conclusion was that it all because of this. After few months Ive moved to new house and I putted it on morning window, where sun always rises(i didnt know much about care of orchids then). After I realised that maybe it will be too much light for her so I moved her in the corner of the room and then suddenly another stem has immediantly dropped his all flowers, then I moved her back again to morning window and I decided to repot her, so I repotted her after few days and next day I nottice that her leaves under are turning red and her edges yellow so I started google about it a lot and found out that maybe it could be sunburn, but then I saw the pictures and there is nothing like that, no dry or yellow spots in all leaf, except the corners. So now I moved her to window where is no morning light and I hope that everything will be fine. Could You please let me know what can I do to help her recover after it, and if it is really a sunburn or maybe something else. Unfortunately I cant upload here photos,but I really hope so that you will understand.
    Thanks a lot for Your time.


  2. My problematic orchid: I’ve had it for almost 3 years. It was blooming when I got it and it grew a new stem last fall, but it broke off before it bloomed. I use the method mentioned in your watering article. And it’s in a W facing window with lots of filtered, natural light. I’m not terribly diligent with fertilizing and I know it needs to be repotted. Any other suggestions as to how to get my orchid to bloom again? Thanks!

  3. I have had a number of orchid plants in the past (usually bought on impulse at the hardware store) and have never had any luck with them… until I found this page! I have an orchid that just re-bloomed and one that is on its way! I am so excited and so very grateful for the information you have provided on this site. Thank you so much. 🙂

  4. Hi
    My orchids were left in a north east facing window (Southern Hemisphere) too long into a season change. Some of the leaves are a little sunburned. Should I cut off these leaves or just leave them

    • Hi,

      I would leave them. The non sunburned parts are still giving the orchid energy. The only time I cut mine off is in case of rot.


  5. Hi I have had a orchid since March and its bloomed its lovely I let my daughter in law look after the stem on oneart is brown and looks like a twig the one with the bloom is part brown help please

  6. Hi Hannah!

    It’s Celeste again:) I have a phal that I recently got as gift a day after thanksgiving. I have to been watering and taking care of it properly until yesterday. We finally recieved some sunligjt towards where I live so I decided to raise my shades up so that my phal can have some beautiful sunlight since we haven’t been having so much sunlight since winter started. I had my shade up from 12 in the afternoon till 3 pm. It was around 3 pm that I decided to bring down the shades and my phal looked gorgeous as ever and her leaves where not hot or anything so I assumed that she was fine after absorbing so much sun. Later that day (around 4:30, almost five) I noticed that four of my flowers are weaker than the others and feel thinner as the others as well. I don’t know if it has to do with the sunlight it took in or if it’s time for them to fall off. I’m really concerned because all of my flowers are perfectly fine except for the four 😦 can you please help me? 😦

    Thank you

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