Orchids: Expert shares tips for looking after plant

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Orchids are plants that originate from tropical jungles, and that’s why some owners struggle to keep them. To create the perfect indoor conditions, Express.co.uk spoke to orchid expert George Burnham from the North England Orchid Society, who has been breeding, growing and looking after orchids for decades. He shares his top tips and explained how to get an orchid to reflower more than once a year.

As for what the best orchid is for beginners, George recommended the phalaenopsis. 

“It really is the best one for people to start with and that is why they are sold in so many places and are so popular,” he said. 

“They love the home temperature, need simple care and flower all year round.

George also shared his top tips for caring for a Phalaenopsis orchid. 

He explained: “Temperature: keep warm with a minimum of 18 degrees Celcius in winter. 

“Watering: only ever water once the roots have dried out, check weekly to see if they are still damp.

“Light: give good natural light but avoid the bright summer sun that can burn the leaves.

“Pot: clear pots help the grower to keep an eye on the health of the roots but you can sit this inside a ceramic pot. 

“The clear plastic pot must have plenty of drainage holes.

“Do mist the aerial roots regularly,” he added. “Don’t allow the pot to sit in water.”

For any orchid owner looking to get their plant to re-flower more than once a year, George had some advice. 

He said: “Most orchids will only flower once a year as they have growing and flowering seasons. 

“Phalaenopsis are the only orchids that can flower throughout the year as they don’t have a season. 

“Given the correct culture, plenty of diffused natural light and not overfed with nitrogen. 

“If the plant is healthy then there is no reason why it should not flower regularly.” 

For phalaenopsis orchids that haven’t flowered in years, George said there’s “no reason for it not to flower” if it is healthy. 

“It may just need a push,” George remarked. 

“Try moving to a different position, slightly cooler for a while, add some ‘bloom’ feed or even repot to give the plant a change and kickstart it back into flowering again.” 

As for what George’s favourite orchid is, he revealed: “I have many different favourites depending on the season. 

“At the moment a beautiful chain orchid from the Phillippines called Dendrochilum glumaceum is my favourite. 

“It has sprays of many tiny, white, scented flowers. 

“Next will be the spring flowering Coelogyne ochracea, another white and fragrant species, a very pretty orchid that heralds the start of spring.” 

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