How to grow Orchids indoors?

Its been few days that I didn't get to post here. I hope the article I share below will give you enough information about growing orchids indoors. I wish I can grow orchids indoor but our house is not big enough to grow stuff like that. Hope you guys have a good week!

So, you want to grow orchid indoors? Well, the grower's task, and it is no easy one, is to set in motion the complicated growth processes of the orchid plant, and, through maintenance of proper balance, insure continuation of that process.

When it comes to growing orchid indoors, using the energy provided by light, the green leaf chlorophyll transforms the carbon dioxide from the air and the mineral salts from moisture into sugar and other carbohydrates.

These energy carbohydrates are stored until needed either for rebuilding plant tissue or for flowering. The pseudobulbs of some types, the large leathery leaves of others, and the slender grass-like leaves of orchids lacking pseudobulbs are the storage reservoirs.

The cycle will continue only if the grower devotes the utmost attention to the special requirements of the orchid. The reward for his devotion comes when the brilliant bloom and beauty of the tropics is reproduced in the greenhouse.

No hard and fast rules can be set down for the beginner to follow when it comes to growing orchid indoors. When you want to grow orchid indoors, the amount of each element in the light-heat-moisture-air formula will vary according to season, experience, and variety.

One of the things that make the growing of orchids unique and stimulating is the spirited controversy that arises over every aspect of culture.

One of the many points on which there is no incontroversial procedure is the matter of how much light should be admitted when gor. It must be decided whether to grow the plants 'soft' or 'hard,' to use the parlance of experienced growers.

The amateur must make his own choice. To grow 'soft' means to shade the plants from the sun so that the leaves remain a beautiful dark green.

There can be no doubt that this method produces the most beautiful plants, but the quality of bloom is a question that cannot be answered so definitely. In 'soft' conditions care must be exercised not to shade to the point where flower growth will be hindered.

To grow 'hard' means to allow so much light that the leaves have decided overtones of yellow. This method, while marring the appearance of the plant, is said by its proponents to give increased bloom. Too much light must be avoided, since it will burn the plant and growth will be interrupted.

Dry, yellow flower sheaths will at times result from such sunburn, and incipient buds will become steamy and subject to destruction by wet rot. Cutting off the very top of such a sheath with a sharp knife will allow air to reach the bud and may save it.

The claim that growing orchids 'hard' increases flower growth appears logical if the conditions under which orchids grow in their natural state are considered: the natural environment is 'hard.' It must be remembered, however, that nature controls sunlight in a way difficult to approximate in the greenhouse.

Even in those areas where certain varieties grow in so-called 'full sun/ it will be found that drifting clouds give a protection that is absent under intensely directed light in the greenhouse.

Once the amateur has made the choice between 'soft' and 'hard' methods, the subsequent treatment must be consistent. If much sun is provided, more moisture and air will be required. If the plants are grown with minimum sun they will require less moisture, but an increase in ventilation may be needed to keep the air sweet.

Too great an increase in heat during the winter is a common error of orchid growers. Plants store up energy during the daylight hours and give off or transpire energy at night. Increase in night heat increases transpiration.

Shorter periods of daylight lessen the manufacture of energy. If the plant loses more energy at night than it is able to store during the day, obviously it will suffer.

Orchids are very susceptible to shock of any kind, and they take considerable time to recover—if they ever do. This danger must be borne in mind regarding sunburn, chilling, or energy deficit.

There is the further difficulty of each species' having its own light requirements. Quick reference to conditions in the native homes of the species that the amateur is likely to acquire will illustrate the point. Cattleyas, native to Central and South America, are found hanging on trees in the tropical rain forests.

The burning sun of midday is usually kept off the plant by foliage directly overhead. The grower, guided by this knowledge, lets Cattleyas be exposed to the sun, but provides shade in summer during the warmest part of the day, for sunburn must be avoided.

The increased exposure to sun necessitates a corresponding increase in humidity to prevent the pseudobulbs from shriveling.

The grower should vary heat conditions to balance other conditions of the house and plants. As in most native habitats, the temperature can be some degrees lower in winter than in summer. This is another point on which there is difference of opinion.

Some growers increase the heat a bit during the winter day, reducing it again at night to sustain balance.

With the proper balance of light, heat, and ventilation there remains only moisture to round out the growth formula. The technique of watering orchids includes, besides watering in the pot, spraying and damping.

With orchids the old familiar watering in the pot is the trickiest and the most dangerous procedure. There are a few general rules to be observed. Watering or spraying should be done only with a rising temperature. Daily watering of plants up to three inches in height is recommended; thereafter caution is urged.

Tiny seedlings should be kept wet at the roots, but must not be allowed to become soggy. Finally, the beginner is warned once more not to acquire too many plants. There should be only as many plants as can be handled individually once a week—never less often than once every two weeks.

This is the only efficacious manner of checking watering needs, to say nothing of the fact that it provides a needed check on scale, fungus, and pests.

In watering, the amateur again finds wide variance in the needs of the many species. When watering Cattleyas, it is well to soak the pot thoroughly and then allow the potting material almost but not entirely to dry out.

The pots should not become completely dry since the bulbs may shrivel and plant growth may be retarded for at least a year.

Yet, if there is any doubt, it is far better to err on the dry side. Dryness will deter growth, but too much moisture will kill the plant. If water remains in the pot and does not dry out in a week or ten days, it is likely that the roots will have rotted off.

The pseudobulbs will shrivel and the leaves droop. Many amateurs mistake this for an indication of dryness, and treat the pot to another drubbing, thus rotting the remaining roots and probably killing the plant. A plant that shows signs of shriveling from lack of roots will often respond to a daily gentle overhead spray.

Laelias and other plants with light, heat, and air requirements similar to the Cattleyas need about the same watering treatment. Laelias like slightly more water after complete growth and before flowering. After flowering they will require slightly less.

Vandas, since they are without pseudobulbs, must have water at all times, but their lusty aerial roots will take care of some deficiency in watering by taking moisture from the air. Phalae-nopsis, also pseudobulb-less, must not be allowed to dry out entirely.

Watering of this species must be done with care to prevent water from remaining in the crowns, a condition that is conducive to the growth of fungus.

Oncidiums must not be allowed to shrivel. They need a great deal of water when growth is being completed and flowering is beginning, but require less after flowering. The bulbs of Cym-bidiums should not be allowed to shrivel.

Standing pots on damp gravel on the floor seems to give them the warmth at the top and coolness below that they find congenial.

They prefer water at the roots at all times, but the potting mixture should be well drained and not soggy. Cypripediums have no bulbs and require copious water at the roots. Odontoglossums also require much moisture at the roots, and must be kept cool and shaded.

The amateur will soon learn to recognize signs of well-being or need in his plants. Jewel-tipped roots and fat, rosy growths are indications of health.

Root growth is usually, though not always, apparent, and pots indicating healthy roots can be watered more frequently than those where root growth is doubtful. The latter should be treated to plentiful overhead spray.

This brings us to consideration of the importance of the overhead spray. Orchids appreciate diffused water as they do diffused light. A fine spray makes a hot, dry day bearable for all the plants. A daily spray is routine except for dark, cold days in winter; at the height of summer two or more sprays a day will be gratefully received.

Daily light spraying over the potting material is prescribed for tiny seedlings, backbulbs without roots, sick plants, and newly potted plants.

Healthy roots attest the value of this treatment. Some growers pot with damp material and allow the newly potted plants to go without pot watering until roots show. Light spray over the top of the potting material supplies enough moisture to prevent shriveling.

Damping is the simplest of the watering operations. Its virtue is enhanced because it is hard to do damage with this method. It consists of watering down the walls, floors, paths, and benches between the pots.

In most climates this should be almost a daily procedure, omitted only when the house is too cold or the outside air too damp.

But there is one caution that should be heeded. It is popularly believed that orchids grow in steamy jungles. This is a misapprehension. What takes place in the jungle is rapid evaporation.

Steam is injurious to orchids, and when the house is being damped down, care should be taken not to play the water on hot pipes.

Lastly, it is imperative that the plants have water with an acidity reading of approximately 4.5 to 5 pH.1 Where the local water supply is very alkaline, some method of putting it on the acid side must be arranged.