A guide to growing orchids, with tips on how to pick the best varieties for most climates.
Orchid flowers look delicate and magical but the plants naturally occur in some pretty tough environments, which makes many of them surprisingly hardy.
Different orchids have different growing needs. In the tropics, moth, slipper, cattleya and vanda orchids all thrive.
Most of these will also grow further south as indoor plants or in a greenhouse.
Although they’re mostly found in temperate regions, dendrobiums and cymbidiums will do well anywhere frost-free, and you can try them in frosty areas if you have a greenhouse.
Landscape architect and TV host Brendan Moar says orchids are one of his all-time favourite plants.
‘They’re an amazing flower and I’m constantly asking myself what can I do with them,’ says Brendan.
‘Orchids are one of those plants you become captivated by and you try your hardest with, but you might fail spectacularly if they’re not the right ones for your area.’
Luckily, there are so many varieties, you can make the right choice for practically anywhere.
Containers with side drainage holes work well for orchids, as do plastic pots.
All orchids like to sit tightly in their pots and prefer to not be disturbed, so let them become quite crowded before you repot.
Tropical orchids do well in hanging baskets.
Cattleyas prefer pots that are wider than they are deep.
Vanda orchids like timber baskets and clay pots, as they have roots that prefer to climb outside their container.
All orchids need a free-draining specialist potting mix, with most based on bark chips.
Moth orchids like a richer mix.
If the mix has added fertiliser, reduce additional feeding for the first year.
If you make your own mix, soak the bark chips in hot water for a day first to leach excess tannins, and talk to your local orchid club about the best mix for each type.
TIP: Label each plant pot and if you’re repotting, include the date.