The Perfect Room To Grow Orchids Is Not Where You Think

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The Perfect Room To Grow Orchids Is Not Where You Think

Orchids are often considered difficult to grow, mainly because people mistake the dormant phase of the plant with death when the stems die back after flowering. However, the best place to grow orchids is in your bathroom, which is the most humid part of a home. Orchids love humidity and mimic their natural environment, which can be achieved by providing bright, indirect light and over 50% humidity.

Maintaining this level of humidity can be challenging indoors, but it is easier to achieve in the bathroom. Moreover, since the bathroom is a frequently visited room, it provides an opportunity to keep an eye on your orchids. Orchids are rare, tropical, and beautiful plants that bring a refreshing energy to your home.

Understanding your orchid

multiple orchids in varying colors

Debralee Wiseberg/Getty Images

Orchids belong to the family Orchidaceae, the largest and oldest family of flowering plants in the world. Orchids have been around for around 120 million years, suggesting that they were alive before the continents separated! With over 24,000 species, the orchid family is the largest plant family in the world. Expansive and ancient, orchids are a truly fascinating species with a much longer history than one might imagine when strolling through their grocery store and deciding to take home a Phaelenopsis orchid! Additionally, most orchids are epiphytic, meaning they do not need to grow in soil; instead, they grow on tree bark and collect nutrients and water from the air. While some terrestrial orchids grow in the ground, they are less common than epiphytic orchids, at least at the commercial level.

Orchids are often purchased as gifts for celebrations, and many times, as soon as the flowers die back, they’re thrown out. It’s sad to think about all of the orchids thrown out due to simple misunderstandings. Since most people typically don’t understand how orchids work or that they only bloom once a year, they think they are challenging to care for and give up. While there are some common orchid plant care mistakes, knowing the basics of how Orchids function in their natural environment can help avoid any orchid fatalities and disappointments.

Why is the bathroom the perfect place to grow orchids?

white orchid in bathroom

New Africa/Shutterstock

There are a few key things to keep in mind when it comes to successfully caring for indoor orchids. First and foremost, as mentioned above, orchids are epiphytic, meaning they draw nutrients and moisture from the surrounding air. This is why humidity plays a key role in growing healthy orchid plants, making the bathroom the perfect home for your orchids! In addition to humidity, most orchids need bright, indirect light, so a southern or eastern-facing window is suitable for orchids. However, any natural light in your bathroom will help your orchid thrive. Adequate humidity and light also help to encourage regular flowering in orchids.

Some studies even suggest that growing a moth orchid near your toilet can help deodorize smells in your bathroom! Not only are orchids gorgeous to look at, but growing them in your bathroom will spare you from some of the common orchid killers like inadequate lighting and humidity. However, keep in mind that you still have to water your orchid; humidity alone is not enough. It’s better to let your orchid dry out between watering than to overwater it, as overwatering can quickly kill your orchid plant. Not only are humidity and light important, but so is airflow, so if you can open the window and let some fresh air in occasionally, it will help keep your orchid happy and healthy.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.