If you’re a new gardener, start by buying a plant from a garden centre. They cost around £10-£20 ish. This will probably sound expensive, but it’s worth it with because they flower for months and months. Choose one with healthy thick green leaves and some buds that haven’t flowered yet. Simply buy your plant, and place the pot in a nice pot or on a saucer. Some people like to place this on a shallow dish of gravel, which they keep moist. This improves the humidity of the atmosphere around the plant.
You’ll notice the soil looks different to usual. That’s because orchids need free draining materials like fir bark.
Orchids are epiphytic, which means they get most of their nutrients from the air through aerial roots. If you see a white root above the soil – it’s perfectly normal. Don’t cut if off!
It’s more common to over-water than under-water an orchid. Water your plant about once a week. Use rainwater or distilled water to water your orchid plants as they are sensitive to softened or chlorinated water. Just pop a jug on the windowsill to collect rainwater. Hold the pot over a sink and tip the water in – it needs to come out at the other end. Let most of the water drain out. Then put the pot back in the decorative pot or saucer. Never let the plant sit in water.
Orchids normally grow under large over-hanging trees, so don’t put the plant in direct sunshine, but keep it near the light during the winter months. An eastern or western facing windowsill is perfect. If your windowsill is drafty, it’s probably a good idea to place a piece or cardboard between the plant and the window to protect it from the cold.
The orchid won’t need re-potting for a couple of years, by which time you’ll be seasoned indoor gardener! When it’s time to re-pot you’ll need a growing medium, a mixture of organic fibres like fir bark and inorganic materials like charcoal. This is best bought ready mixed from a garden centre.