Subscribe to our blog to get articles delivered directly to your inbox

Orchid Care For Colder Weather

December 21, 2023

As much as we’d like to pretend it isn’t, the chilly season is here. Winter ushers in cold temperatures and dry conditions that usually stick around for a few months. As an orchid owner, it’s important to think about the proper care for your plant during these colder months. Several aspects of your plant’s care can stay the same, but there are a few things that should change. Just like humans, plants adapt to their conditions, and you want to make sure your plant gets exactly what it needs, even if it’s colder outside.  

How to adjust your orchid care during winter 

One of the biggest mistakes phalaenopsis orchid lovers can make is not adjusting their plant’s care to the changing climate outside. Yes, your orchid is absolutely an indoor plant, but that doesn’t mean that things aren’t changing inside your house in the winter, too.  

A common tip for all plants is that you should decrease the amount of water when your plant is receiving less light. Since the days are shorter and the light is limited in the winter, it’s safe to assume your orchid also needs less water. Use the color of your roots as an indicator of when you need to water. Green is good and grey needs a bit of moisture. It is better to underwater your orchid than overwater it (which can lead to root rot), so if your home is particularly dry and is darker, you would be wise to lean to water it less often, so as not to overwhelm the plant with too much moisture. 

Drafts Are Not a Phal’s Friend

Drafts are pretty common during the wintertime. They’ll enter through a gently sealed window, following the opening of a door, or even through the chimney. It's totally normal, so don’t stress if you are getting a bit cooler air inside your space!  

Although we may be willing to tolerate the occasional draft, orchids would rather not. Exposure to cold drafts and the sudden drops in temperature that often follow are stressful to the orchid and can cause your blooms to drop prematurely. So, it’s wise to keep your orchid further away from an area that may have drafts and to do what you can to eliminate them in your home altogether. Orchids are not the only plant that’s sensitive to cooler temperatures, so if you have a green thumb, avoiding drafts is a great idea. 

We recommend housing your orchid in a room where it’s easy to maintain a temperature within its ideal range, which is between 55 and 75 degrees. If your orchid is near a window, it’s also important to ensure that there is a little bit of space between the two to avoid drafts emanating from a poorly sealed window. Don’t be afraid to add some tape or a small towel or piece of fabric to ensure that air isn’t getting through, especially if your plant is thriving in the lighting situation and you don’t want to move it elsewhere.  

Protect your orchid from Low Humidity

Orchids originated in the tropics where they enjoyed humid air. Winter is notorious for dry conditions and a serious lack of humidity. Even if you live in a relatively warm climate, your humidity will still drop in the winter!  

Low humidity can take a toll on the Phalaenopsis orchid, causing its leaves to appear stunted or deformed. In the winter, when humidity levels are especially low, orchid owners should take steps to raise humidity levels to suit the needs of their orchid. There are a few ways you can do this, depending on how dedicated you are to creating a humid environment and your budget.  

One easy way to accomplish this is to keep a humidifier running in the room in which your orchids live to ensure optimal humidity levels, but we know that can be pricey if you don’t already own humidifiers. Another option is to place your orchid in a more humid area of your home, such as a bathroom. While it won’t be constantly humid, the showers, baths and steam will increase the humidity levels more than a room without that level of moisture.  

With that said, we recommend that you turn the humidifier off at night to allow any excess moisture to evaporate so that your orchid doesn’t pick up any diseases due to moisture buildup. 

What to do if your orchid is damaged by the cold 

We know that life happens and there is a chance that you could do everything right and your orchid still gets some damage from the cold. What should you do if that happens? 

First, hold off on watering a bit and let your soil dry out, as well as placing your orchid in the most humid area of your home. Next, while keeping your orchid humid, avoid heat – so no drafts from vents, fireplaces or stoves if possible. Lastly, don’t put your orchid in direct sunlight hoping to warm it up. Bright, indirect sunlight will still be best, and you won’t risk burning your leaves.  

Ultimately, there is still a chance that your orchid is damaged beyond the point of saving, but if you follow the above steps, you’ll have the best chance of saving your plant!  

We hope these tips have prepared you to care for your orchid during the colder months ahead! Have additional orchid care questions? Visit our FAQ section!