Plant Care

Over the last 30 years, we have grown orchids in many different types of media. Over the last three years, we extensively researched and grew hundreds of species and thousands of hybrids in our hydroponic growing medium Infini-Mix. We are gradually converting everything we grow into Infini-Mix. All new plant material is deflasked into Infini-Mix, never to see bark at A&P Orchids.

General Orchid Care:

Water:

When caring for your orchids, the first important step begins with proper watering. If you can master watering, you can grow just about anything. Since orchids are epiphytes (air lovers), growing medium needs to have a proper ratio of water and air, which Infini-Mix provides. Plants established in Infini-Mix are almost impossible to overwater. Freshly potted plants in Infini-Mix should not be watered for the first two-three weeks. You may mist them lightly every few days, depending on weather conditions. When you do water, water lightly until the plants have fully rooted, and then, one may water once or twice a week depending on pot size; bigger pots require water less frequently. When in doubt, do not water. It is always better to slightly underwater than overwater.

Light:

Different orchid genera and species thrive and flower under different light conditions. In general, Cattleyas, Laileas, Dendrobiums and Cymbidiums are high light plants. Most of them can take 30% shade to almost full sun short of midday shade. Of course, more light will produce more heat/higher temperatures and thus require more air movement to keep the leaf temperature not too high to prevent leaf burn. That may vary from 2000-8000 foot candles. Miltoniopsis, Odontoglossoms, Phragmipediums and strap-leaf Paphiopedilums (rothschildianum, hayaldianum, lowii, et cetera) and Sarcochilus are examples of mid-range light levels (2000 foot candles). For best growing and flowering, Phalaenopsis should receive a minimum of 1000 foot candles, with ideal light conditions around 1600 foot candles. Mottled leaf Paphs grow about 10 hours a day of about 500-600 foot candles. Complex Paphs grow and flower the best between 800-1000 foot candles.

Temperature:

Most orchids do well between 55-85 degrees Fahrenheit daytime temperature. Up to 20-30 degree day/night differential is favorable to most orchids. A nighttime drop to 55 degrees Fahrenheit will not cause any harm. Some cool-growing species can even go down to 38 degrees Fahrenheit with no detriment.

Humidity:

Most orchids would do very well at 60% humidity; some like a little higher. Humidity is a necessity for orchids because they little control over water loss through their leaves. The higher the humidity, the less water they lose. They can survive in 25-30% humidity with some exceptions.

Air Movement:

A gentle air movement prevents stagnation and helps control disease. Too much air movement can be detrimental because it can dry them out too fast.

Fertilizing:

Of course, orchids in nature receive very little fertilizer. In cultivation, we can grow them faster and better by giving proper amount of fertilizer. During longer spring/summer days, plants can utilize more fertilizer than dark, dingy late fall/winter days. Always err on too little than too much. If you can find the right amount, that would give you the very best growth of your plants during the growing season. To prevent salt buildup in the growing medium, it is a good practice to give a thorough leeching with plain water once a month. The best way to judge proper fertilizing is examining the roots. Orange discoloration, blackened root tips are symptoms of overfertilization. Proper color of the leaves is an indication of a good balance between fertilizing and light. One needs to observe roots and leaves to know if one is in the proper range. A general purpose plant food (20-10-20 NPK or 20-20-20 NPK with trace elements) is a good choice. One might give high potassium and phosphorus fertilizer in late summer/early fall for spike initiation.

Potting:

Converting from bark/moss-based media to Infini-Mix. We recommend watering plants two days before repotting. Prewatering helps hold the root ball together and eliminates the need of early watering after repotting. Simply remove most of the moss and/or bark, then plant in moistened Infini-Mix, working it between roots and gently packing it. Keep it warm and lightly shaded. Do not water for two-four weeks, depending on the pot size. Avoid any large air pockets. Make sure it is potted snug and not too tight. Plants growing in Infini-Mix only need up-potting when they have become too big for proper watering. A well-grown plant should yield a perfect root ball. Simply unpot and place plant into the larger pot, then add more Infini-Mix all around. Make sure the new pot is only a couple of inches larger than previous size.

 

Mottled-leaf Paphiopedilum Care:

Watering:

Since orchids are epiphytes (air lovers), growing medium needs to have a proper ratio of water and air, which Infini-Mix provides. Plants established in Infini-Mix are almost impossible to overwater. When in doubt, do not water. It is always better to slightly underwater than overwater. A 2-4” pot may require watering every 5-7 days, depending on season and growing environment. 5”+ pots may only need watering every 7-8 days.

Light:

400-600 foot candles for 8-10 hours daily is sufficient to grow and flower. They can take 14-15 hour daylight during spring and summer months without any harm.

Temperature:

These plants are considered generally warm-growing (65 degrees Fahrenheit or above), but we grow them as low as 55 degree Fahrenheit temperatures at night without any detriment.

Fertilizer:

Half a teaspoon of all-purpose plant food per gallon is sufficient year round. You may fertilize less frequently in winter. We fertilize in spring and summer every watering and leech out with plain water every 4-6 weeks.

For all other needs, see general care.

 

Strap-leaf Paphiopedilum Care:

Watering:

Since orchids are epiphytes (air lovers), growing medium needs to have a proper ratio of water and air, which Infini-Mix provides. Plants established in Infini-Mix are almost impossible to overwater. When in doubt, do not water. It is always better to slightly underwater than overwater. A 2-4” pot may require watering every 5-7 days, depending on season and growing environment. 5”+ pots may only need watering every 7-8 days.

Light:

For best growth and flowering, 1200-2000 foot candles for 8-10 hours. In spring and summer, they can take the same light for 14-15 hours.

Temperature:

These plants are considered generally warm-growing (65 degrees Fahrenheit or above), but we grow them as low as 55 degree Fahrenheit temperatures at night without any detriment.

Fertilizer:

Half a teaspoon of all-purpose plant food per gallon is sufficient year round. You may fertilize less frequently in winter. We fertilize in spring and summer every watering and leech out with plain water every 4-6 weeks.

For all other needs, see general care.

 

Complex Paphiopedilum/Standard Hybrid Care:

Watering:

Since orchids are epiphytes (air lovers), growing medium needs to have a proper ratio of water and air, which Infini-Mix provides. Plants established in Infini-Mix are almost impossible to overwater. When in doubt, do not water. It is always better to slightly underwater than overwater. A 2-4” pot may require watering every 5-7 days, depending on season and growing environment. 5”+ pots may only need watering every 7-8 days.

Light:

800-1000 foot candles for 8-10 hours daily.

Temperature:

They are considered cooler growing. Nighttime, we grow them between 55-65 degree Fahrenheit in winter and have observed no difference in budding/flowering. Daytime with good humidity and air movement, they can go into the high 80s without any visible damage.

Fertilizer:

Half a teaspoon of all-purpose plant food per gallon is sufficient year round. You may fertilize less frequently in winter. We fertilize in spring and summer every watering and leech out with plain water every 4-6 weeks.

For all other needs, see general care.

 

Parvisepalum/Brachypetalum Care:

Watering:

For spring/summer months, watering can be kept similar to Maudiae-type Paphs. In winter, it is better for disease prevention to water them less frequently and grow them somewhat drier.

Light:

400-600 foot candles for 8-10 hours daily is sufficient to grow and flower. They can take 14-15 hour daylight during spring and summer months without any harm.

Temperature:

For best results, night temperatures of 60+ degrees Fahrenheit in winter can be beneficial for disease prevention. In summer, high night temperatures (70+ degrees Fahrenheit) show no signs of detriment. Daytime temperatures can reach 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit provided good air movement and humidity is present.

Fertilizer:

Half a teaspoon of all-purpose plant food per gallon is sufficient year round. You may fertilize less frequently in winter. We fertilize in spring and summer every watering and leech out with plain water every 4-6 weeks.

For all other needs, see general care.

 

Phalaenopsis Care:

Watering:

Since orchids are epiphytes (air lovers), growing medium needs to have a proper ratio of water and air, which Infini-Mix provides. Plants established in Infini-Mix are almost impossible to overwater. When in doubt, do not water. It is always better to slightly underwater than overwater. A 2-4” pot may require watering every 5-7 days, depending on season and growing environment. 5”+ pots may only need watering every 7-10 days. In winter, it could go longer with a longer interval between watering.

Light:

For optimal flowering, Phalaenopsis should receive a minimum of 1000 foot candles, with ideal light conditions around 1600 foot candles.

Temperature:

Being warm growers from the Asian tropics, Phalaenopsis prefer nighttime temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Daytime temperatures can reach 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit. If night temperature drops to 55 degrees, they are required to be grown on the dry side. Otherwise, they can very easily succumb to disease. To keep them healthy, we recommend growing them 60+ degrees Fahrenheit. For best flower spiking, 20 degree day/night differential is ideal.

Fertilizer:

Half a teaspoon of all-purpose plant food per gallon is sufficient year round. You may fertilize less frequently in winter. We fertilize in spring and summer every watering and leech out with plain water every 4-6 weeks. A blossom booster (low nitrogen, high phosphorus and potassium fertilizer) in late summer/early fall can be helpful for spike initiation and increase bud count.

For all other needs, see general care.

 

Cattleya Care:

Watering:

When well-rooted and growing in Infini-Mix, water in spring/summer every 5-10 days depending on pot size. For fall/winter, reduce watering slightly.

Light:

Cattleyas are high light plants. For best flower production, their leaves should be yellow-green. The appearance may not look appealing, but such conditions will produce more flowers. Light should be between 2500-3500 foot candles. With good air movement and humidity, light levels could easily reach 5000 foot candles.

Temperature:

Nighttime temperatures can be kept at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Daytime temperatures can go up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If growing at 55 degrees nighttime temperatures in winter, it is advisable to grow them somewhat drier.

Fertilizer:

Half a teaspoon of all-purpose plant food per gallon is sufficient year round. You may fertilize less frequently in winter. We fertilize in spring and summer every watering and leech out with plain water every 4-6 weeks. For better flowering, apply a high potassium fertilizer every few waterings.

For all other needs, see general care.

 

Cymbidium Care:

Watering:

Well-established Cymbidiums require frequent (2-3 days) watering during spring/summer months. In winter when growing in Infini-Mix, watering may be reduced to every 5-7 days depending on greenhouse light and temperature.

Light:

For proper flowering, Cymbidiums require maximum light during spring/summer months, reaching light levels of 8000-10000 foot candles. In late fall/winter, moderate light levels of 2000-3000 foot candles is sufficient.

Temperature:

Except for warm-tolerant Cymbidiums, most others prefer night chilling temperatures in late summer/fall. Nighttime temperatures in the mid-high 40s are essential for spike initiation. Spring/summer daytime temperatures can reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit provided good humidity and air movement.

Fertilizer:

During spring/summer months, Cymbidiums require frequent water/fertilizing to grow vigorously. Feed twice a week with one teaspoon per gallon of a balanced fertilizer per watering. A high potassium fertilizer in late summer/fall may be beneficial for spike initiation.

For all other needs, see general care.

 

Sarcochilus Care:

Watering:

These unique and beautiful Australian natives have no pseudobulbs, thus requiring frequent mid-spring through summer watering. In Infini-Mix, watering could be every three days depending on your light conditions. Winter watering can be reduced by 50%.

Light:

Moderately bright light, about 2000 foot candles, will yield best flower production and growth. Leaf color should be light green.

Temperature:

Summer temperatures can range between 60-90 degrees Fahrenheit. For spike initiation, a winter chill during short days is essential. Without damage, Sarcochilus can take temperatures as low as 36 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fertilizer:

Feed with a balanced fertilizer about twice weekly during the spring/summer months. Watering/fertilizing may be reduced by 50% in winter.

For all other needs, see general care.

 

Phragmipedium Care:

Watering:

Well-established, rooted Phragmipediums grown in Infini-Mix can almost be watered at will. Depending on the pot size, Phrags may require watering every 3-4 days in the spring/summer months. Fall/winter watering may be every 5 days.

Light:

For well-established plants, light levels should be kept between 2000-3000 foot candles.

Temperature:

Temperatures can get down to 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Daytime, they can reach up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit provided good air movement and humidity.

Fertilizer:

Half a teaspoon of all-purpose plant food per gallon is sufficient year round. You may fertilize less frequently in winter. We fertilize in spring and summer every watering and leech out with plain water every third to fourth watering.

For all other needs, see general care.

 

Zygopetalum Care:

Watering:

Zygos are good Cymbidium companion plants. They make massive root systems so they can take frequent watering during spring/summer months and moderate watering during fall/winter months, like Cymbidiums.

Light:

For best flowering, light conditions should be above 2000 foot candles.

Temperature:

Zygos can be grown as low as 48 degrees at night. Daytime, they can be grown as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit provided good air movement and humidity.

Fertilizer:

During spring/summer months, Zygos require frequent water/fertilizing to grow vigorously. Feed twice a week with one teaspoon per gallon of a balanced fertilizer per watering. A high potassium fertilizer in late summer/fall may be beneficial for spike initiation.

For all other needs, see general care.

 

Oncidium Care:

Watering:

Originating in South America with large pseudobulbs, Oncidiums have high water requirements during spring/summer months and low water needs during winter. In Infini-Mix, summer watering could be as frequent as 3-7 days depending on pot size. Watering once a week in winter would generally suffice.

Light:

Moderately bright light (2000+ foot candles) would yield very good spike/bud count.

Temperature:

Daytime summer temperatures can reach as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit provided good air movement and humidity. Night temperatures during winter/summer may drop to 55 degrees Fahrenheit without any detriment.

Fertilizer:

Half a teaspoon of all-purpose plant food per gallon is sufficient year round. You may fertilize less frequently in winter. We fertilize in spring and summer every watering and leech out with plain water every 4-6 weeks. For better flowering, apply a high potassium fertilizer every few waterings.

For all other needs, see general care.

 

Miltoniopsis Care:

Watering:

For growing in Infini-Mix, watering twice a week may be necessary during spring/summer months. Plants should be rewatered when the growing medium is lightly moist. Since the roots are relatively fine, they should not be allowed to dry out. Slightly reduce watering for fall/winter months.

Light:

For best results, Miltoniopsis should be grown between 1500-2000 foot candles.

Temperature:

Contrary to popular belief, Miltoniopsis prefer nighttime temperatures between 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. In spring/summer months, keep daytime temperature below 80 degrees for best growth, if possible.

Fertilizer:

During spring/summer, feed at least once a week with a balanced fertilizer. Additional high potassium and nitrogen fertilizer may improve growth. In the fall/winter months, fertilizing may be reduced by 50%.

For all other needs, see general care.