Orchids Care

Basic Care

For best results, while your plant is in bloom, it requires minimal care and needs just a little water, indirect light and comfortable room temperatures to thrive. 

Water

To water your orchid, take it out of the clay or ceramic pot then place the plant in its plastic grower's pot in the sink under a slow-running tap for 10-15 seconds on each side of plant while avoiding crown and leaves. Once watered, drip dry before returning to decorative pot. Don't allow the orchid's potting medium to be constantly wet or plant to stand in water. Most orchids (but not all) like to almost dry out between waterings but should never get bone dry. You can often tell how moist the potting medium is by its weight. A heavy pot is a a well-watered plant that doesn't need to be watered again soon.  

Light and Environment

Medium to bright indirect light and moderate room temperatures of 65–75°F found in most homes.  Avoid extreme temperatures and drafts. If you live in a hot or dry climate, your orchid may need to be watered more often than our recommendation. Cymbidiums can tolerate being outdoors in moderate climates like Southern California's, but all of our other orchids should be kept inside. There is no need to fertilize to enjoy the first flowers.

Reblooming

When your orchid is done with its initial bloom, most people like to start with a new Matsui Nursery orchid. If you can't bear the thought of getting rid of your plant, and you'd like to try to get your orchid to bloom again.

WATER

Watering less is best (for most orchids).

Most orchids like to get almost dry between watering. Too many orchids die from getting too much water. So sad! You want your potting medium to feel almost dry, but not bone dry, and light in weight before you water. You can also put your finger or a stick into the potting medium to test the moisture. If it comes out wet, it's not ready to water. Many growers say "If your orchid feels like it will be dry tomorrow, water today."  Then, when the potting medium feels almost dry, take your orchid out of the decorative pot or terra-cotta clay, but keep it in our plastic grower pot, and water under a slow-running cool tap for about 10–15 seconds on each side of the plant.

Alternately, you can dunk your orchid in water for a few minutes and let it soak up some water. Either way, you’ll want to avoid getting the crown, foliage and flowers wet. You’ll know it’s gotten enough water when it feels fairly heavy. Please make sure to let it drip dry for a few seconds before returning to the decorative pot. 

Repeat this process when the potting medium feels almost dry and light in weight again. If your orchid is standing in water or its roots are turning from a bright gray-green to a mushy mess, it’s getting too much water. And don’t let your potting medium stay constantly wet or soggy.


The surprising reason some orchids don't last is because we tend to take too much care of them. Overwatering is the #1 reason many orchids drop their blooms before they should. ​"

Most orchids like to be watered every week or two.

For most regular-sized Phalaenopsis, Miltonias, Epidendrums and Nobile Dendrobiums, water every 10–15 days. Mini Phalaenopsis like water every 7–10 days. Exotics should be watered every 7–12 days because they store their water in their bulbs, not their roots, so dry out more quickly. If your home or office is hot or dry, you’ll probably need to water more often. If it’s cold or humid, a little less often.

*If you live in an area with higher temperatures or lower humidity, you may need to water more often. You can also make a humidity tray by placing the plants on a tray of gravel, partially filled with water, so that the pots never sit in water. 

Our recommended watering schedule by variety:

  • Phalaenopsis,  Nobile Dendrobiums, and Miltonias should be watered every 10-15 days. Allow to almost dry out between waterings.
  • Exotics (Intergenerics and Oncidiums) dry out quickly and should be watered every 7-12 days. Allow potting medium to almost dry out between waterings.
  • Mini Phalaenopsis should be watered every 7-10 days and can be allowed to almost dry out between waterings.
  • Paphiopedilums and Zygopetalums like to be watered about every 7-10 days. Keep these orchids moist, but not soggy, and don't allow to dry out.
  • Cymbidiums should be watered every 4-7 days. Keep this orchid moist, but not soggy, and don't allow to dry out.

Some orchids love more water.

Some orchids are water-lover orchids. If you have a Cymbidium,  Zygopetalum or Paphiopedilum, you’ll need to water them more often than other orchids. Since you need to water these varieties about twice as often as the other, they may be more high-maintenance, but we think they make up for it by being gorgeous and unique.

Yes, you can water with ice.

When you can’t water under a tap or dunk your orchid, a few ice cubes once a week will do. The grower recommend using this method for orchid gardens when the orchids are planted into ceramic pots. Many of our customers swear by the ice watering method for any orchid, and have had great success with it. The grower recommend to use three 1"x1" ice cubes for standard-sized orchids and one or two ice cubes for mini sizes. You’ll need to use ice about twice as often as you would water. ​

If you’ve overwatered your orchid, you need to let it dry out.

It’s better to underwater than it is to overwater. If the plant’s leaves are limp, just let it dry out for a week before watering again and cut back on your watering schedule. If your plant’s roots are mushy and brown, however, it may be difficult to save it.  Also, if you notice that all of your orchid’s flowers wilt or drop at once, take it out of the pot to ensure it’s not sitting in water.  So it’s always good to check its potting medium and roots, even if you don't think you've overwatered it. If it has been overwatered, you can try to let the plant dry out and cut mushy the roots with a sterile clipper, but you’ll probably need to start over again with a fresh plant. Just remember for next time: Watering less is best!

Light & Environment

Bright, but not direct light, is best.

Medium to bright indirect light in your home or office is best. The grower recommend east- and west-facing windows, but not direct sun. Fluorescent office lights will also keep  most orchids blooming. Most of the orchids are indoor-only plants. If you notice yellowing leaves, your orchid may not be getting enough light. If you notice black tips on your leaves, the plant may be getting sunburned.  The exceptions are Cymbidiums, which can be kept in filtered shade outdoors in moderate climates like Southern California's. 

Orchids love moderate room temperatures and clean air.

Moderate room temperatures of 65–75°F  are ideal. Orchids can also do well with nighttime temps as low as 60°F and daytime temps of up to 85°F, give or take a few degrees. Cymbidiums and Epidendrums are fine with temps down to 55°F, but be sure to bring them inside if it gets colder. Avoid exposing your orchids to extreme temperatures. They don’t like fumes from propane, natural gas or smoke or ethylene gas from ripe fruit, so keep them out of the kitchen, especially if you frequently burn toast or light candles. Any of these conditions can cause the dreaded "sudden bud drop" or flower wilting. 

Orchids like it (kind of) hot and humid.

Most orchids are originally from tropical climates. Coincidentally —  and perhaps why orchids are so popular today — is that most homes replicate this environment pretty well. But if you live in a desert, or if your winters get cold and dry, you may need to supplement the humidity with a tray. You can do this by placing the plants on a tray of gravel, partially filled with water, so that the pots never sit in water. Growing plants together can also slightly raise the humidity in the area. Most homes near the ocean get plenty of humidity, so if you’re on the coast, your orchids should be fine, and you may even find that you don't have to water them as often! If your environment is really hot and humid, make sure that there’s plenty of air circulation to prevent diseases.

ORCHID FLOWER

Detail your services Blooms should last and last…but just not forever!

Typically, Phalaenopsis have the longest-lasting blooms, lasting two to three months on average. Other orchid blooms last several weeks to months. Your blooms will grow from stem to tip and lose them in that order as well.

If you notice that all of your flowers are looking wilted or if they all fall off at the same time, it may signal another problem. Check the potting medium of the plant. If it’s soggy or standing in water, your orchid needs some time to dry out. It might even be dying. Give it some time and see how it does, or toss it and start with a fresh plant.

Whether your flowers last for weeks or months, we believe our orchids are priced right and are a great value, providing elegant, beautiful blooms that last much longer than cut flowers. We hope you love them as much as we do!

ORCHID LEAVES

Changes to leaves can signal a problem.

New orchid leaves that turn black or yellow may be a sign of trouble. Yellowing of old leaves is normal, but on new leaves it can indicate stress, insufficient feeding, too much water, or too much direct mid-day light. Yellowing of just the bottom two leaves is a normal part of the growth cycle. You can let them fall off or cut them off with a pair of sterile scissors. And you’ll probably see new growth soon at the top of the leaves. 

If all of the leaves turn yellow and fall off, your plant is dying. Black areas on leaves may be from sunburn, or, if they grow in size, fungal disease. Black tips can be caused by hard water, fungal disease or overfeeding.  Cut the affected leaves off with sharp, sterile scissors and make adjustments to light or feeding, or, if you suspect disease, try treating with a fungicide.

ORCHID ROOTS

Roots (and bulbs) are the heart of the orchid.

Healthy roots usually equal a healthy orchid. For a Phalaenopsis, the water is fed from its roots to the plant. Healthy orchid roots should be full of water and look grayish-green, not whitish gray. If they are brown and mushy, you may be overwatering your plant. For most orchids, if you're allowing the plant's potting medium to almost dry out between waterings then water thoroughly, the roots will be healthiest. Never allow your plant to stand in water for long periods of time.

For Exotics and many other orchids, the water is fed from the pseudobulbs of the plant. When they get too little water, they may look wrinkled. However, some varieties have pseudobulbs that look a little shriveled regardless of water received. 

What about roots growing outside of the pot?

The roots of the plant that you see are what help the plant absorb moisture and carbon dioxide from the air. Also known as “air roots” these are perfectly normal and don’t indicate that you need to repot your plant. You should also keep them on the plant as long as they remain nice and plump and are a sage-gray green color. If they turn yellow or shrivel up, you can wait until your plant stops blooming and then trim them off with a sterile scissors or razorblade. Please try to keep  all of the healthy roots on your plant. Try not to stuff them into the ceramic pot (let them come out the top) so they can “breathe.” Orchids like to be root-bound and can stay in their existing pot for about 2 years after you’ve purchased it. Then, the potting medium does start to lose its nutrients and breaks down, so it’s time for repotting.

Repoting

Repot your plant orchid every year or two.

Over time, your orchid’s potting medium can be changed out.  We like doing this about two years after you've had the plant, when the potting medium starts to decompose. Repotting is best done in the spring or in cooler months, immediately after flowering.  You can repot in the same container or get one that's 1/2" to 1" larger in diameter.

To repot, remove all old medium from the roots, trim off rotted roots and spread the remaining roots over a handful of medium in a pot. We recommend a product sold as a medium orchid bark or a peat-based mix (not garden soil). Our mix is usually a combination of the two, with a mossy inside to retain water and a bark exterior to drain water. Then fill the rest of the plastic growing container with the medium, gently working in so that there aren’t any big air holes. Keep roots fairly tight. Wait one to three days before watering.  

Reblooming

Yes, you can rebloom your Phalaenopsis.

Just remember, it takes a little time and patience! Once your orchid is done with its initial bloom, most people like to start with a orchid. Phalaenopsis are the easiest orchids to rebloom at home. Other kinds of orchids can be tricky or near impossible to rebloom outside of a greenhouse, but we think they make excellent foliage plants if you can’t stand throwing them away.

Step 1 Fertilize monthly.

After your Phalaenopsis orchid drops its last flower, you can start fertilizing once a month with an orchid fertilizer. Follow the fertilizer manufacturer’s instructions. Keep your orchid in its location, in bright, indirect light.

Step 2 Cut the flower spike (or don’t)

After the flowers drop, you have three choices:

  1. There’s a chance that new blooms will flower at the tip of the plant, so you can try leaving the flower spike in place. But often, this doesn’t work. And if it does, the flowers will probably be smaller than the original flowers.
  2. With a sterile razorblade, sharp scissors or clippers, cut the flower spike at a slight angle in between the second and third triangular node, counting up from the bottom. Please note that this is only works for Phalaenopsis and that it only works about half the time.
  3. The grower team likes giving the plant a fresh start by removing the flower spike entirely, using a sterile razorblade, clippers or sharp scissors, clipping it about ½” from the base of the plant. This method makes for the best blooms and gives the plant a chance to reset and grow stronger roots. You’ll also need to remove the spike if it has turned yellow or brown. If you’re trying to re-bloom an orchid other than Phalaenopsis, you’ll want to cut the old flower spike off at the base of the plant no matter what.

Step 3 Don’t forget to water.

Water your orchid per care tag instructions, about every 10–14 days for most standard sized Phalaenopsis or 7–10 days for mini Phals. Again, watering less is best. Let the potting medium almost dry out before watering again.

Step 4 Wait about a few months for a new leaf.

If you’ve cut the flower spike, you’ll want to wait a few months before you induce spiking. Once it gets a new leaf that is fully grown, your orchid is recovered and ready to rebloom. Note that this new leaf will likely be as big, and possibly bigger, than the other leaves on your plant.

Step 5 You’ll need some cold.

To get a new orchid flower spike, place the plant in an area with a lower room temp — about 55–65°F at night should do it. Placing your orchid in a window away from the heater might work, too. We’ve had best success getting new flower spikes in winter, when our homes and their windows aren’t as warm.

Step 6 Watch for a new flower spike.

Wait a month or so for a flower spike to grow. It will look like a root growing straight up it will have a knobby end on it, called a “mitten.” Once your orchid starts spiking, you can return it to its normal growing location with a moderate room temp of 65–75°F and bright, indirect light. Give it a few more months for the spike to grow tall and for new flowers. Once it hits about 5” you can start supporting the spike with a stake and a loose tie. If you don’t get a new flower spike after a couple of months, try moving the orchid to a different location. It might not be getting enough light or cold enough temperatures.

Step 7 Keep up the good work.

Continue watering and fertilizing. Don’t move your orchid around; otherwise its flowers might get twisted and it won’t have that pretty arching affect. Our Phalaenopsis can usually grow a new flower spike (or two) once a year. Enjoy!