With Google at your fingertips, you can pretty much learn anything you’d want to know in .2 seconds. But — and you can call me a romantic or a nostalgic or whatever — I think there’s something inexplicably better about getting your life advice via word of mouth. Let’s face it: Google is an algorithm. And it can’t hold a candle to great advice from real people who’ve found secrets that work for them.
In the spirit of “great life advice passed down via word of mouth,” allow me to direct your attention to this Instagram thread, where Apartment Therapy readers piped up with some really savvy and clever advice about taking care of arguably the finickiest houseplants alive: orchids.
P.S. You might notice a few contradictory pieces of advice; just one of the joys of learning through experimentation. If my journey from black thumb to plant lady has taught me anything, it’s that each and every individual plant has different tastes.
We love our orchids! Our latest orchid has lasted six months and our trick has been to either place 3 ice cubes on the plant every week or, every week run it under warm water for 35 seconds. Avoid direct sunlight but each orchid is different! Works like a charm. — @brick_farm
Water with ice cubes! They like the slow watering so their soil isn’t overly moist. Great in a kitchen with indirect sunlight. — @lindsries
A spray bottle helps keep the soil moist without over watering 😍 — @celinebrule
They tell us when to water 😄✌🏼️ No water when the roots are still green. When the roots turn silvery bathe them in lukewarm water for a few hours👌🏼 — @bluessiren
Clear pots are great for beginners. You’ll know to water when the roots are silvery in color. When in doubt, wait another day to water. Know your orchid type! I soak phalenopses for 15-30 minutes every 7-10 days depending on how how it’s been. My oncidiums need more, like every 4-6 days. NO ICE CUBES. Both thrive next to my East-facing window for indirect morning light. I tried to keep some a few feet from the window but those didn’t grow new roots or leaves. — @trishariab
I’ve had one flower for 3.5 years, non stop. It’s in a place which is sunny but not direct sunlight. Water once every couple of weeks and cut off old branches to enable new growth to come through. — @amwillsey
I’ve learned that once they’ve found a “home” in your house, you cannot move them. Mine like to be next to a window. Also re-potting them is very difficult. To water them, place a single ice cube at the base of the stem and let dissolve, once a week. — @ammedal25
NEVER use ice cubes on an orchid. Tropical plants do not like them. I soak mine in filtered water for 20 minutes in the morning once a week (for Phals) and allow them to drain for another 20 minutes before putting them back in their window. They can be burnt by direct sunlight, so make sure the light is filtered or indirect. Fertilize with a low concentrated fertilizer sparingly. Oncidiums are a completely different ball game and seem to want all the water all the time. — @zekatie
All the orchids I have had seem to flourish in morning light – an orchid I had for years in the same place (with morning light) nearly died when we moved house and it’s new spot got afternoon light. As soon as it was moved to another room with morning light, it picked right back up! — @emnevs
Even when they look a tad shriveled and like they could be on the verge of death, the biggest key I’ve found is to just trust them. I’ve kept several orchids for years and they always perk back up and bloom in their own time! Just don’t over water them – let them call the shots. They’re a moody plant but well worth the wait, you just have to have trust that they will be ☺ — @alexxa___rae
Buy the fake ones… they look real #IDontHaveAGreenThumb #BlackThumb — @lulishko
P.S. Here’s our Very Real Guide to Buying Very Fake Plants
Do you have any orchid advice? And are you on Team Ice Cubes or not?