Including the secret trick to knowing when your orchid needs water.

By Katie Holdefehr
June 25, 2020
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For birthday presents and housewarming gifts, a pretty orchid in a decorative pot is a popular choice—and it's easy to see why. Orchids are beautiful and delicate, they feel special, yet they're readily available at most plant stores (including online at The Bouqs Co.). But if you aren't an experienced plant parent and even low-maintenance houseplants are a struggle to keep alive, a finicky orchid can feel like a challenge.

To demystify orchid care, we reached out to Kaylyn Hewitt, the resident florist at The Bouqs Co. Luckily, she assured us that once you know the basics, caring for an orchid actually isn't that complicated. "Orchids take a bit more care and attentiveness than your normal house plant, but once you get the hang of it, they are relatively low maintenance," she says. Below, the flower pro shares her guide to caring for orchids.

How Often to Water an Orchid

The first step to a thriving orchid: making sure it's getting enough water (but without drowning it). Fortunately, Hewitt shared with us an easy trick to tell exactly when your orchid is thirsty. "Orchids have a very distinctive way of telling you that they need to be watered—their roots change color," she explains. "When roots turn grey, your orchid needs to be watered. When roots are a bright green, they are hydrated and do not need any additional water. Orchids will usually come in a clear grow pot, so just lift the grow pot out of the planter and check the roots once a week!"

In general, most orchids will need to be watered about once or twice per week, depending upon the season and temperature. But rather than stick to a strict schedule, check the orchid's roots and let the plant tell you exactly when it needs water.

The Best Spot to Place an Orchid

"Orchids prefer indirect sunlight or the shadiest part in your home," Hewitt recommends. "Also keep in mind that orchids are a tropical plant, so they enjoy the humidity to a certain degree (65 to be exact)." Pro tip: to give your orchid an extra dose of humidity, let it spend a day or two in your bathroom so it can soak up the steam from the shower.

How Often to Fertilize Orchids

"Any plant or flower will benefit from fertilizer—it’s an extra boost your plants need every once and while." Orchid thrive when given a bit more fertilizer than other houseplants. In the summer, fertilize them every week or two weeks, but in the winter, switch to fertilizing every month.

Once you've set your orchid in indirect sun, are checking its roots to tell when to water, and are fertilizing it regularly, your new houseplant will reward you with beautiful blooms. "Don’t let orchids intimidate you!" Hewitt says. "They are insanely beautiful, and once you get the hang of it, it’ll be a fun addition to your plant collection."