Exotic and beautiful, orchids are wonderful additions to any garden or home. Throughout history, they’ve been adored for their beautiful colors, fascinating shapes, and large, abundant flowers.
Orchids, despite their image as temperamental, difficult-to-care-for plants, can live for decades with adequate care.
In the same way that other plants require a few simple conditions to thrive, orchids do the same. Your orchid will thrive for years to come if you provide it with the proper nutrients, water, sunlight, and growing medium. Orchids can survive for up to 25 years indoors on average, but the longevity of an orchid plant is highly dependent on the attention and care it receives from its caregiver.
Now that we’ve learned a bit more about the orchid’s life cycle and how long its blooms last, it’s time to see how you can fine-tune your care routine so that your orchid remains a stunning, flourishing plant for years to come.
Are Orchids Annuals or Perennials?
Epiphytes, or plants that live on trees, are the most frequent type of orchid found in the home.
Orchids grow in the shade of trees and plants in tropical and subtropical areas where it is hot and humid.
It’s crucial to follow your orchid’s care recommendations because most houses don’t give the orchid’s optimum rainforest conditions, therefore it’s important to mimic its natural growing environment.
Place a humidity tray on top of your orchid to raise the relative humidity in the room. This can help keep your orchid’s stem and leaves from drying out by increasing the amount of moisture in the air around it.
It’s also a good idea to keep your orchid away from air vents like heaters and air conditioners, as the constant movement will harm the plant.
What Is an Orchid’s Life Cycle?
Pollination, the transfer of pollen from one plant to another, is the first step in the orchid’s life cycle.
Orchids and other insects have a special relationship in the nature. Orchids’ exquisite blossoms have evolved to mimic the shape of the insect they are hoping to attract. Because of this, a pollinating insect thinks the orchid is its partner and comes closer.
However, it doesn’t take long for the bug to understand it’s wrong and collect some pollen. The insect pollinates the plant as it moves from one orchid to the next, thus continuing the reproductive cycle.
During its flight from blossom to flower, an insect can reproduce orchids on hundreds of plants per day. In some cases, orchids are pollinated by hand, using a fine paintbrush or Q-tip, for example.
An orchid’s reproductive cycle begins when pollen is transported from one flower to another, when a chemical reaction takes place and the transfer of pollen takes place. The seed pods can mature in as little as a few weeks or as long as a year, depending on the orchid species. While cattleya seed takes a year to germinate, the Disa seed germinates in just six weeks.
To begin the cycle over again, the plant must first develop roots and a stem before flowering.
How Long Do Orchids Live?
As with any other plant, the life duration of an orchid varies depending on the species. Orchids in the wild can live up to 100 years, according to some reports, but in the home or greenhouse, they often live 20-25 years.
Maintaining a consistent care regimen is the best way to ensure that your orchid flourishes for years or perhaps decades to come.
Repot your orchid in a well-draining pot with fresh orchid potting mix when you get it home. On top of a humidity tray, keep your orchid from direct sunshine, which can easily burn its delicate flowers and leaves.
All year round, use Premium Orchid Food to ensure the health of your orchid. The delicate mixture is designed specifically to stimulate orchid growth and to supply orchids with the nutrients they need to maintain healthy blooms and green foliage..
How Long Do Orchids Take to Grow?
Some orchid species quickly exceed their pots, while others take much longer to produce new stems, blooming spikes, and buds. Those are only two examples. The orchid’s ability to produce new leaves is also dependent on its ability to obtain the right amount of water, sunshine, and nutrients.
In order to help your orchid to flourish, you can set it in an area with bright indirect light and use a moderate orchid fertilizer like Premium Orchid Food.
When growing an orchid from seed, on the other hand, you may need to exercise some patience. Gelatinous substances that include nutrients and growth hormones are used to produce seedlings. Then they mature and become the well-known plants of today.
The plant’s earliest microscopic leaves may take weeks or months to form. Months after the leaves appear, the roots begin to form, and it could take up to eight years for the plant to reach a mature stage where it can produce considerable flowers.
How Often Do Orchids Bloom Indoors?
An orchid’s blooms will vary depending on the species. Depending on the species, the bloom period might last anywhere from a few days to several months. The flowering cycle of orchids can be as frequent as twice or three times every year, depending on the species.
The ability of your orchid to generate new buds and blooms can be affected by a variety of environmental factors, including temperature and humidity, in addition to the species’ natural blooming seasons.
As the temperature drops, most common indoor orchid species, such as moth and cymbidium orchids, begin the budding and blooming process, respectively. The humidity level in your orchid’s surroundings is critical to the blooming process since other species shed buds if the plant is dry.
During the orchid’s flowering season, placing the plant in a cool, dark place overnight will cause it to blossom. It’s best to pick a room with no windows facing the north or a basement.
Do Orchids Come Back Every Year?
Yes! A perennial plant, orchids bloom each year. After a few weeks or months after blooming, your orchid will go into a dormant period in order to conserve energy for the upcoming flowering season.
If your plant is healthy and receiving adequate care, the cycle will continue indefinitely.
What is the Lifespan of an Orchid?
There is no way to predict when a plant will bear fruit, as there is with any other living thing. Plants with a long lifespan can succumb earlier than expected, whereas plants with a limited lifespan can continue to flourish for decades. As a result, it is only possible to provide a preliminary estimate.
You can normally anticipate your orchids to live for several years, but this all depends on how well you care for them (more on this below). As long as the orchid is cared for, it could last for a decade or more, giving you with multiple blossoming seasons.
As an extreme case, a 150-year-old orchid in a Singaporean botanical park is still blooming today.
How to Increase the Lifespan of an Orchid
Giving your orchids the finest possible care is the most effective method for increasing their lifespan. The first step to extending the life of an orchid is to learn all you can about it.
For starters, you’ll need to choose a spot that receives indirect sunlight for the majority of the day. Even though they prefer a lot of light, they can’t stand the high temperatures that come with a sunny southern exposure.
And speaking of heat, keep an eye on the room’s temperature and lighting when caring for your orchids. A safe temperature range for orchids is between 50 and 70F, depending on the variety of orchid (or 10 and 21C).
Water is important to all orchids, but their roots also require a lot of air to thrive. The most common cause of orchid death is root rot. When watering your plants, make sure to give them a good drink and use a loose potting mix so that the water can drain rapidly.
In most cases, orchids are grown in a non-soil potting mixture. According to the species, this mixture may include shredded bark or perlite, coconut fiber, or even fine gravel. Depending on the type of orchid, the specifics of this mixture might vary greatly. For the roots to get the water they need, it should only hold water long enough to do so.
In nature, orchids are known as epiphytes, which means that their roots are exposed to the elements and do not require the normal houseplant potting mixtures.
Once a week, or when the top inch of the potting medium is dry, you should water your orchid. That may seem like a simple enough task, but your work with water does not end there. Even while orchids prefer a dry atmosphere, they also require a high humidity level to compensate for the absence of water in their containers.
When it comes to orchids, it’s not unusual for a house to be humid enough to meet their needs (between 50 and 70 percent humidity). If you’re unsure, a tiny hygrometer can be purchased to determine the relative humidity.
When the winter weather arrives, it’s important to keep an eye on your plants because they’ll be the driest of the year. To keep your plants happy, you’ll need to provide additional moisture to the air.
In order to increase humidity, you can use the standard techniques like daily mistings or placing a dish of water with small stones nearby to encourage evaporation. A humidifier in the room is also an option for the more serious orchid fan.
Placement In Your Home
Your orchid’s health depends on where you place it in your home. Choosing the right site is dependent on a number of things.
Check our Monstera Siltepecana Care and Growing Guide for more information.
The ideal location is one with a steady temperature. The leaves of your orchid can fall off if the temperature suddenly rises. That’s what happens when a plant is suddenly exposed to a whole new environment.
The lighting is another consideration. It’s no secret that orchids are a fan of bright, filtered sunshine. To avoid direct sunlight, it’s better to place it in a north or east-facing window. If that isn’t a possibility, keep it out of direct sunlight by keeping it away from the window. The alternative is to put something over the window to block off direct sunlight if that fails.
Humidity should be taken into account as a last factor. Humid conditions are ideal for this particular tropical plant. Is there a place in your house where you could get both humidity and light? It’s time to use the restroom! It’s a good idea to place an orchid in a bathroom because they do well there. Alternatively, you might try to boost the humidity around the plant in the kitchen or by using a humidifier.
In spite of the fact that this is a simple plant to maintain, it is extremely delicate when it comes to watering. So getting this portion correctly is critical to extending the life of your Phalaenopsis orchid. In addition, the length of blooming can be greatly influenced by proper watering.
To properly water a plant, you must first prepare the potting soil. An extremely well-draining potting media is needed for this plant. After that, make sure the container it’s in has a lot of holes for drainage. Having a saucer to catch any surplus water is a good idea, but it isn’t required.
Rosemary Indoors: Plant Care & Growing Guide is also worth a look.
If you use a saucer to water your orchid, make sure to dump the excess water out as soon as you finish. Otherwise, the well-draining medium will be rendered useless. The roots will be submerged if the water does not drain adequately. This has a negative impact on the health of most plants. It can cause root rot, which is quickly followed by the demise of your plants.
However, the watering is all that matters. If you want to achieve this properly, you will need to keep an eye on the soil of your orchids on a regular basis. You should water your plant as soon as you notice the soil is almost entirely dry.
Thus, the plant’s water requirements will be met. Make sure to not water straight onto the blooms or leaves, though. Once more, your plant is at risk of developing rot or mould as a result of this. Many people mistakenly believe this is a good technique to raise the humidity in a room, while in fact it isn’t.
Inexperienced orchid gardeners often make the following typical blunders. Don’t feel bad if you’re guilty of them; they’re all too common. Trust me, it’s all part of the process of learning!
Misting During Blooms
This is a blunder I used to make all the time, but it was one from which I rapidly learned the hard way. A typical method of increasing humidity in a tropical plant’s environment is to spray it. As far as I can tell, most of the time it’s fine. However, it might be harmful to the health of your moth orchids when they are in bloom.
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It can lead to the plant developing a fungus. Which, if you don’t do something about it right once, can quickly spread to other plants in your house. Even though it is a tropical plant, you might question why it isn’t immune to this. The primary cause of this is a lack of ventilation in the residence. In a natural setting, there would be a constant breeze to aid in the evaporation of the water. So, unless your orchid is in close proximity to a reliable source of airflow, it’s not worth the risk. It’s best to avoid spraying it while it’s in flower.
Nearby Ripening Fruits
If you’re looking for a plant that thrives in a kitchen environment, this one is a good choice. It’s easy to miss the ripening fruit that’s right around the corner. Ethylene is a gas produced by ripening fruits. In fact, this is a key hormone that has an impact on every stage of a plant’s life cycle. Because of this, it’s possible that keeping your orchid near fruit will cause it to wilt sooner than you’d like it to.
How Long Do Orchid Blooms Last?
You may just be interested in the longevity of the orchid’s flowers, not the plant itself. Orchids usually only bloom once a year, but when they do, the showy blooms can persist for several weeks or even months. There are newer hybrids that bloom more than once a year, and some will even bloom nonstop.
While we’re talking about flowering, you should know that your plants need seasonal adjustments to begin the cycle. Orchids need a significant overnight temperature drop in order to flower, sometimes as much as 10 to 15 degrees below the ambient temperature.
When it comes to orchid care, most individuals fall short here, either because they aren’t aware of the issue or because they are unable to regulate their home’s temperature in this manner. The plants can survive without it, but they won’t bloom.
Long-Lived Orchid Varieties
There aren’t any particular orchids that have a longer lifespan than the rest, unfortunately. It’s best to choose an orchid that’s easy to grow if you want it to survive a long period. Then there are a few decent options available to you.
The moth orchid, commonly known as Phalaenopsis, is the most common and easiest to grow type of orchid. Their care is consistent with the rules we’ve already laid out, except they like higher humidity levels.
Instead of direct sunlight, indirect light is preferable, yet they can tolerate higher temperatures than some other orchids.
The Lady of the Night orchid (Brassavola), a hybrid that blooms more than once a year, is another option for a simple orchid. When this occurs, it emits a strong fragrance.
If your orchid is flowering frequently, you may want to add a small amount of mild fertilizer to your regimen to maintain it healthy and long-lived (find a formula for orchids). If you’re not used to receiving highly specialized treatment, this is a very forgiving option.
How to Propagate Orchids
Allowing your orchid to self-reproduce into new plants is another option for extending its “life.” If you’re just starting out, don’t rely solely on splitting perennials or repotting succulents to build your orchid collection.
You can give it a whirl once you’ve gained some experience. Further complicating matters, you may need to understand more than one method of reproduction depending on the type of orchid you are producing.
As an example, you can start new plants by potting offshoots that grow along the stem of the popular moth orchid. They are known as keikies in the orchid community.
In order to let them root in their own pot, you can’t simply pick them off and leave them there. Not quite that simple, actually. You’ll need keiki rooting hormone (available at decent garden stores or florists) when your original orchid begins to develop these buds.
When cutting through the bract, or leafy covering to the bud, use a sharp knife very gently. Do not harm the keiki! Rooting hormone can be injected into the root by gently pulling back a little portion of the leaf. You’ll know how much to use from the package’s labeling.
Leave the bract in place, and allow it to grow roots. Take out the keiki once the roots have grown about an inch or so, then pot the keiki into its own pot of bark or moss.
If it seems overwhelming, there are a number of online tutorials that will let you see the procedure in action.
It is hoped that your ability to care for your orchids will extend their life expectancy and offer interest to your indoor gardening for many years.
How Long Do Orchid Blooms Last?
Blooms can extend from a few weeks to several months depending on the orchid variety.
With adequate care, dendrobium orchids can bloom more than twice a year. One to two months is the average length of time when dendrobium and cattleya orchid flowers are in bloom.
Two other orchid species, the moth orchid and the slipper orchid, have blooms that last for months at a time.
What Do You Do With an Orchid After the Blooms Fall Off?
Remove the flower spike from the plant with a pair of sharp scissors once the orchid has finished blooming. To encourage the plant to generate new branches and flower spikes, simply remove the old ones.
Sterilize the shears before using them on the plant to prevent the spread of microorganisms that could cause disease or infection. Pick a spot two or three nodes away from the plant’s base for a clean, effective cut.
How Long Do Orchids Last? FAQs
Are orchids short-lived?
No! In truth, most orchids can live for a very long time if they are properly cared for. After a short period of time, your orchid most likely succumbed to poor care. Orchids that were divided or propagated in the nineteenth century are still alive and well, according to historical records.
Are orchids hard to grow?
Despite popular misconception, orchids are no more difficult to cultivate than many other common flowering plants. Orchids, like all plants, require regular watering, fertilization, sunlight, and other environmental factors. You can cultivate orchids if you already grow other attractive plants in your garden or indoors, but you’ll need to adapt your care routines to suit epiphytic plants.
Do I need a greenhouse to keep my orchid alive for a long time?
Nope. Orchids can be cultivated indoors or in a greenhouse, depending on your preference. Orchids, for the most part, make lovely arrangements for dining tables and workstations.
There are several places where orchids can be cultivated, such as in a shaded corner of the garden, under a tree, or even in the backyard. Make sure the plants you chose can withstand the conditions in which they will be placed.
What can I do to keep my orchid alive for a long time?
Overwatering may be the most common mistake made by novice orchid growers. Never let your orchids sit in a moist growth medium. In order to avoid root rot, don’t water your orchids until the growing medium is completely dry.
Even though different varieties demand varying levels of care, you should water your orchids no more frequently than once a week as a general guideline. During the winter months, you can water your orchids even less than you normally would.
If you’re unsure whether or not to water your orchid, don’t.
The direct rays of the sun can easily burn your orchid, so avoid placing it in direct sunlight at all costs. A sheer curtain or window shades can be used to soften the direct sun’s rays. Orchids that thrive in bright light should be placed in windows facing south or west, while those that thrive in low light should be placed in windows facing east or north.
My orchid hasn’t bloomed in months. Is something wrong with it?
However, even if you notice a paucity of flowers, it is most probable that your orchid has not yet entered its blooming season.
Orchid blooming season varies from species to species, with some blooming only once a year. Some cultivars bloom in the fall and winter, while others only do so in the spring or summer, depending on the region.