A Guide to Keeping Orchids Alive

Many people view orchids as one of the divas of the plant world. They aren’t necessarily difficult to look after, with patience and understanding you can enjoy orchids in your home for many years to come. Keeping orchids alive is as simple as following these simple do’s and don’ts:

Keeping orchids alive

  • Leave aerial roots intact (the grey looking roots at the top of the plant’s base), as cutting them away could damage the plant’s growth.
  • Cut stems diagonally to encourage new growth.
  • Support the stems, this will help your orchid stand tall and help them get sufficient growth.
  • Feed your orchid with a liquid fertiliser, such as Yates Thrive Orchid Liquid Plant Food, every week from Spring until late Summer in the active growth/flowering stage, and every 2 – 4 weeks from late Autumn to early Spring.
  • Get creative with how you style your orchids. There are so many variations of the flower that you could try potting them, suspending the head in water or even hanging with exposed roots.
  • Show your personality with the style of orchid you choose. Want something classic and timeless? The Phaleonopsis (moth orchid) is your friend.
  • Choose a colour of orchid to fit your decor, there is one for everyone. In a colourful home, a simple and classic white looks beautiful. However, if you have a more neutral room you could add a pop of colour with your orchid. They can all be a part of the overall look.


  • Over water your orchid. Moth orchids need regular watering, enough so that they don’t dry out between applications. In Summer, about twice a week, in winter, every seven to 10 days depending on how warm the house is. A good indication they’re not getting enough water is when new buds go yellow and fall off. Furthermore, do not water them from above, water left standing in the crown and between leaves can cause rotting. If you do wet your orchid, take a paper napkin and remove the water as best as you can.
  • Keep your orchids near a radiator. Did you know that orchids don’t like heat? Orchids in general have pretty fragile leaves when it comes to direct sun an overheating. Place orchids in bright shade to avoid damage and maintain optimum health. Too much light and their dark green leaves will begin to fade. Too little light and the plant won’t flower, and foliage will become limp. An east-facing window (behind net curtains) is ideal, although shading from 10am to 5pm will be needed in summer.
  • Neglect your orchid. The more attention you give to your orchids, the faster you will spot problems and even have greater chances of curing them.
  • Think that just because the flowers have dropped that the plant is dead. In this instance, all you need to do is trim it back to just about the second node (the bumps on the spike) and it will eventually re-bloom again.