What is the position of the blue orchid

Orchid care: the 7 most common mistakes

Caring for orchids requires a sure instinct, because the houseplant can be a real diva among plants. In order not to make mistakes when caring for orchids, it is good to know what to look for. That is why we have summarized the seven most important care mistakes in orchids for you.

Hardly any houseplant is more popular than the orchid (Orchidaceae). Fortunately, only very few are put off by the fact that many of these extravagant plants are not very easy to care for. If it does not work out with the perfect orchid flower, there can be various reasons. In this article we deal with the tropical, epiphytically growing orchid genera and clarify the most common mistakes when caring for these special beauties.

Tip: Plants are called epiphytes that grow in their natural habitat as "epiphytes" on larger plants such as trees. Not all orchids, but very many of the tropical genera lead such a life at lofty heights.


Orchid care mistake 1: The wrong location for orchids

Where is the right location for orchids? Many orchid lovers are sure to ask themselves this question. Some orchids cannot thrive properly in the home - simply because they are in the wrong location. The orchid family is very large and diverse - the different species have very different location requirements. So not all orchids can be clipped together. In order to offer your orchid the best growing conditions and the right location, it is important that you study your plant in detail and find out what special requirements your orchid has in terms of light, humidity and warmth.
Most indoor orchids, however, are tropical, epiphytic orchids. We will go into more detail below on their location requirements.

These orchids grow in their home in the partial shade of large trees. This means that they are never exposed to direct or blazing sunlight. In addition, the tropical home of these orchids is warm and humid. Orchid owners should take this as a guideline and create similar conditions at home. Many orchids are in good hands on the windowsill, as they get enough light there. But be careful: a window on the south side is not always suitable. The sun plays an important role in orchid care, because if the sun is too strong, the plants can be damaged and even get sunburned. West or east sides, on the other hand, are suitable for almost all types of orchids. Make sure that the temperature is constant, which suits your particular orchid species. Often the optimal range is between 16 ° C and 30 ° C. Almost all species, however, love a humidity of over 60 percent, as is also found in the tropical rainforest.

Caring for orchids: the right location at a glance:

  • Depending on the species, ideal temperatures are between 16 and 30 ° C
  • Humidity: 60 - 90%
  • As bright as possible, but no blazing sun
  • East or west windows are ideal

Orchid care mistake 2: The wrong orchid care in winter

When the dark and cold season comes, it is important to adjust the care of your orchid. Some species also love the warmth in winter, while others need cooler temperatures around 10 ° C. Here, too, it is important to know your own plant exactly. Incidentally, none of the tropical orchid species can tolerate frost. You should also avoid exposing the houseplant to drafts. The cold winter air is very damaging to the sensitive orchid.

Some orchids are exceptionally allowed to move to a location with more light in the winter months. The sun is then no longer strong enough to damage the orchid. Rather, the plant now needs as much light as it can get. If it does not get enough of it even in the brightest window, you can also help with artificial plant lighting. The next point for optimal orchid care in winter is humidity. This should not fall below 60 percent. And that can be difficult in heated rooms. This is why your orchid wants to be sprayed with lukewarm water at least every two days. Really harmful for the orchid is a location above the heater - the air is simply too dry here. Winter care of orchids also includes watering sparingly. If the days are getting longer and the sun is stronger, you should put your orchid in a more sheltered place at the beginning of March, where it does not get direct sun.

Tip: Some orchid species shed their leaves in winter. These should then be poured all the more sparingly. Otherwise, waterlogging can easily lead to the spread of harmful mold.

Summary: caring for orchids in winter:

  • Place the orchid as light as possible
  • In winter, some species like it cool, others remain warm - none of the tropical species can tolerate frost
  • Humidity over 60%
  • Do not place directly above the heater
  • Spray every 2 days with lukewarm water
  • Avoid drafts
  • Water sparingly
  • Protect from the blazing sun again from March

Orchid care mistake 3: The wrong soil for orchids

Caring for an orchid includes providing it with the right soil. Tropical epiphytes cannot grow in normal soil. Anyone who has taken a closer look at the roots of the orchid knows: They are not normal roots, but aerial roots. These need it as airy and light as possible, because orchids can even photosynthesize with their roots and produce oxygen. So it's no wonder that these special roots need a special soil: a so-called orchid substrate. Due to their special composition and coarse structure, these orchid soils are optimally tailored to the requirements of the beautiful plants.

If you would like to learn more about orchid substrate, then read our article on the right orchid soil.

Tip: There are also terrestrial orchids that can grow in (almost) normal soil. This also includes our local orchids, which can also grow outside in the garden.

Orchid care mistake 4: improper watering and watering

If you want to take care of your orchid properly, you should deal extensively with watering. Because this requires a sure instinct for the sensitive plant. After all, she likes neither too little nor too much water.

Rule of thumb: Orchids in transparent pots are always watered when the inside of the pot no longer steams up.

You can read about what to watch out for when watering orchids and how to proceed correctly in our article on watering orchids.

Orchid care mistake 5: The wrong fertilization

A common mistake in orchid care is misjudging the plant's nutritional needs. Usually too much fertilization is used. The exotic plants don't need that much fertilizer. In addition, there are many different types of orchids, all of which have very different nutritional requirements. Accordingly, they also have to be fertilized differently.

So that you don't lose track and know how to properly fertilize your houseplant, we have summarized everything in our article on fertilizing orchids.

Orchid care mistake 6: Taking care of orchids incorrectly after flowering

The magnificent blooms of orchids are beautiful to look at. When the flowering period is nearing its end, it is time to give the plant a break. She needs it to recover from the last bloom and to gather new strength. Depending on the type of orchid, this break can last a few weeks or even several months. When exactly the time for the resting phase is, of course, depends on when the orchid is in bloom. Most of the time, however, the beautiful flowers rest in winter.

Caring for orchids after flowering is accompanied by a change in temperature. As soon as the plant has finished flowering, place it at temperatures between 15 and 16 ° C. This can be in the bedroom, for example. The dried inflorescences are only cut off when they have completely died off. If they are still plump and green, they must not be shortened. During the break, water your orchid more sparingly than usual. Nevertheless, all parts of the plant can be sprayed with lukewarm water every two days. It is not fertilized until the plant sprouts again. Then the break is officially over.

Caring for orchids after flowering at a glance:

  • Many orchids need a rest after flowering
  • Only cut off the inflorescences when they are completely dry
  • Place faded orchids in a cooler place
  • The temperature during the break depends on the species, often around 15-16 ° C
  • Pour less
  • Do not fertilize until it is sprouted again

Tip: The different types of orchids differ greatly in their need for rest and also in terms of temperature. The temperatures and care instructions mentioned above are therefore to be understood as guidelines, but can vary greatly from one species to another. Some orchid species do not rest after flowering. These include, for example Phalaenopses or Paphiopedilum. As soon as the dried inflorescences have been cut off, they are watered and fertilized as normal. With proper care, they can bloom all year round.

Orchid care mistake 7: cutting the roots incorrectly

The aerial roots of the orchid can grow over the edge of the flower pot or the drainage holes. This may look unsightly to some, but it is by no means a reason to rush to reach for scissors. The roots of the exotic plant are very delicate and vital. If they are simply cut off, the orchid is very damaging. If more roots grow out of the pot than in the pot, it is better time to repot the orchid in fresh orchid substrate. In this way, dried or rotten parts of the root can also be cut off.

You can find detailed instructions for repotting orchids in special orchid soil in our special article. You can also read when and what is best to cut orchids in our article on how to properly cut orchids.

Many thanks to Floragard for the support!

Receive our garden mail

Register now for our free gardening post and receive great gardening tips and inspiration regularly in your email inbox.


At the moment I am studying organic agriculture and together with friends I am trying out new cultivation methods and other horticultural experiments in a community garden. Above all, a resource-saving and considerate approach to nature is important to me. In addition to organic farming, traveling is my great passion. I have already harvested coffee in Guatemala or planted mango trees in India.
Favorite fruits: strawberry, mango, guava
Favorite vegetables: artichoke, tomato, rocket