Growing Orchids

My sweet son sent me this beautiful orchid for my birthday last week. The enclosed card said he thought I would enjoy having it near my computer during the day while I work. He knows me well.

I’ve never had much luck keeping orchids alive. All you fabulous orchid growers out there…anything special I should know? I’m a little worried about it being inside a container that doesn’t have a drainage hole. Just wondering if I should transplant it at some point to an actual pot…maybe once it is finished blooming. Any tips or suggestions?

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  1. Pattie @ Olla-Podrida says

    I have no knowledge of orchids, but have two of them that have doubled in size and bloomed two additional times since they were given to me a little over a year ago. I just water once a week and give them plenty of light. That's it. I do think they need drainage holes though. Is yours in a plastic pot with a hole in the bottom that is placed inside that darling cup? If so, remove it water it, let it drain and put it back.

  2. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Pattie, the cup is just like a real cup so there are no holes in the bottom. Once I move into my home office I'm creating, it will have lots of great natural light each day.

  3. jewelsinthegarden +: ) says

    This is great! Just yesterday I was looking through magazines for potting bench ideas and here you post on it. I was wondering what color to paint it and I'm liking the one in The Southern Living Idea House!

  4. Love My Cavaliers says

    That is one gorgeous orchid. I love that pretty pick cup it's in too. Did you put it in there or did come like that? We've grown orchids in the garden here – tropics so they pretty much take care of themselves with rain water, but never in the house so sorry can't help you there. Enjoy it though. Can't wait to see more of your home office. We are currently converting my sons room into the office and the garage into his new bedroom and then have to build a carport for the cars. I'm looking for office ideas too.

  5. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Hi Love My Cavaliers,
    It did come in the pink cup. I love how it looks in the darling cup, just wondering how well it will last without any drainage.

  6. Cat & Cricket says

    Thanks so much for the tips and ideas.. your orchid is stunning and like everyone else… the cup makes its darling!

  7. I bet that with the right bit, you could drill a small hole in the bottom of the cup, without affecting the structure of the cup. Voila! Instant drainage!!

  8. I am no expert but I do know a wee bit about them as I grow the variety pictured in my greenhouse. What you have there is a Phalaenopsis or commonly called 'moth orchid' If you google Phalaenopsis you will find a wealth of information and one very good wikipedia page. You are very right about it needed drainage. If you want to keep in the cup until it stops blooming I would suggest that you water it and then pour off any excess water. You do not want the roots to sit in even the smallest amount of water because they will begin to rot. I would recommend that you water it with a weak mixture of fertilizer each time you water. You buy special orchid fertilizer or you can use all purpose 10-10-10 both work each as well for Phals (that is my opinion and others might disagree but I've had stellar luck with good old 10-10-10. When you do repot it buy your self a pretty pot of approx the same size and shape. I personally would not go more than 1 inch wider. Orchid thrive best in a humid environment and as we all know house are very dry in the winter. The way you combat that is set the orchid in a dish of pebbles or marbles and water. This helps to increase the humidity around the plant. Phals like bright light but they do not like direct sun. Light from a south facing window that is shining through a lace or sheer curtain usually works well.

    Sorry for writing a book but plants are my thing. Your welcome to email me if you have any other questions.

  9. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Pamela…thanks for this great information! Hopefully I won't kill this one!

  10. Blondie's Journal says

    Your orchid is just beautiful, Susan. It sounds like Pamela has given you some sage advice; I know very little about them other than they can be tricky. Best of luck!


  11. I wish I had Pam's advise a month ago. I think I rotted the roots on my orchid!

  12. A belated but no less sincere "HAPPY BIRTHDAY"! Mine was last week, too! Are we still Capricorns or did you change? LOL

    Your son chose a lovely gift to send to you…what a thoughtful son. His mother raised him right. πŸ˜‰
    I have a white orchid that is in full bloom right now, so if I can keep on alive in Ohio's dim winters light, I'm sure yours will thrive there in GA. I just took photos of mine yesterday…with a backdrop of white snow!!!

    I agree about them needing drainage. Anyway you could drill a sm. hole in the bottom of the cup? We've drilled those glass blocks to insert strands of Christmas lights. You need a special bit to do it, though. I'll ask DH what the name of it is.

    I hope you had a WONDERFUL birthday!! Personally, I celebrate all month long so keep it up!!!! πŸ˜€

  13. On Crooked Creek says

    Glad you were able to get the information on your newest office accessory! I adore the desk with the blue and white displays on your desk, now! Thank you for posting this lovely photo of your orchid. When our family encourages us it is as if we gain new found energy! Keep us posted on your progress!

  14. Bella Michelle says

    Love the orchid and your DH should get extra sweetness for thinking of brightening your days during these cold winter blahs! I seem to be thinking exclusively of Spring these days (and could use a potting bench!)

  15. Erin@likegrandmas says

    Beautiful Orchid, and I do need a potting bench, I have an idea now thanks to you, so Thank you Susan!

  16. Make sure to keep it out of drafts… Even a ceiling fan or floor vet makes the flowers drop off way before they should! I actually put 3 ice cubes in mine once a week – they say that they like to be watered slowly. It's worked so far for me!

  17. What a beautiful birthday gift! Happy Belated Birthday!

  18. Happy belated birthday! I'm Capricorn too and LOL to Rettabug's comment!

    I love Pamela's advice! WOW she is the plant girl. I have copied and pasted her wonderful information.

    I ADORE your orchid and that cute cute CUTE cup! Your son sent the perfect gift. When you transplant your orchid you'll have to think about a tablescape featuring the cup. πŸ™‚

    Have a wonderful day working on your office. Seriously can't wait to hear about more of your selections.

    From Virginia

  19. FABBY'S LIVING says

    Was it your birthday Susan? I went on a Celebrity Cruise vacation to the south of America and so I haven't been on my blog at all and I'm just up dating myself on the latest…Wish you a very happy birthday the whole month, my mom is a capricorn, dic. 27, my granddaughter Jan 26 and my husband Jan. 28…although the last two are already Acquarious.
    Like always Susan…you don't miss a thing, I just found out through some of the comments how to take care of the orchids, here, where I live, there are fantastic orchids and the climate… spring all year round, they stay very well at homes I've seen, so this is going to make me buy them this year and grow them…I'll post pics then.
    Love always

  20. red ticking says

    i love your blog and this post… when i saw the last image i was so surprised! that is my friend's mudroom! i made the pillow on the settee… may i ask where you found this image??? i did not know it was published anywhere??? thank you i would really appreciate it.
    xx pam

  21. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Hi Pam,
    Sure, this image is uploaded at Just click on the title of the Ideabook in my post and it will open at the houzz site. Houzz is a fabulous site where you can get some great ideas for decorating/designing your home and garden.

  22. AshTreeCottage says

    What great potting shed ideas!

    Susan and Bentley

  23. AshTreeCottage says

    What great potting shed ideas!

    Susan and Bentley

  24. Nice orchid plant. Belated happy birthday wishes.

  25. Simple Southern Happiness says

    Happy birthday and oh what a lovely present. He sure picked a prize plant.

    My SIL and I would go to the Ga flower show each year, we would admire the orchids. I knew I would kill one if I got it. My friend has had one for years and its so lovely. He has it in a basket type container sitting on dish with pebbles. She said the roots need air and no soil. There is a certain mix orchids grow best in that allows air to get to the roots. I gather you can get that at Lowes or Home Depot or Hastings. I am sure Hastings has loads of info for you.

    Again, Happy birthday.

  26. Belated Birthday Greetings Susan.
    The orchid is so pretty, you have a very thoughtful son.
    I have been asking my hubby for a potting bench since we moved here two years ago. I must admit, he has been working on the house, but this year I am determined to have one. I have just the right place for it. I will make sure he sees the patterns.
    Thank you for posting them.

  27. Hi! πŸ™‚

    I'm not a orchid expert either but i have some and orchids are pretty easy to take care.

    You just have to put some water once a week (or maybe one week and a half it's okay – pick a day and an hour to remember πŸ™‚ that makes everything easier.

    About the container, if i were you i would transplant it to one with a drainage hole. I have all my orchids on plastic containers with holes and then on a ceramic vase, once i put it water i let it drain and only after that i put it again the plastic vase on the ceramic vase πŸ™‚ they only need direct sunlight half of the day, so a sunny window or table is just fine! πŸ™‚ That's all you need to keep an orchid happy and alive πŸ˜€

    hope it helped!

  28. What a beautiful orchid. I love them and now thanks to Pamela's informative comment I think I'll try one in my home. Cute cup and wonderful son!

  29. Happy birthday and compliments to your son for remembering his mama.

    There is a ceramic bit for drills that should give you the hole for the drainage. That is one beautiful orchid. My daughter has a beautiful green thumb when it comes to orchids but I haven't a clue.

    I built a potting bench several years ago out of old picket fence we had removed from the yard. It lasted a few years but is sadly gone now. With the frigid temps today I just can't imagine spring ever coming.

  30. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Thanks for the ideas/suggestions. I got curious and pulled it up out of the cup. It's mostly a bunch of roots surrounded by very little dirt in a little plastic cup that's up high…so apparently when it's watered, the water just drains through to the bottom of the cup where it won't touch the plant. I'm not quite so worried about drainage now that I see the water has someone to go. Rett, I do have a ceramic drill bit I bought long ago when I made a "pot puppy" (a little doggie made from clay pots). I had forgotten about that, so I could drill a hole if I need to. I think it may be ok since I've discovered it sits up high in this cup container. Thanks for all your great input!
    And thanks for the B'day wishes. en on arrival.

  31. The Summer Kitchen Girls says

    Love these ideas! Never thought about an old dresser….hmmmm….something tells us our husband's will be rolling their eyes soon πŸ™‚

  32. MARY PERNULA says

    I like all the ideas………..I have several work areas, my husband has been building potting benches out of old desks and they come out wonderful. I have been selling them on Craigs List fast. Happy Weekend. Mary

  33. That is the most beautiful orchid ! ! Sorry, I don't have any orchid tips for you, just wanted to comment on the beauty of it. I have visited your blog several times and it's always enjoyable.

  34. I love potting benches. I recently saw one that might give you some inspiration if you are somewhat strapped for cash and especially if you are in love with the shabby chic, country or country french look. It's perfect also for a small screened porch like mine.

    I fell in love with this potting bench at first sight (I wish I had a picture to post, but nonetheless I will give instructions of how to make it and you can use your wonderful imaginations.

    Get an old screen door (you know the kind with the gingerbread details) other any old screen door will do. Cut a 1×12 board and make two planks (shelves) that fit the width of the door. Attach one of the planks about two inches from the botton of the door. You will then need some 2 inch legs which you attach to the bottom of the plank making your lower shelf stable and this also makes the door a free standing structure. Next, attach the other plank at the mid section of the door (which is right about waste high). At each side of this plank, use decorative shelf brackets to secure the shelf to the door. Paint or whitewash the entire unit to the color of your liking and "viole" there you have it a one of a kind potting bench. You could also choose to make your top shelf a little wider for more potting room. Your choice. Don't you just love this idea?

  35. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Sheila…thanks for these great instructions! It sounds really cute!

  36. Terry @ La Bella Vie says

    Hi Susan,
    Your Orchid is beautiful, what a sweet son you have!
    My husband just gave me an Orchid when I was in the hospital the week of January 10th. As with yours, mine doesn't have a drainage hole either but here's what the instructions say to do; "water when dry to touch and fertiize weekly with a balanced blend fertilzer(20-20-20) once a week. Keep in natural defused day light".
    So far mine seems to be doing pretty well and has new blossoms/buds on it. Hope this helps.
    PS I have also seen Orchid potting mix which is a little different than soil potting mix.

  37. Designs By Pinky says

    Pam gave you great advice on the orchid, Susan. It definitely has to DRAIN or the roots WILL rot. Remember, when they grow naturally they are on a tree and their roots are exposed! YOur orchid is GORGEOUS!!!!!! Happy belated birthday! Enjoy your little touch of SPRING….I am so ready for warmpth:):) XO, Pinky PS, please stop over: I have started a tour of my house on my blog!

  38. lvroftiques says

    Happy Belated Birthday Susan!
    That was a lovely gift from your DS. I loved the potting bench ideas. I'm brainstorming where I could possibly put one…..

    I'd like to thank Pamela for all her generous advice. I am not proud to admit I am a plant serial killer. There's not a one I can keep alive for more than a few years. I've had to resort to faux orchids…and even those look like they're dying *winks* Maybe I'll give the real thing ONE more try. Vanna

  39. I live in the desert southwest and have had great luck with orchids in my sunroom. I just had some photos on my last blog. I prefer to put mine in a regular orchid container that has holes around the sides. Orchids need air circulation. I agree with Pamela about not letting them sit in water and getting a container that isn't too much bigger than the cup. It's also not a great idea to repot them until after they finish blooming. Sometimes the root system in the container is so tight that you might actually be able to lift it out, pulling carefully by the stem, & water it then put it back into the cup. I have mine growing on the window ledge of my east-facing windows, but the entire room is filled with light. Good luck with them. Yours is gorgeous.

  40. Reilly Clan 13 says

    I knew a sweet older couple who had orchids for years. They said to be careful not to give it to much water, they watered it ones a week. And when they watered it they always used water that has soaked with eggs shells all week.
    It dose not smell very good but it keep them alive and healthy.

  41. saltbox treasures says

    A potting bench is so nice to have. Thanks for always sharing great ideas.
    ~ Julie

  42. Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) says

    Happy Birthday, Susan! What a lovely orchid your boy sent you, it's beautiful. Such a nice thing for him to send, you will think of him each time you look at it. And when you look at it in his old room (your new office) you will know that he is still with you there in spirit! And I love the pink mug and saucer too — there's another reminder of love from him when you have your morning coffee in your office after you replant the orchid!

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