Care & Handling

Care and Handling of Cattleya and Oncidium Orchids

Cattleya and Oncidium orchids are hardy, easy to grow plants with blooms that last for several weeks. In the wild they grow on trees or rocks and get their nourishment from whatever is borne by wind or rain. Like many orchids they come from tropical regions so they like warm, humid conditions. In spite of their tropical origin they are grown in all fifty states and the right conditions for them are not difficult to create.

The following are some hints to help you get the most out of your orchids:

WATER: Once or twice a week put the plant in the sink and let the water run through the pot. Then immediately stop the water and let the pot drain thoroughly. DO NOT let the pot stand in water.

LIGHT: They need subdued light. Near a window but no direct sunlight is ideal. If outside, partial shade is required.

TEMPERATURE: Ideally not below 55 F (13 C) but they will survive temperatures in the forties F (7 C) for short periods. They will not add new growth or bloom at these lower temperatures though. High in the nineties (35 C) is ok.

HUMIDITY: Preferably above 40%. Usually if they are with other plants it will be humid enough. If it is very dry a daily misting will be helpful.

FERTILIZER: A weak solution of Miracle-Gro or Peters soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20 once or twice a month is fine.

REPOTTING: Not required until the plant is trying to grow out of the pot. (Roots often grow out of the pot but they may be ignored). Potting media can be coarse gravel, fir bark chips or other things a local orchid nursery may recommend. DO NOT use soil or potting mix for terrestrial orchids. Do use something with good drainage.

The plants will survive the shipping in good shape but often a leaf or two may turn yellow and drop off. This will not harm the plant and is common if not expected.

Occasionally the pot is broken in shipment. It may be replaced with the same size or slightly larger plastic or clay pot if preferred. The pot must provide good drainage.

If there is damage to the box contents report it to us immediately.

We hope you enjoy your orchid plant.