New to Orchid Growing? 12 Mistakes and Fixes for Novices
Orchids, often regarded as the aristocrats of the plant world, captivate gardeners and indoor plant enthusiasts alike with their elegant beauty and exotic allure. While these stunning flowers can seem intimidating to newcomers, they are surprisingly resilient when given the right care. If you’re new to orchid growing, fear not! This blog post will guide you through 12 common mistakes beginners make and provide easy fixes to ensure your orchids thrive.
Orchid-growing can be a rewarding and fulfilling hobby once you understand the needs of these exquisite plants. By avoiding these common mistakes and following the provided fixes, you’ll be well on your way to nurturing healthy, thriving orchids that will bloom with stunning beauty. Remember, patience and persistence are key, so enjoy the journey of becoming an orchid enthusiast!
Mistake #1: Overwatering
Overwatering is perhaps the most prevalent mistake made by new orchid growers. Orchids are unique plants with specific watering needs, and understanding these requirements is crucial to their well-being. Here’s how to recognise overwatering and how to fix it:
Signs of overwatering:
Soggy Potting Mix: The orchid’s potting mix remains consistently wet or soggy.
Yellowing Leaves: The leaves of your orchid may develop yellow or translucent patches, especially at the base.
Root Rot: Overwatering can lead to root rot, which is characterised by mushy, brown, or black roots that have a foul odour.
Lack of New Growth: Orchids may stop producing new growth, including leaves and flower spikes, when overwatered.
How to Fix Overwatering:
Adjust Your Watering Frequency: Allow the potting mix to dry out slightly between waterings. It’s time to water if you stick your finger one inch into the soil and it feels dry. Wait to water it if it’s still wet.
Choose the Right Pot: Ensure your orchid’s pot has drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom. If it’s in a decorative pot without drainage, remove the orchid from it when watering, allowing excess water to drain away.
Use the “Ice Cube Method” with caution. Some people use ice cubes to water orchids, which can help regulate moisture levels. However, monitor your orchid closely to ensure it’s receiving enough water using this method.
Repot If Necessary: If your orchid has suffered from overwatering for an extended period, consider repotting it into a fresh orchid mix. Trim away any rotting roots and let the plant recover in a new pot.
Remember that orchids prefer to dry out slightly between waterings, and it’s better to err on the side of underwatering than overwatering. With patience and the right watering technique, you can help your orchid thrive and avoid the common pitfall of overwatering.
Mistake #2: Using the Wrong Potting Mix
Choosing the correct potting mix for your orchids is essential for their overall health and growth. Using the wrong mix can lead to poor drainage, root suffocation, and a host of other issues. Here’s how to recognise the mistake of using the wrong potting mix and how to fix it:
Signs of Using the Wrong Potting Mix:
Soggy Potting Mix: Water takes a long time to drain from the pot after watering, leaving the mix consistently wet.
Compacted Soil: The potting mix becomes compacted over time, reducing aeration and making it difficult for roots to breathe.
Poor Root Growth: Orchids may exhibit stunted or unhealthy root growth, often wrapping around the inside of the pot.
Nutrient Deficiency: The potting mix may lack the necessary nutrients for orchids, leading to weak growth and limited flowering.
How to Fix the Wrong Potting Mix:
Choose Orchid-Specific Mix: Opt for a potting mix specifically designed for orchids. These mixes typically contain ingredients like bark, perlite, sphagnum moss, and other materials that promote excellent drainage and aeration.
Repot Your Orchid: If you suspect you’ve used the wrong potting mix, consider repotting your orchid into the appropriate mix. Gently remove the plant from its current pot, remove any old mix, trim unhealthy roots, and repot it into the new mix.
Check for aeration: Ensure that the new potting mix allows air to circulate freely around the roots. This promotes healthy root growth and prevents issues like root rot.
Fertilise appropriately: Orchids planted in the right mix may still require supplemental nutrients. Use a balanced orchid fertiliser at half strength every 2-4 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer).
By selecting the correct potting mix and repotting your orchid if needed, you’ll provide your plant with the ideal environment for root health and overall vitality. Orchids thrive on well-draining, airy substrates, and making this adjustment can lead to a significant improvement in their well-being.
Mistake #3: Neglecting light requirements
Neglecting the light requirements of your orchids is a common pitfall for newcomers to orchid growing. Orchids are exquisitely sensitive to light, and providing them with the proper illumination is vital for their health and flowering. Let’s delve deeper into this mistake and explore how to rectify it effectively.
Signs of Neglecting Light Requirements:
Limited or No Blooms: Orchids may refuse to produce flowers or may yield infrequent and underwhelming blooms.
Leggy Growth: The stems and leaves of your orchid may appear stretched and elongated as the plant reaches for more light.
Leaf discoloration: You might observe signs of light stress on the leaves, such as yellowing or darkening.
Stunted Growth: Orchids may stop producing new growth altogether, becoming stagnant in their development.
How to Fix Neglecting Light Requirements:
Learn Orchid Light Preferences: Different orchid species have diverse light requirements. It’s crucial to acquaint yourself with your specific orchid’s preferences.Indirect, bright light is ideal for most orchid species.
Assess Your Lighting Conditions: Evaluate the natural light available in your growing area. Orchids generally do well near east- or west-facing windows, where they receive gentle, indirect sunlight. South-facing windows may require shading to prevent excessive sun exposure.
Utilise Window Sheers or Curtains: If your orchids receive too much direct sunlight, consider using sheer fabric or curtains to diffuse and filter the light.
Rotate Your Orchids: To ensure uniform light exposure, periodically rotate your orchids. This practice ensures that all sides of the plant receive adequate illumination.
Supplement with Grow Lights: If you can’t provide sufficient natural light, invest in specialised orchid grow lights. These lights are designed to mimic the specific light spectrum that orchids need. Adjust their placement to meet your orchids’ light requirements.
Monitor and Adjust: Keep a vigilant eye on your orchids and observe how they respond to the light conditions you’ve set. Be prepared to adjust their placement or lighting arrangements if you notice signs of light stress or inadequate growth.
Understanding and addressing your orchid’s light needs is a fundamental step towards cultivating healthy plants that reward you with stunning, vibrant blooms. While finding the right lighting balance may require some experimentation, your dedication and attention will lead to successful orchid growth.
Mistake #4: Ignoring temperature and humidity
Temperature and humidity play vital roles in the well-being of orchids, and neglecting these factors can lead to stress and poor growth for these beautiful plants. Let’s explore the mistake of ignoring temperature and humidity requirements for orchids and how to correct it.
Slow Growth: Orchids may grow slowly or not at all, especially if they experience temperature extremes.
Leaf Damage: Leaves may develop brown, crispy edges (from low humidity) or show signs of heat stress, such as wilting or scorching.
Reduced Flowering: Inconsistent temperature and humidity can lead to fewer or smaller blooms.
Increased Vulnerability to Pests and Disease: Orchids that aren’t in their preferred climate conditions can become more susceptible to pests and diseases.
How to Fix Ignoring Temperature and Humidity Requirements:
Research Your Orchid’s Native Environment: Different orchid species have distinct temperature and humidity preferences. Study your specific orchid’s natural habitat to understand its needs better.
Maintain a suitable temperature: Keep your orchids in a location with temperatures that mimic their native environment as closely as possible. Many orchids thrive in daytime temperatures between 70 and 85°F (21 and 29°C) and slightly cooler nights.
Control Humidity Levels: Maintain humidity levels between 40% and 70% for most orchids. You can use humidity trays, misting, or humidifiers to achieve this. In dry indoor environments, increasing humidity is particularly important.
Avoid Draughts and Temperature Fluctuations: Orchids are sensitive to sudden temperature changes and drafts. Place them away from vents, radiators, or windows with extreme temperature variations.
Use Temperature-Adjusting Devices: In extreme climates, consider using heating mats, fans, or air conditioning to regulate temperature and humidity around your orchids.
Regularly Monitor Conditions: Keep an eye on the temperature and humidity in your orchid’s environment. Invest in a thermometer and hygrometer to ensure you’re meeting their requirements consistently.
Adapt Seasonally: Recognise that orchids often have different temperature and humidity preferences during their growing and resting seasons. Adjust care accordingly.
By taking the time to understand and provide the correct temperature and humidity conditions for your orchids, you’ll create an environment where they can flourish, grow vigorously, and reward you with the stunning blooms they are known for. Orchids thrive when they feel right at home in terms of climate, so paying attention to these factors is crucial for their success.
Mistake #5: Neglecting Air Circulation
Air circulation is an often underestimated aspect of orchid care, but it’s crucial for the health and well-being of your plants. Neglecting proper airflow can lead to various issues for your orchids. Let’s delve into this mistake and explore how to address it effectively.
Signs of Neglecting Air Circulation:
Fungal and Bacterial Problems: Poor air circulation can create a humid, stagnant environment that encourages the development of fungal and bacterial diseases, like root rot or mould.
Stagnant Growth: Orchids may exhibit slow or stagnant growth due to insufficient oxygen around their roots.
Leaf Problems: Lack of airflow can cause moisture to accumulate on the leaves, leading to rot or fungal issues.
Reduced Flowering: Orchids may produce fewer or smaller flowers when they lack adequate ventilation.
How to Fix Neglecting Air Circulation
Select an Open Potting Mix: Choose a potting mix that provides good aeration for your orchids, such as one containing bark, perlite, or sphagnum moss. This allows air to reach the roots.
Proper Pot and Potting: Use pots with sufficient drainage holes to prevent water from pooling at the bottom. When repotting, ensure the roots are well-spaced and not overcrowded.
Positioning: Avoid placing your orchids in cramped or enclosed spaces. Allow for some space around them to facilitate air movement.
Use Fans: If growing indoors, consider using small fans set on low to create gentle airflow. This helps prevent moisture buildup and discourages pests and diseases.
Open Windows and Doors: When weather permits, open windows and doors to introduce fresh air into your growing area. This helps maintain a healthy environment.
Avoid Overcrowding: Don’t overcrowd your orchids or place them too close together. Adequate spacing allows each plant to receive the airflow it needs.
Regular Inspection: Periodically inspect your orchids for signs of poor air circulation, such as rot or mold. To stop problems from spreading, deal with them right away.
By addressing the importance of air circulation, you’ll provide your orchids with a healthier growing environment. Proper airflow ensures that your orchids receive the oxygen they need and helps prevent the development of common issues associated with stagnant conditions. It’s a vital aspect of orchid care that should not be overlooked.
Mistake #6: Overfertilizing
Overfertilizing is a common error made by novice orchid growers. While orchids do require nutrients for healthy growth, excessive fertilisation can harm them. Let’s explore this mistake and discover how to correct it for the well-being of your orchids.
Signs of overfertilizing:
Leaf Burn: Orchid leaves may show signs of browning or burning at the tips and edges due to an excess of salts from fertiliser buildup.
Salt Deposits: You may notice white, crusty deposits on the surface of the potting mix, indicating a buildup of unused fertiliser salts.
Stunted Growth: Ironically, too much fertiliser can hinder growth by disrupting the balance of essential nutrients.
Reduced Flowering: Orchids may produce fewer or smaller flowers when overfertilized, which can lead to nutrient imbalances.
How to Fix Overfertilizing:
Use a Balanced Orchid Fertiliser: Choose a balanced orchid fertiliser with an equal ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), such as 20-20-20 or 10-10-10.
Dilute Fertiliser: Dilute the recommended dose of fertiliser to half or even quarter strength. Orchids prefer “weakly, weekly” fertilisation during the growing season.
Water Thoroughly: After applying diluted fertiliser, water your orchid thoroughly. This helps flush excess salts from the potting mix.
Monitor Fertilisation Frequency: Stick to a regular fertilisation schedule but reduce the strength. Typically, fertilise your orchids every 2-4 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer).
Flush the Potting Mix: Periodically, flush the potting mix by watering it thoroughly with plain water to help remove accumulated fertiliser salts.
Observe Your Orchids: Pay close attention to how your orchids respond to fertilization. If you notice signs of leaf burn or other stress indicators, reduce the fertiliser concentration further.
Adjust for Seasonal Changes: Orchids may have different nutritional needs during their active growing season compared to their rest period. Adjust your fertilisation accordingly.
Remember that orchids are not heavy feeders, and less is often more when it comes to fertilization. By providing them with the right amount of nutrients and avoiding overfertilization, you’ll promote healthy growth and vibrant flowering without risking harm to your orchids.
Mistake #7: Not Repotting When Necessary
Mistake #7: Not Repotting When Necessary
Failing to repot your orchids when needed can hinder their growth and overall health. Orchids should be repotted periodically to refresh their potting mix and provide room for root expansion. Let’s explore this common mistake and learn how to address it effectively.
Signs That Repotting is Necessary:
Overcrowded Roots: Orchids may become root-bound, with roots circling the inside of the pot and becoming cramped.
Decomposed Potting Mix: Over time, the potting mix breaks down and becomes compacted, reducing drainage and aeration.
Stunted Growth: Orchids may exhibit slow or limited growth, with smaller leaves and fewer flowers.
Yellowing Leaves: Leaves may turn yellow or translucent, indicating that the potting mix is no longer providing adequate nutrition.
How to Fix Neglecting Repotting:
Choose the Right Time: The best time to repot orchids is typically when new growth begins, typically in spring or early summer. Avoid repotting when your orchid is in bloom or has just finished flowering.
Select a Suitable Pot: Choose a pot that is just slightly larger than the current one. Orchids prefer to be a little cramped in their pots.
Prepare Fresh Potting Mix: Use an orchid-specific potting mix that promotes good drainage and aeration. Common ingredients include bark, perlite, and sphagnum moss.
Carefully Remove the Orchid: Gently remove the orchid from its current pot, taking care not to damage the roots. You may need to soak the pot to make removal easier.
Trim Roots If Necessary: If the roots are overgrown or damaged, trim away any unhealthy or rotting portions with sterile scissors or pruning shears.
Repot Orchid: Place the orchid in the new pot, ensuring that the top of the roots is level with the top of the pot.With new potting soil, fill in any gaps.
Water Thoroughly: After repotting, water the orchid thoroughly to settle the new mix and remove any air pockets.
Provide TLC Post-Repotting: Place your orchid in a stable, well-lit location and continue regular care. Avoid disturbing the plant for a few weeks to allow it to acclimatise to its new pot.
Regular repotting is essential for orchids to thrive and avoid the limitations of overcrowded pots and exhausted potting mixes. By recognising the signs that indicate repotting is necessary and following these steps, you’ll ensure that your orchids have the space and fresh mix they need to flourish.
Mistake #8: Using the Wrong Pot Size
Selecting the correct pot size for your orchids is crucial for their growth and overall health. Using the wrong pot size, whether it’s too large or too small, can lead to various issues. Let’s explore this mistake and understand how to address it effectively.
Signs of Using the Wrong Pot Size:
Overly Large Pot: When the pot is significantly larger than the root system, excess potting mix retains moisture, leading to overwatering and root rot.
Too Small Pot: An undersized pot can restrict root growth and cause the orchid to become root-bound.
Stagnant Growth: Orchids may exhibit slow or limited growth, with smaller leaves and reduced flowering.
How to Fix the Wrong Pot Size:
Choose an Appropriately Sized Pot: Select a pot that provides a snug fit for your orchid’s root system with a little room for growth. A pot that’s just an inch or two wider in diameter than the old one is usually suitable.
Check for Healthy Roots: Before repotting or selecting a new pot, examine the health of your orchid’s roots. Trim away any dead or unhealthy roots.
Repot Carefully: If you’re repotting, gently remove the orchid from its old pot and shake off the old mix. If it’s a new pot, add fresh orchid-specific potting mix to the bottom.
Position the Orchid: Place your orchid in the new pot, ensuring that the top of the roots is level with the top of the pot. Fill in the gaps with fresh potting mix.
Water Thoroughly: After repotting or planting in a new pot, water the orchid thoroughly to settle the new mix and remove air pockets.
Maintain Proper Care: Continue to care for your orchid as usual, adjusting your watering schedule based on the pot size and potting mix used.
Remember that orchids generally prefer being a little cramped in their pots rather than having too much room. The right pot size provides stability, ensures proper drainage, and promotes healthy root growth. By addressing this common mistake and using the appropriate pot size, you’ll set the foundation for your orchids to thrive.
Mistake #9: Neglecting Pest Control
Overlooking pest control is a mistake that can have detrimental consequences for your orchids. Pests like aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects can quickly infest your plants and damage them. Here’s how to recognise this mistake and how to address it effectively.
Signs of Neglecting Pest Control:
Visible Pests: You may notice small insects, webs, or sticky residue on your orchids, leaves, or potting mix.
Yellowing or Distorted Leaves: Pests can cause leaves to turn yellow, curl, or become distorted.
Stunted Growth: Orchids may exhibit slow or limited growth in the presence of pests.
Reduced Flowering: Pests can sap the energy of your orchids, leading to fewer or smaller blooms.
Leaf Fall: Serious infestations can cause leaves to fall off early.
How to Fix Neglecting Pest Control:
Regular Inspection: Inspect your orchids regularly, paying close attention to the undersides of leaves and the base of stems, where pests often hide.
Isolate Infested Orchids: If you discover pests on one orchid, isolate it from your other plants to prevent the infestation from spreading.
Treatment Options: Depending on the type of pest, you can use various methods for control:
Mechanical Control: Remove pests by gently wiping them off with a soft, damp cloth or a cotton swab.
Insecticidal Soap: Use insecticidal soap or neem oil, diluted according to package instructions, to treat your orchids.
Biological Control: Introduce beneficial insects like ladybirds or predatory mites to control pest populations.
Chemical Insecticides: As a last resort, consider using chemical insecticides labelled safe for orchids. Always follow the instructions carefully.
Preventative Measures: To prevent pest infestations, maintain good orchid hygiene. Keep your growing area clean, remove fallen leaves, and avoid overwatering, which can create conditions favourable for pests.
Quarantine New Additions: Quarantine new orchids for a few weeks before introducing them to your existing collection to ensure they are pest-free.
Monitor Regularly: Continue monitoring your orchids even after addressing a pest issue to catch any resurgence or new infestations early.
Paying attention to pest control is vital to maintaining the health and beauty of your orchids. Regular inspection and prompt action are key to preventing pests from causing extensive damage to your plants.
Mistake #10: Pruning incorrectly
Pruning orchids is a task that must be performed with care and precision. Pruning mistakes can harm your orchids, so it’s crucial to understand how and when to trim them properly. Here’s how to recognise pruning mistakes and how to correct them:
Signs of Pruning Incorrectly:
Damaged Leaves or Stems: Pruning mistakes can result in accidental damage to healthy leaves or stems.
Infection or Disease Spread: If pruning tools aren’t sanitised or if cuts are made improperly, it can lead to the spread of infections or diseases.
Reduced Flowering: Overzealous pruning or cutting flower spikes prematurely can result in fewer or no blooms.
How to Fix Pruning Incorrectly:
Sanitise Your Tools: Always sterilise your pruning shears or scissors before and after each use to prevent the spread of diseases. You can use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect your tools.
Understand Your Orchid: Different orchid species have different pruning requirements. Familiarise yourself with your specific orchid’s growth habits and when it typically blooms.
Prune Dead or Dying Parts: Carefully remove any dead or yellowing leaves, stems, or flower spikes using sharp, clean tools. Make clean cuts just above a node or joint.
Avoid Over-Pruning: Be cautious not to over-prune. Orchids typically store energy in their leaves and stems, so removing too much can hinder their ability to grow and bloom.
Trim Flower Spikes Carefully: If your orchid has finished blooming and you want to trim the flower spike, cut it just above a healthy node. Some orchids can rebloom from the same spike.
Monitor New Growth: Keep an eye on the emergence of new leaves and flower spikes. If you notice issues, adjust your pruning approach accordingly.
Be patient. Orchids can take time to recover and regrow after pruning. Be patient and continue with regular care to support their rejuvenation.
Pruning is a valuable aspect of orchid care when done correctly. It helps maintain the health and appearance of your orchids. However, it’s essential to take your time, be cautious, and avoid unnecessary cuts to ensure that your orchids can thrive and bloom beautifully.
Mistake #11: Stressing Over No Blooms
One of the most common concerns for orchid growers, especially beginners, is the worry over their orchids not blooming. However, it’s important to remember that orchids have their own unique blooming patterns, and stressing over this issue is a common mistake. Here’s how to address this concern and reduce the stress associated with it:
Understanding Orchid Blooming Patterns:
Seasonal Blooms: Many orchid species have specific seasons during which they naturally bloom. It’s normal for your orchid to have periods of rest and bloom throughout the year.
Adjustment Period: When you bring a new orchid home or repot it, it may take some time to adjust to its new environment. During this adjustment, it may not bloom immediately.
Age Matters: Orchids often need to reach a certain level of maturity before they can produce flowers. Some orchids won’t bloom until they are several years old.
How to Address the Concern of No Blooms:
Research Your Orchid: Learn about your specific orchid’s blooming habits, including the type of orchid, its ideal conditions, and its typical blooming season.
Provide Proper Care: Ensure you’re meeting all the care requirements for your orchid in terms of light, temperature, humidity, and watering. A healthy, well-cared-for orchid is more likely to bloom.
Be Patient: Orchids don’t bloom continuously. They go through natural cycles of growth, rest, and blooming. Sometimes, all that’s needed is time.
Avoid Overfeeding: Overfeeding can lead to excessive leaf growth at the expense of blooming. Follow a balanced fertilisation schedule to encourage blooms.
Check for Signs of Health: Healthy orchids with strong roots and foliage are more likely to bloom. Regularly inspect your orchid for any signs of pests or diseases that might be inhibiting blooming.
Maintain Consistency: Once you’ve found a care routine that works for your orchid, try to maintain consistent conditions. Sudden changes in light, temperature, or humidity can stress the plant and delay blooming.
Consider Seasonal Changes: Some orchids require a temperature drop to initiate blooming. If you’re not seeing blooms, consider adjusting the temperature slightly to mimic seasonal changes.
Remember that orchids are living organisms, and they bloom on their own schedule. Stressing over a lack of blooms won’t change their natural cycle. By providing proper care, being patient, and understanding their unique needs, you can increase the chances of your orchid rewarding you with beautiful blooms when the time is right.
Mistake #12: Giving Up Too Soon
One of the most significant mistakes new orchid growers can make is giving up on their plants too quickly. Orchids can be challenging, and it’s common to face setbacks and difficulties along the way. However, with patience and persistence, you can overcome these challenges and successfully care for your orchids. Here’s how to avoid the mistake of giving up too soon:
Understanding the Learning Curve:
Orchids Are Unique: Orchids are not like typical houseplants. They have specific care requirements that can take time to master.
Trial and error: Growing orchids often involves some trial and error as you figure out the best care routine for your specific orchids and growing conditions.
How to Overcome the Mistake of Giving Up Too Soon
Educate yourself: Invest time in learning about the specific type of orchids you are growing. Understand their natural habitat, growth patterns, and care requirements.
Seek Guidance: Join orchid forums, local orchid clubs, or online communities where experienced growers can provide advice and guidance. When faced with difficulties, don’t be afraid to ask inquiries.
Be Patient: Remember that orchids have their own growth and blooming cycles, which may not align with your expectations. Give them time to adapt and thrive.
Adapt Your Care: If you encounter issues such as overwatering, pests, or yellowing leaves, don’t give up. Adjust your care routine based on what you learn from your orchid’s responses.
Celebrate Small Successes: Orchid care can be a journey with small victories along the way. Celebrate each successful bloom or new growth as a sign of progress.
Experiment Gradually: If you want to try new care techniques or different orchid varieties, do so incrementally. Experimenting slowly allows you to learn without overwhelming yourself.
Keep Records: Maintain a care journal to track your orchid care routines, observations, and any changes you make. This can help you identify patterns and make informed decisions.
Stay Positive: Orchid growing is a rewarding hobby, and patience pays off. Stay positive, and remember that learning from your experiences is part of the journey.
By avoiding the mistake of giving up too soon, you can develop the skills and knowledge needed to become a successful orchid grower. Orchids can be challenging, but they are also incredibly rewarding when you see them thrive and bloom your care
How often should I water my orchids?
Mistake: Overwatering is common for novices.
Fix: Allow the top inch of the orchid’s potting mix to dry before watering again.
Which kind of light are orchids in need of?
Mistake: Insufficient or excessive light can harm orchids.
Fix: Provide bright, indirect light and adjust based on the orchid species.
Why are the leaves on my orchid going yellow?
Mistake: Improper watering or sunlight issues.
Fix: Check watering habits and adjust light conditions; yellow leaves may indicate overwatering.
How do I repot my orchid, and how often should I do it?
Mistake: Neglecting repotting or doing it too frequently.
Fix: Repot every 1-2 years or when the potting mix breaks down, using fresh orchid mix and considering the orchid’s growth.