Orchids are such beautiful and interesting flowers that no one should be deterred from growing them because of worries over alleged fussiness. Some orchids are difficult to grow, and require very specific conditions. However, most orchids available as houseplants are as easy to grow as are African violets, and can brighten and cheer any home. But, like any plant, orchids can be plagued by certain problems, and understanding how to deal with these can make growing orchids easier and more enjoyable.
A very common problem with orchids is yellowing of the leaves. The correct color of orchid leaves is usually a pale or medium green color, so when the leaves begin to turn yellow, it is a signal that something is wrong. When an orchid is receiving too much light, the leaves will often begin to turn yellow. The solution is simple to this trouble – just move the orchid to a shadier situation. Conversely, if the leaves become too dark, it can mean that the orchid needs more light.
Most orchids grown as houseplants come from tropical or subtropical regions. The temperatures there are never even cool, so care must be taken to be sure that the orchid is not subjected to temperatures lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Leaving the orchid on the windowsill during a northern winter can harm it, but once again, the solution is easy, just put the orchid somewhere warmer and the leaves should be restored to their normal coloration.
Problems can also arise are regards the blooming cycle in orchids. To begin with, most orchids require a rest period to simulate the dry season of their original environment. Helping your orchid to rest for several weeks over the winter will let it fall into its natural rhythm and it will be more likely to bloom. If your orchid has rested and still refuses to bloom, it can mean that the temperature requirements are not being met. Making sure that you know whether your orchid prefers warm or cooler temperatures, and correcting for this, if necessary, can help the orchid enter the blooming cycle.
One of the most frustrating conditions pertaining to orchid flowering is when the buds begin to form, then all fall off. There are several things that can cause the loss of buds, and knowing the exact requirements of your orchid will help you to correct this. If the orchid is either too hot or too cold, the buds can fall off. Orchids do not like to be soggy, and if you have been over watering, this can prevent the buds from flowering. Another thing that can cause the buds to detach is moving the orchid from one spot to another during this time. Flowering causes a great deal of demand on the plants, and taking it from one spot to another, in effect changing its environment, can just cause too much stress on the plant, resulting in bud loss.
Most orchids grow as epiphytes in the rainforest and, although the environment is very humid, the position of these orchids far above the ground means that they also get a great deal of air circulation. When there is little air movement around orchids, they can be more susceptible to fungal infections. These will often show up as mildew on the leaves, or as the leaves will begin to rot. There are fungicides available at garden centers that can help to deal with these fungi. Along with this kind of treatment, it would also be a good idea to increase air movement around the orchid, as stale air will just cause the problem to resurface.