How to Grow Crucifix Orchids

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Crucifix orchids are native to the Caribbean and Americas where their habitat varies from muggy jungles to dry tropical jungles. Each flower has a three-lobed lip next to the arched column resembling a crucifix, hence the name. Crucifix orchids not grown in favorable conditions won’t bloom and will have lanky and weak stems. This epiphytic species makes a nice container plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Drainage tray
  • Gravel
  • Fertilizer
  • Growing medium

Place the crucifix orchid in a sunny location where it will receive full sun for at least four hours a day to bloom and grow strong stems. If full sunlight is not available, the orchid will do nicely in bright light.

Keep the soil moist during spring and summer, but allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings during fall and winter. Water the orchid with distilled or rainwater to avoid adding minerals from tap water to the soil.

Keep the area around the orchid humid by using a drainage tray with gravel in it under the container to catch excess water. Crucifix orchids need a location with plenty of air circulation. Don’t place the container is an area grouped together with other plants where air circulation is restricted.

Feed the orchid during spring and summer when the plant is actively growing using a well-balanced slow-release fertilizer such as 10-10-10 NPK once a month. Water the soil thoroughly before and after adding fertilizer to prevent root burn.

Replant the crucifix orchid every one or two years or when the plant outgrows the container. Use potting mixes with a combination of equal parts of fir bark or gravel, lava rocks or coarse perlite. Sandy loam medium will work as well for container plants.

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