Orchids can grow quite happily indoors, and several types of orchids are frequently sold as houseplants. Some of the more popular epiphytic orchids include Dendrobium orchids, Phalaenopsis orchids, and Vanda orchids. Popular terrestrial orchids include jewel orchids and lady’s slipper orchids. Orchids are often labeled as difficult houseplants to care for. But with the proper considerations, orchid care can be pretty straightforward.
Can Orchids Grow Indoors?
Orchids are a group of thousands of species that make up the Orchidaceae family. With over 760 different genera, the orchid family is one of the largest plant groups in the world. They are generally divided into two main types; epiphytic orchids and terrestrial orchids.
Epiphytic orchids don’t need much soil and attach themselves to larger host plants, whereas terrestrial orchids grow in soil. Epiphytic orchids are usually easier to grow indoors, while terrestrial orchids are easier to grow outside in suitable climates. Some types of orchids can even grow directly in water.
Tips for Growing Orchids Indoors
With proper care, orchids can live for years to come.
Orchid care can vary slightly depending on the exact species, but the basic principles are usually the same. Most orchids commonly sold as houseplants come from tropical areas. As such, they need warm, humid conditions and struggle in cold temperatures.
Most types of orchids require lots of bright, indirect light. The best position for orchids is approximately 3 feet away from an east or west-facing window. Orchids will suffer in bright, direct light because this can scorch their leaves. Many orchids will also struggle to grow properly in full shade and won’t rebloom.
Orchids need moist soils, so water whenever the growing medium feels slightly dry, and ensure you’re using a suitable potting vessel for orchid plants. If the roots are still green, wait until they turn slightly silvery before watering. Some people swear by using ice cubes to water orchid plants but be careful not to overwater if this is your preferred method, which can lead to yellowing orchid leaves.
Ideal Environmental Conditions for Orchids Indoors
Most orchids require warm, humid environments to thrive indoors. Orchids prefer stable temperatures between 65 and 85ºF (18 to 30ºC). Orchids also need moderate to high humidity levels between 40 and 70%. Use humidifiers or pebble trays to boost humidity alongside regular misting.
Orchids require loose growing mediums that provide plenty of aeration and drainage. Most orchid mediums use bark, peat, or sphagnum moss, coco coir, and perlite. Orchids are sensitive to overwatering and waterlogged soil, so these loose, chunky mediums help prevent that.
Although orchids aren’t heavy feeders, they still need fertilizer to produce their best blooms. Most orchids should be fertilized monthly during the spring and summer growing seasons. Alternatively, some orchid growers feed their plants weekly with extremely weak doses. Always use diluted liquid fertilizers designed for orchids. It’s also prudent to stay on top of common orchid plant pests, bugs, and diseases.
If you’re planning on a vacation or a work trip, see our essential tips on caring for orchids while away.
Orchids are popular indoor plants thanks to their incredible showy flowers and rich symbolic value. Most orchids need bright, indirect sunlight and warm, humid conditions. Use a specialized orchid growing medium and water whenever the growing medium feels dry. Fertilize orchids once a month.
If you’re looking for the next orchid plant to add to your collection, see our guide to the best orchid plant delivery services.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.