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How to choose an Orchid

How to choose an Orchid

A key part to growing a beautiful Orchid with flowers that last for a long time, is actually choosing the right Orchid for the environment they are going to be in.

Here are the key things that you need to consider about choosing an Orchid:

1. Choose a suitable environment with a temperature that suits the orchid type

When buying an Orchid one of the first things you should consider is the temperature where the Orchid will be placed. You can easily find this out by placing a thermometer in the growing area and noting the minimum and maximum temperatures.

The variety of Orchid that you select depends on the temperature in your chosen area. Here are some examples on which type of Orchid is best in what temperature.

Cool (7 to 12°C) Cymbidium, Dendrobium and Odontoglossum.
Warm (12 to 16°C) Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Paphiopedilum, Miltonia, Oncidium, Phragmipedium (lady slipper) and Vanda.
Hot (16°C or higher)     Angraecum, Phalaenopsis (moth orchid) and Ascocentrum and Vanda.

 As you can see some types of Orchids fit into multiple groups, which shows that for some Orchids the temperature will not matter too much for their growth.

2. Consider the amount of light the Orchid will need in our chosen environment

In general, Orchids do want light. However, some will thrive off bright and direct light, while some will want less direct and more diffused light. Below shows what light some types of Orchid need so that you can see which type of Orchid is best for you.

Bright, south-facing window    Need some shade, an east-facing window  
Angraecum
Vanda
Cymbidium
Dendrobium
Ascocentrum
Paphiopedilum
Phalaenopsis
Phragmipedium
Miltonia
Oncidium
Odontoglossum 

3. How much space to do you have to grow your Orchids?

The space you have for the Orchid to grow, also determines the type of Orchid that you should grow. If you have plenty of space above then you can grow taller Orchids such as Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis and Cattleya. If you do not have much space then you can still grow an Orchid but just choose a smaller one such as Ascocentrum.

4. Is the plant healthy when you choose it from the shop?

Whatever the type of Orchid or wherever you are going to place it, the most important thing when choosing an Orchid is ensuring it is a healthy plant. There are multiples things you need to look for to decide whether the orchid is healthy or not. Here are some things to consider:

  • The roots: Healthy roots should be green in colour.
  • The leaves: If the majority of the leaves are yellow then this indicates the Orchid is dehydrated. Some yellow on the leaves is fine but ideally you want the leaves to be a healthy green colour. Check the leaves for any small holes as this indicates pest problems. Also ensure that there are no soft, mushy or rotten parts.
  • The blooms: try not to pick an Orchid that has finished flowering. This is because if there are some closed buds, then you will have blooming flowers in a few weeks in your house.

Once you have picked the perfect Orchid for your home it is just a matter of caring for it correctly. Read our guide on how to care for Orchids.

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