Some types of orchids can be very sensitive to temperature changes. Providing the correct winter care is crucial to helping your orchid rebloom the following year. In my experience, some of the more cold-tolerant orchids include several Dendrobium or Vanda orchids. Thankfully, you can guide your orchids safely through winter by adjusting their care.
Provide Plenty of Sunlight
Whatever the season, providing your orchid with the right amount of sunlight is crucial (particularly when you’re growing orchids indoors). During the winter, orchids will require as much bright, indirect sunlight as you can give them.
The sun tends to be lower in the winter, and the days won’t last as long. To compensate, position your orchid on an east or south-facing windowsill. This provides plenty of sunlight as soon as the sun rises in the morning.
If you live somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, you may have to use grow lights to supplement your orchid.
Maintain the Right Temperature and Humidity Levels
Although different types of orchids can tolerate different temperatures, most species need warm temperatures. Try not to let the temperature drop below 50ºF (10ºC) during the winter. In most cases, standard household temperatures should be fine for orchids during the winter.
Most orchids also require humid environments with humidity levels between 50 and 80%. This can be challenging during the winter because the air tends to be drier. Use humidifiers or pebble trays to boost the humidity around your orchid. In addition to one of these methods, you can also mist your orchid regularly.
Cold or dry drafts are some of the biggest problems that orchids face during the winter months. These drafts can come from air vents, air conditioning units, open windows, and heaters or radiators. Protect your orchids by keeping them away from drafty areas at all times.
Adjust Your Watering Schedule
Most types of orchids slow down their growth during the winter, often entering dormancy. As such, you might need to water your orchid less frequently in the colder months. Approximately once a week should be fine for most orchids.
However, if the air is extremely dry, you may need water just as frequently as you would during the summer. A good way to tell if your orchid needs watering is to examine the roots. If they are green, the orchid doesn’t need watering. But if the roots are turning silver, give your orchid a drink. Always use room-temperature distilled or filtered water when watering your orchids (we generally recommend not watering orchids with ice cubes).
As a general rule, it’s best to hold off fertilizing orchids during this time of year as well.
During the winter, orchids need plenty of bright, indirect sunlight and warm, humid conditions. Although average household temperatures should be sufficient, use humidifiers or pebble trays to increase humidity around your orchid. Always protect your orchid from cold or dry drafts from vents or radiators. With due care and attention, your orchids will happily live for years to come.
For more, see our essential guide to caring for orchids whilst you’re away or on vacation and everything you need to know about orchid plant care after they finish blooming, and how to deal with orchid plants dropping leaves.
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.