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Plantgasm - I love plants too much. By Derek Powazek.

Yes, You Can Grow Orchids


Whenever I mention my orchids to people, even plant-lovers like me, they almost always say, “oh, I can’t grow orchids.” But you can! Orchids are just plants, and like all plants, they need light, water, and a little attention.

If you’ve ever brought an orchid home only to have it die on you, don’t feel bad – the deck was stacked against you. It takes years for a young (usually cloned) orchid to get to blooming size. That means the plant has been living its whole life in nearly perfect conditions. Growers know what they’re doing, after all.

Most orchids won’t sell when they’re not in flower, so the plants are grown until they bloom, then they’re shipped to stores. The blooming process puts stress on the plant to begin with. Add to that the enormous stress of being thrust out into the world, put in a less-than-ideal environment for the first time, sitting in a store getting poked at, and then finally coming home with you. It’s no wonder people think orchids always die the moment you bring them home.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are a few tips I’ve learned for buying and caring for orchids.


That’s all I’ve got (and far more than I had when I started). Give it a try! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me on Twitter.

Update: Jodi DeLong has a great post on growing Phalaenopsis orchids.

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Plantgasm is where Derek Powazek chronicles his botanical antics and misadventures. More.