I never thought I could learn how to grow orchids. Ever. Their reputation for being finicky scared me off… after all, who wants to spend money on a plant that practically assures you it will not survive! Then one day I was at the store, and saw some inexpensive, beautiful flowering orchid plants for less than $10. I decided that for that price, they would make a gorgeous home accent for just awhile, and that was worth it. Even if it dies eventually.  Not only did it survive, but it thrived and bloomed multiple times! The biggest surprise? Once I got the conditions right, it took less care than any of my other house plants. So I am here to dispel the notion that you can’t grow orchids. Forget the snobby attitude we all assumed surrounded this regal and sophisticated plant! Here’s how to grow and how to care for orchids indoors, even for beginners!



How to Grow Orchids Indoors

Types Of Orchids

The first thing to know when learning how to grow orchids inside is choosing the right orchids. There are 3 types of orchids that I feel are easy to grow for anyone!


Moth Orchid – Phalaenopsis

Moth orchids are the ones I grow, and the most common ones you can buy, They are relatively inexpensive, gorgeous, and less picky than most. They prefer medium to bright light, watering every 10-14 days, and light fertilizer for orchids. They often are seen in bright, dyed colors which I find brash and far from the elegant flowers they are meant to be, but to each his own! My favorite are white with a pink or green throat. The blooms can last for months. Photo by ‘Flowers by Suzanne‘.

How to Grow Orchids


Here is a white Phalaenopsis orchid with a yellow throat. This is a sophisticated, easy to grow orchid, but with a touch of informality. Photo by ‘Southern Living‘.

How to Grow Orchids


Dendrobium Orchid

Dendrobium orchids usually have larger flowers, and are the kind most often seen at a florist or in professional arrangements. They have the same basic requirements as moth orchids, but prefer a bright light for the best blooms. All white Dendrobium are the most amazing flower! The flowers usually last about a month on the plant.



Cymbidium Orchid

Cymbidium orchid are an easy care houseplant that enjoys bright light and a little more water than the other two… once a week, or even every 5 days when the air is dry. They can be brought outside during the summer months, but usually need cold to bloom. They bloom most often in winter and early spring. Photo by ‘My Orchids Journal‘.



Growing Orchids in Water

So, can you grow orchids in water? Yes, you can. However, it is a little tricky and takes a little trial and error. Head on over to ‘Orchideria’ where they have a complete guide on growing orchids in water.


How to Care For Orchids Indoors

Now that you have ‘how to grow orchids’ down, it’s time to move on to the next important thing to learn about growing orchids. In my opinion, (and I am no orchid expert) there are four conditions you have to get right when knowing how to care for orchids indoors. Keep in mind, different types of orchids vary in their needs to some degree, but all of these are important, no matter which variety you choose.


Orchid Potting Mix

The best soil is the orchid potting mix you buy at the nursery… largely bark pieces, it drains well and has an acid base. Orchid aficionados everywhere are going to gasp, but I never repotted my orchids. You should, because one of mine did eventually give up, probably because the soil was drying out too fast. However, orchid mix is so light, (cheaper to ship)  that most plants you bring home from the store are probably in a reasonably decent soil… In any case, don’t use regular potting mix… Also, buy a liquid fertilizer meant for orchids, and apply as directed once a month.


How to Water Orchids

Probably the most asked question about ‘how to care for orchids indoors’ is, “how often should I water my orchid”? This is the part most people get wrong. OK so we’re going to give you a quick overview on how to water orchids. Knowing how often to water orchids is one of the keys of being successful. Since the orchid soil mix is basically bark, it feels dry a lot of the time and some people tend to overwater. Make sure you water no more than is suggested for your orchid type, but never let it dry out an inch or two below the surface. There is a cheater method, that again, make orchid experts cringe, called the ice cube method. It involves putting one or two ice cubes on the surface of the soil every other day, and allowing it to slowly melt. The idea is that it allows the bark soil to absorb the water without it just running straight through. Many, many people swear by this method of watering orchids! I’ve used it, but I have an issue remembering every other day. Either way works, or once every two weeks, submerge the whole pot in a sink of water, let sit 15 minutes, then drain.



Orchids do like a little humidity, especially in the winter when heating zaps the air of moisture. I grow mine in a bathroom, or over the kitchen sink so the humidity is taken care of for me there! Another option is to mist a few times a day, or to create a pebble tray for your orchids to sit on. Fill the tray with water to just below the tops of the pebbles, and set the pots on top. This will keep the air humid around the plants. Use distilled water to keep from getting that yucky white deposit on your pretty pebbles. (Dollar store sells pretty pebbles!) Here is a YouTube video from ‘Growing Wisdom’ on how to make humidity trays for your plants!



Light for Orchids Indoors

This is the most important condition to get right for your orchids to bloom. Medium to bright light is best. I grow mine in a frosted glass window, so it always gets bright light without getting direct sun. West or east facing is ideal, and not too far from a window. So to sum up, bright but indirect is the best kind of light for orchids indoors.

How to Grow Orchids


Bonus – How to Make Orchids Bloom

One question that is frequently asked is “How do I get my orchid to bloom?”. Well many orchids can be promoted to bloom by a drop in temperature. I think mine bloomed so well because they were in a window, so nighttime temps next to the glass get cooler. Try this trick to encourage your Orchid to Bloom.

How to Grow Orchids


We hope we answered all your questions on how to grow orchids and how to care for orchids indoors. And remember, you can grow them in one area of the home, and move them just for special occasions to other rooms for entertaining. We know you will also love our posts on Bath & Shower Plants and Tropical Plants you can Grow Indoors!



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  1. AL March 10, 2018 at 6:07 pm


  2. Robin February 14, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks for all of the great information. I have tried for years to get a few orchid plants to Reblooming – moth orchids, phalaenopsis type. How often do you typically water each one, and does the type of water matter? Is tap water OK? Or, could that be the problem with mine? They typically will grow a spike of about an inch or so, but it never seems to get taller or bloom. I live in Texas, zone 8b. Suggestions are welcome. Thanks!

  3. klaraau01 January 1, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Just wanted to thank you for featuring one of my beautiful cymbidiums, for crediting image to my blog and for sharing the love for beautiful orchids.

    1. Kathy Woodard January 9, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      Thank you for sharing, its beautiful!

  4. Behjat August 7, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    For many years, I only enjoyed looking at orchids at flower section of grocery stores or florists, and never bought any, thinking they aren’t going to survive in my house. A few years ago, my daughter gave me one for my birthday. I put it by my kitchen sink that faces a big bay window. Because I spend a lot of time at my sink and use a lot of hot water, this orchid got plenty of moisture in the air, and plenty of indirect light. The only thing I did, was to put a little bit of water in the saucer I placed under it. This lovely orchid bloomed at least 4 more times and finally gave up. Now I have orchids in the same place and next to the sink in my bathroom which also is next to a 3 sided window, and they keep happily blooming. Making orchids bloom in Colorado didn’t turn out to be that difficult.

  5. Sue Volek June 28, 2016 at 11:34 am

    The ice cube watering thing is absolutely wrong for any orchid. These plants don’t like their roots to freeze or burn, and ice can and will do both. I have 200 plus orchids in my greenhouse and have been growing them for two decades. When I give orchid talks, this is the one myth that needs debunking the most. Growers should soak their plants thoroughly when they need water, allow all the excess to drain, and then enjoy. Repotting is necessary because most of these orchids are epiphytes — that is, they have air roots, not ground roots. Those roots need to breathe. That’s why commercial orchid mix is lighter than potting soil. As this mix breaks down, though, it coats the roots and if not repotted, the roots will ultimately rot and the plant will die. Repotting once every year or two is ideal.

    1. Sylvia March 30, 2017 at 7:56 am

      Thank you. Do you have a website?

  6. Tracy May 13, 2016 at 8:23 am

    I have 4 moth orchids that I grow in my bathroom. I live in N NV and the air is very dry. I water my orchids with water soluble fertilizer every 7-10 days in a closed sink. I attempt to saturate the bark and leave in the sink for a couple of hours and then drain. I include my air cacti when watering. I am on my 3rd and 4th blooms for 2 of the plants. I’ve never transplanted them but I have a baby that is currently blooming bright pink and am going to cross my fingers in transplanting that whole new plant.

  7. Lindy May 5, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    I have an orchid plant from over a year ago. After the stem dried up I trimmed it, but even though the leaves are green it never grew back. Any ideas?

    1. Kathy Woodard June 21, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      It can take awhile, I put mine near a window when they are stubborn, the nighttime cold seems to spur them on. Try a fertilizer for orchids and be patient!

  8. Nancy May 4, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    I just want to share about my orchid. I have 10 pots of different colour orchid and they bloom twice a year all the time and I have them for years. I have them on a rack which has lots of lights and close to the patio door. I which I can post a picture to show you and I am so proud of myself that they always bloom. I love it.

  9. Lindy April 25, 2016 at 4:08 am

    I have a moth orchid plant tht has never grown back from over a year ago. However the leaves are still green but the stems never grew back. I live in south Florida so I try to leave it in front a large glass sliding door where it gets sun but not too much. So far nothing had happened. Any ideas wht I can do?

    1. Kathy Woodard May 3, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      Have you tried a dose of fertilizer? Also, some orchids need a bit of a cool shot to start blooming again… Perhaps mov it to a cooler spot for 2 weeks and see if that helps stimulate the blooms!

  10. CHARLOTTE ALLEN April 18, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    What causes the leaves to go limp & soft?

    1. Kathy Woodard May 3, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      Usually its way too much or way too little water!

  11. Shafieka April 17, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    My mom’s orchard doesn’t have an issue growing leaves – just never any blooms…
    Any advise?

  12. Lois April 7, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Has anyone ever had new plants start at the base of the parent plant? If so how do I separate them to report?

    1. Irina May 1, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      I have! I have a mother plant with a Keiki [baby]. I never separated them and now both Mom and Child are in full bloom. They seem very happy attached so I am leaving them alone. I read you can let them be for as long as you can stand it. If you wish to repot baby, cut as close to the spike holding the keiki with a sterile blade and then apply some cinnamon to both mother and keiki’s cut site to prevent fungus invasion. I’ll probably separate mine after they are done blooming. Good luck.

  13. dee bowers October 12, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    I am really having a hard getting mine to re-bloom, I purchased one with a Blue and one white, what is the best way to enhance re-bloom.?

  14. Cherie August 2, 2015 at 6:01 am

    I’m trying to grow orchids from seed, does anyone know how?

    1. Kathy Woodard August 4, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Anyone have experience to share?

  15. Dawn May 15, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    …sorry, re-potted…

  16. Dawn May 15, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Once mine bloomed and the flowers fell off, nothing more happened. All I have is the green leaves, root shoots coming up out of the potting mix (orchid mix) and a dead stalk. I have reported once. It sits in an east window. Lots of light but no direct sun. Am I to cut the dead stalk off? If so, where?

    1. Kathy Woodard May 21, 2015 at 2:07 pm

      We cut our stalk off down to the base… be patient! Also if you can out it next to a cool window at night, sometimes that can get it going!

    2. Janice Pope May 22, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      I didn’t cut mine off and it surprised me and put out another shoot and bloomed again. This was after blooming for a few months and I just left the stalk after all the flowers fell off.

      1. aleksandra November 11, 2015 at 12:48 am

        i didn’t cut mine off as well and when new bloom shows , never cut the stem until it dries out on its own. Keeping my orchids on east facing window , over the heater , and under air condition and there is nothing wrong with them :-) every few months I dipp pots in water and shower the plant with luke warm water and let them drain before putting them back. I started it also as ” how hard it can be” and bought lots of pots , some without flower. Now , I am enjoying my orchids almost year round, for years. Most flowers develop starting from november and they bloom almost till end of may- june. Less work than for cactus :-) and much more beuty . And , yes, I have special liquid fertilaser for orchids. And never take them out from that clear pots, just put them in another like that. Thats my experience. Sorry for any mistake I made, English is not my language :-)

  17. Elizabeth March 31, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Can you show pictures of where to cut the stems once the blooms fall off, so that you can have another blooming time?

  18. Cathy March 16, 2015 at 12:50 am

    what do you do with stock after orchid bloomed?

    1. Nancy Ducharme September 9, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      What do l do with the stock after the orchid blooms

      1. Linda Bennardo March 5, 2017 at 2:14 am

        Cut the spent flower stalk to the ground and continue to care fore plant as when flowering. Placing in a cooler environment for about three weeks will trigger new growths.

  19. Margaret Rose February 12, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    This is very good advice. I have been lucky with what must be perfect conditions for my cymbidiums and here in Northern California I can leave them out on my front porch all year. I had never been able to keep a moth orchid alive till this past year. Indoors and with what seems to be the right light. I read on Pinterest somewhere that if you put two ice cubes on the moss every couple of weeks they will thrive, did it and they did…and bloomed. Thanks for these tips.

  20. Linda January 19, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Wow this is really helpful! I will give it all a try and proceed with confidence – or at least something better than fear and trepidation…


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