No, I'm not talking about how Oncidium cebolleta is sometimes used as a peyote substitute, or the fictional drug made from the Ghost Orchid in the film Adaptation. I'm talking about growing the world's finest flowering plant family as a hobby. Growing these plants is fun! It's also a lot less complicated than most people think: you don't need a fancy greenhouse or anything like that. With a little knowledge of the plants' botany and how to grow them, producing beautiful flowers is quite straightforward. The plant care tips in this site are to help you get through your own orchid addiction more smoothly!
Suppose that you're a Phalaenopsis grown in a commercial greenhouse and bought at the supermarket by a novice. Or maybe you're a wild plant, cruelly plucked from your tropical jungle home and deposited on somebody's windowsill because they think your flowers are pretty. (Or maybe they just like your fragrance.) What would you want them to know about how to grow orchids? You'd probably want to make sure they know:
what temperatures they should use
how much light they should provide
how often to water
how to provide the right amount of humidity
how and when to repot
and as many other ways to mimic your native habitat as possible!
Here are some simple care instructions: just reproduce your plants' native habitat and they'll thrive! The trouble is, with over twenty-five thousand species originating from every continent except Antarctica, they come from a wide variety of environments. (They are actually the largest family of flowering plants!) So you need to know a bit about the particular types of orchids you intend to grow, or select plants that will enjoy the conditions you can provide. If you're like me, when you're a beginner you'll start with ones that do well on your windowsill, then you'll get hopelessly addicted and start growing them in ever-more-complicated setups to produce ideal growing conditions for the different types.
If you're growing your plants indoors on a windowsill (as opposed to, say, in a greenhouse, under lights, or in a terrarium) you probably have relatively little ability to alter the plants' climate. Fortunately, the most commonly available types have already been chosen for their ability to grow in typical homes! You can also grow them outdoors during appropriate seasons, or year-round for plants native to a similar climate. If you want to know more about these plants and how to keep them happy, browse through the several sections below: