Orchid Growing Mistakes New Gardeners Make + Solutions

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Welcome to the captivating world of orchid growing! Orchids, with their exquisite blooms and alluring charm, have long captivated the hearts of gardeners. However, for those new to cultivating these delicate beauties, there can be a learning curve filled with common mistakes. In this guide, we will unravel the 14 most prevalent orchid growing mistakes made by beginners and provide practical solutions to help you navigate these challenges successfully.

From finding the perfect balance of watering to understanding their unique lighting requirements, we will equip you with the knowledge to ensure your orchids thrive and grace your space with their magnificent presence. So, let’s dive in and unravel the secrets of orchid cultivation, empowering you to avoid these pitfalls and embark on a rewarding journey of nurturing these extraordinary plants.

Orchid Growing Mistakes New Gardeners Make + Solutions

To avoid the overwatering mistake, follow these best practises:

Overwatering is a prevalent and potentially detrimental mistake frequently made by new gardeners when it comes to orchid care.

Unlike traditional houseplants, orchids cannot thrive in regular garden soil and have distinct watering requirements. Novices often approach orchid care with excessive enthusiasm, mistakenly believing that more water equates to better growth.

However, this approach can lead to detrimental consequences such as root rot and fungal infections. Despite being tropical plants, orchids should not be watered as frequently as other houseplants. It is crucial to strike a delicate balance and provide just the right amount of water to avoid compromising their health and vitality.


Watering frequency: Instead of watering orchids daily, only water when the potting medium feels dry. Insert your finger about an inch into the medium to assess its moisture level before watering.

Optimal watering time: It is best to water orchids in the early morning. This allows any excess moisture on the foliage or blooms to dry out during the day, reducing the risk of fungal or bacterial issues.

Sink method: Place your orchid container in a sink and run tepid water over the moss or growing medium to keep it moist. Be careful not to let the running water damage the foliage or flowers.

Bowl method: Alternatively, you can place the orchid pot in a bowl filled with water. This allows the orchid mix to absorb the water from the bottom, ensuring thorough hydration. Remove the pot from the bowl once the top layer of the medium feels moist.

Watering can: Another effective method is using a watering can to pour water directly onto the potting medium. This gives you better control over the amount of water applied and helps prevent overwatering.

Consider climate and indoor conditions: The frequency of watering can vary depending on the climate and environment. In general, aim to water your orchid once a week when growing it indoors. Adjust the frequency based on factors such as temperature, humidity, and the specific needs of your orchid species.

Underwatering and solutions

Underwatering is a common mistake made by many gardeners when it comes to orchid care. Orchids, though resilient, still require regular watering to thrive. Here are some solutions to prevent underwatering:

Underwatering is a common mistake in orchid care. To avoid this, follow these solutions:

Monitor moisture: Check the potting medium regularly by inserting your finger about an inch into the mix. Water when it feels dry.

Thorough watering: Ensure the potting medium is thoroughly saturated, with water draining out of the bottom of the pot.

Establish a watering schedule: Consider the needs of your orchid species and adjust the watering frequency accordingly.

Consider environmental factors: Factors like temperature and humidity affect water requirements. Adjust watering during hot and dry periods.

Use suitable water: If tap water contains chemicals or minerals, opt for filtered, distilled, or rainwater.

Observe plant condition: Wrinkled leaves or shriveled pseudobulbs indicate dehydration. Adjust watering accordingly.

Remember to research the specific needs of your orchid species. Providing consistent moisture will help your orchids thrive.

Exposing orchid plants to excessive sunlight

Exposing orchid plants to excessive sunlight is a common mistake made by beginner gardeners. Orchids thrive under indirect sunlight, so it’s important to avoid placing them in areas with intense, direct sunlight.


If you notice that the leaves of your orchid are showing signs of damage or decreased health, relocate the plant to a north or west-facing window. These orientations provide a more balanced level of sunlight.

Yellow spots and yellowing leaves are indicators that your orchid is receiving too much light. In such cases, it is crucial to move the plant to a location where it will receive minimal exposure to sunlight or other sources of light.

By being mindful of the lighting conditions and making necessary adjustments, you can ensure that your orchids receive the optimal amount of light, promoting their overall health and vitality.

Humidity problem

Promoting adequate humidity is crucial when growing orchid plants, but it’s a mistake to assume that all orchids have the same humidity requirements, regardless of location.

For example, if you reside in a cooler climate, avoid placing your orchid near windows where it may be exposed to cold draughts.


If you are in an area with low humidity, take measures to provide artificial humidity for your orchids. You can mist them periodically or place a humidity tray beneath their pots, maintaining humidity levels between 55% and 75%.

In dry regions or climates, consider using a dehumidifier or increasing the heat during the winter season to prevent excessive drying of the orchids.

Ensure that orchids are kept away from cold temperatures and avoid subjecting them to sudden temperature fluctuations, whether high or low.

By addressing humidity concerns and protecting orchids from extreme temperature conditions, you can create a favourable environment for their growth and ensure their well-being. Remember to adapt your care practises to the specific requirements of your orchid species and the climate in which you are growing them.

Growing orchids in inappropriate potting materials

Growing orchids in inappropriate potting materials is a common mistake made by many beginner gardeners. Using regular soil for orchids can be detrimental and may result in the death of the plant. It’s essential to understand that orchids have specific growing requirements that differ from those of traditional houseplants.

To rectify this issue, follow these solutions:

Select the appropriate potting mix for your orchids. The ideal mediums include tree bark, cork, or coconut shreds, as they promote adequate airflow around the roots and allow for quick drainage.

Consider alternative materials to replace traditional potting mix. Bark chips, sphagnum moss, coconut husks, and even Styrofoam can be used as suitable alternatives, providing the necessary conditions for orchid growth.

By using the correct potting materials, you can create a favourable environment for your orchids, mimicking their natural habitat and allowing them to thrive. Remember to research the specific needs of your orchid species to ensure you choose the most suitable potting mix.

Adding excessive amounts of nutrients

Adding excessive amounts of nutrients to orchids is a common mistake made by novice gardeners who believe it will result in more blooms and faster growth. However, overfertilizing can actually harm the orchids, especially their delicate roots.

To address this issue, consider the following solutions:

Limit fertilisation to once or twice a month, using a half or one-quarter strength of the recommended dose. This means using only half of the amount specified on the fertiliser packet.

Opt for fertilisers that contain the appropriate balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, along with essential micronutrients. Look for formulations like 10-10-10 or 20-20-20.

Feed your orchids during the growing season. If you live in a colder region, avoid fertilising during the winter and wait until spring, when you notice active growth symptoms.

Use a half-strength 10-10-10 fertiliser and a one-quarter-strength 20-20-20 fertiliser for feeding your orchids

, you can provide your orchids with the right amount of nutrients without overwhelming their delicate root systems. Remember to adjust your fertilisation routine based on the specific needs of your orchid species and the environmental conditions in which they are growing.

Selecting the wrong type of orchid

Selecting the wrong type of orchid is a common mistake made by novice gardeners who overlook the specific environmental conditions required by each orchid species.

To avoid this mistake, it is essential to choose an orchid type that is well-suited to your living environment. With a wide variety of orchid species available, it becomes easier to select the one that aligns with your specific needs and growing conditions.

Here are some solutions to consider:

  1. Avoid using excessive amounts of ice-cold water, as it can cause root damage. If you choose to use ice cubes, ensure there is plenty of potting mix between the ice cubes and the roots to prevent direct contact
  2. Pay attention to the growth indicators of your orchid. Aerial roots, false or pseudobulbs, and canes are signs of healthy growth. Aerial roots play a crucial role in nutrient absorption, while canes support the development of new growth. Pseudobulbs store energy and contribute to consistent flowering and overall orchid growth.

selecting the right type of orchid and understanding its specific growth requirements, you can provide the optimal environment for your orchids to thrive. Remember to research the individual needs of your chosen orchid species to ensure their long-term health and successful cultivation.

Mistakes to Avoid: Misting Flowers and Transplanting Orchids During Bloom

Misting the flowers of orchids and transplanting them while they are blooming is a common mistake made by novice gardeners, which can have negative consequences for the health of the orchid.

While orchids thrive in humid conditions, it is important to avoid misting the flowers directly, as it can be detrimental, leading to premature death and wilting of the blooms.


Instead of misting the flowers, you can mist the foliage or create a humid environment by placing the orchid pot on a pebble tray filled with water. This allows for indirect humidity without directly affecting the delicate blooms.

If a pebble tray is not feasible, using a humidifier in the vicinity of the orchid can help maintain the desired humidity levels.

Additionally, it is crucial to avoid transplanting orchids while they are in the blooming phase. During this time, the plant has allocated most of its energy towards flowering, and disturbing the roots through transplantation can result in untimely death and hinder overall growth.

By refraining from misting the flowers, providing appropriate humidity through alternative methods, and avoiding transplanting during the blooming period, you can ensure the well-being and longevity of your orchids. Remember to consider the specific needs of your orchid species and adjust care practises accordingly.

Common Orchid Growing issue and Solutions

Here are some common orchid growing issues and their solutions:

Yellowing leaves:

Issue: Yellowing leaves can indicate various problems such as overwatering, underwatering, nutrient deficiencies, or root issues.

.Solution: Check the watering practices and adjust accordingly. Ensure the orchid is receiving adequate water without being soaked. Check the roots for any decay or damage indications. Evaluate the orchid’s nutrient levels and provide appropriate fertilization. Adjust lighting conditions if necessary.

Lack of blooming:

Issue: Orchids may fail to produce flowers due to insufficient light, improper temperature, inadequate nutrients, or inappropriate dormancy periods (for certain orchid types).

Solution: Assess the lighting conditions and ensure the orchid is receiving sufficient indirect light. Maintain appropriate temperatures as per the orchid’s requirements. Review the fertilization routine and provide a balanced orchid fertilizer. Research and follow the specific dormancy requirements if applicable.

Bud blast:

Issue: Bud blast occurs when buds drop off before opening, typically caused by sudden environmental changes, temperature extremes, inadequate humidity, or ethylene exposure.

Solution: Maintain a consistent and stable environment for your orchids, avoiding drastic temperature fluctuations or exposure to ethylene-producing sources like ripening fruits. Ensure adequate humidity levels and protect the orchids from dry drafts or overly dry conditions.

Fungal or bacterial infections:

Issue: Orchids can be susceptible to various infections, resulting in leaf spots, rot, or wilting.

Solution: Improve air circulation around the orchids to reduce humidity and prevent the growth of fungi or bacteria. Remove affected plant parts and apply appropriate fungicides or bactericides following the product instructions. Ensure proper watering practices and avoid wetting the leaves excessively.

Inadequate root growth:

Issue: Orchids with poor root growth may have root rot, insufficient nutrients, or inappropriate growing medium.

Solution: Check the roots for signs of rot and address the underlying cause, adjusting watering practices or repotting if necessary. Evaluate the growing medium and ensure it provides proper drainage and aeration. Consider using orchid-specific potting mixes or materials like bark, sphagnum moss, or perlite.

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