If your apartment has windows that get a decent amount of light, I’m here to campaign that you get a new addition to your apartment… an orchid! For some reason, I grew up with the notion that orchids are some mysterious variety of species, which short of witchcraft and voodoo is impossible to keep alive. It turns out that was completely wrong (crazy, right?!), and this sentiment was probably perpetuated by people who overwatered their poor little orchids. I was further spurned by my abominable black thumb which has been the death sentence for many a houseplant. However, I got my first orchid several months ago and lo and behold, it is still alive. I’ve since added a second one to the group and they’re doing beautifully. I might even go so far as to say they are one of the absolute best plants for a renter to get. Here’s why.
Orchids love being inside, in a window. They don’t need to be outside. They are remarkably low maintenance! They like being cramped up in their pots as long as they have a well-draining orchid mix soil. There are about 27,000 kinds of orchid, but unless you’re a real connoisseur, you’ll probably end up with one of the grocery store varieties of Phalaenopsis, or Moth Orchid. They love indirect sunlight and humidity, so they are virtually perfect for Florida where vegetation is dense and the humidity is enough to make any sane person give up on their hair. We’ve established the conditions are good, now the maintenance: they require a watering about once a week. The main cause of death in potted orchids is root rot due to overwatering and poor drainage. Those two factors are key in keeping your little green friend alive. Don’t worry if the blooms drop off, as long as the leaves are green and the roots look good, the blooms will come and go periodically.
Each time I come home to my apartment, I’m still mesmerized by my ability to keep my orchids alive and well. Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can.
For additional information on growing orchids, check out this entertaining and informative article from the Guardian.