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How Long Do Orchids Live For and Tips To Extend Life.

Picture Of Orchids

Orchids are notorious for being hard to keep but they aren’t as difficult to look after as their reputation would suggest. Yes, keeping Orchids alive is a bit tricky and they are indeed a labor of love, that’s why it’s important to know if you’re going to get a decent return on your investment of time and care. In other words it’s important to ask “how long do Orchids live for?”

How long is an Orchid Lifespan?

Like most things in life there are no guarantees, while some species of plants typically live a long time there’s always a chance it will die sooner than expected. On the other hand plants with a shorter shelf life sometimes defy all odds and keep on growing for years. That’s why we can only have and rough idea of any plants life expectancy.

Generally, plants from the orchid family have the ability to live for several years, but only as long as they’re well looked after. With the proper care and attention you can expect your Orchid to live a long life. In fact, a well-treated Orchid might live for ten years or more, with recurrent flowering periods over many years.

How to Increase the Lifespan of an Orchid

Learning all about effective Orchid care is the first step to lengthening the lifespan of your Orchid. So, let’s get started!

First things first. You’ll need to scope out a place where your Orchid will get plenty of indirect light during the day. Although these plants love a lot of light they can’t handle the strong heat that comes with light exposure. Be sure to watch the room temperature making sure its sitting somewhere between 50 and 70F (10-21C).

Orchids enjoy lots of water and the roots need access to fresh air. You don’t want the roots to get water-logged as is often the case with Orchards. If you keep the potting mix nice and loose then the roots will get to soak up plenty of moisture whilst also benefiting from Oxygen.

Orchids aren’t potted using regular old potting mix, instead you should use a special non-soil based potting mix, and the make-up of the soil mix will depend on the type of Orchid.

Most orchids are Epiphytes, meaning they actually grow best when their roots are exposed to air. Orchid mixes will usually include shredded bark, sphagnum moss, coconut fibre, perlite and fine gravel. The non-soil mix should retain water allowing enough time to provide water to the roots but not so much time that the roots are totally drowned out. 

Be sure not to overwater your plant, once a week should be enough, otherwise feel the soil and if the top inch of the potting mix is dry you’ll know it’s time to water it.  Orchids also like humid air, this helps them to thrive and replaces the need for a lot of water in the pot.

Generally the temperature in most homes will be warm enough to cater for an Orchids humidity requirements but if you want to be certain you can always buy a small hygrometer to measure this.

During the winter indoor environments can become particularly dry due to central heating so be sure to give the plant a little more water at this time of year so it doesn’t dry out.

How Long Do Orchid Blooms Last?

Now we’ve looked at how long Orchids live for lets discuss how long an Orchid blooms for.  

Orchids typically flower once a year and with the right care the beautiful blossoms will last for weeks, or even months. Some Hybrids bloom repeatedly throughout the year and   will flower continuously which means you get to enjoy the colorful flowers more than just once a year.

Most people don’t know that in order for flowers to grow the temperature within their Orchids environment has to drop by around 10 to 15 degrees. If you don’t allow the temperature to drop a little in your house at night then your Orchid won’t wither and die but it won’t flower either.

Long-Lived Orchid Varieties

If you want your Orchid to live a long time then I suggest you buy one that’s easy to care for. There aren’t any specific species of Orchid that live longer than any other but generally if it’s a robust plant that is easier to care for it’s likely to live longer.

Most popular is the Moth Orchid otherwise known as Phalaenopsis. You should be able to take care of a Moth Orchid by following the steps already discussed in this article although they like a humid environment so be sure to keep the humidity levels nice and high and indirect light is best.

Interestingly named, the Lady of the Night orchid (Brassavola) could be another option if you’re looking for an Orchid that’s easy to grow. Lady of the Night is a hybrid plant which flowers more than just once each year plus it has a strong and delightful aroma.

Follow the care instructions in this article and if it’s flowering a lot, you can add a little fertilizer to the mix to keep it healthy and extend its life. Make sure it’s a weak formula though that’s specifically for Orchid plants.

How to Propagate Orchids

You can keep enjoying Orchids year after year by reproducing new plants from the mother plant. It’s a bit trickier that taking cuttings from your average household plant just because they are naturally temperamental but as you get more experienced in Orchid care why not give it a go. Bear in mind that not all Orchids reproduce in exactly the same way so you’ll have to do further research into the exact type of plant you have.

If you’re re-populating a Moth Orchid, you can get new plants started by potting the small shoots that develop along the stems. These little guys are called Keikies.

Unfortunately you can’t just pluck Kelkies from a mature plant and root them in their own pot. You’ll need to pick up Keiki rooting hormone from your local garden centre.

 First, using a knife cut the leafy case covering to the bud making sure not to cut the Keiki off. Then, gently pull the leaf back a little and drop some of the rooting hormone into the bud. Cover back up with the bit of bract/leaf, and leave it to grow roots.

 Once the roots have formed to a couple of inches in length you’ll be able to remove the Keiki and get it started on its own by potting it with a little shredded bark, coconut fibre or moss.

If the idea reproducing your Orchid sounds a little overwhelming why not check out some online video tutorial. Hopefully our tips on Orchids care will keep your Orchid happy and healthy for many more years to come. Enjoy!

Written by Jenny Harland

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