A Guide to Buying Orchids

Orchids are plants that are known for their complex flowers. These stunning plants come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes, making them a popular decoration in home offices, bathroom, kitchen or as a living room decoration. The most common types of orchids used as household plants are easy to grow and readily bloom indoors, adding touches of colour and vitality.

What types of orchids are there?

There are more than 25,000 orchid species and 100,000 different types of hybrids. Some types you may find on eBay may include:

  • Moth orchids: These types of orchids, also called Phalaenopsis orchids, are the common species found in homes. Some are white or have a pink or purplish colour to the flowers.
  • Dendrobium orchids: Dendrobium hybrids come in many colours including green, yellow, white, pink and purple. They require a warm environment and will actually lose their leaves in cooler temperatures.
  • Slipper orchids: When they bloom, lady slippers have pouch-shaped lips.
  • Boat orchids: Cymbidiums have showy, long-lasting flowers that come in a variety of colours. The flowers can last for up to two months when put into a vase.

What do you need to grow orchids?

Like all other indoor or houseplants, orchids have specific needs that help them grow and bloom.

  • Growing medium: Most orchid plants, including Cymbidiums and Phalaenopsis, need soil to grow. Other types of orchids that are epiphytes grow in the air and need a growing medium that gives the plants access to good air circulation. These plants also need something the roots can become secured to, like fir bark, rock wool or cork nuggets.
  • Fertilisers: Growing mediums for the plants often do not provide enough nutrients for the orchids to grow. Liquid fertiliser may be used on plants that are actively growing. Misting the plant with seaweed extracts or fish emulsion may also encourage growth.
  • Water: Most plants do better in droughts than in floods. As such, these plants should get water once a week and be allowed to dry out before the next water session. This is done more with spray bottles than watering cans, as these plants are used to getting their water through aerial mist.
  • Light: Orchid plants should get 12 to 14 hours of sunlight every day. They will also grow under artificial light.

What kind of growth mediums do orchids use?

Orchids, like the North American lady slipper, may be found growing in the soil like other common potted plants. However, many orchid species are epiphytic. These orchids may grow in a matrix of bark chips or be found with roots wrapped around a log or rope.