How to plant orchid bulbs

Updated February 21, 2017

Because of the many orchid varieties from which to choose -- more than 30,000 species and 200,000 hybrids -- most orchids sold as bulbs in gardening centres and nurseries are quite easy to grow in your home garden. By implementing a few simple gardening techniques, including proper potting, adequate watering and access to sunlight, you will soon have a blooming orchid in your home.

Fill a small, plastic pot nearly to the top of the pot with soil. In most speciality gardening shops, you will be able to find a soil specifically designed for common orchids. Most orchids sold for home growth are epiphytes, which means that they are "air plants." Select a loose soil that will help retain moisture after you water the orchid bulb. Any soil that provides good air circulation will work well with your orchid.

Dig a hole in the soil with your finger just big enough for the orchid bulb. When you place the bulb inside of the hole, the top third of the bulb should be sticking above the soil (do not cover it completely). Gather the additional soil from the pot and lightly pack it around the bulb. Again, the head of the bulb should stick above the soil, but pack the soil around it lightly so it is secure.

Place your planted orchid bulb in a location where it can get 12 or more hours of sunlight every day. Choose a south- or east-facing window, because the heat from the sun is less intense than in west-facing windows.

Water the orchid bulb no more than once a week. Orchids, especially in a bulb state, need little water. If you overwater your orchid, you will damage root growth and could kill the orchid. Check the soil with your finger. It should feel moist but not muddy or slimy.

Keep the orchid bulb in a humid location in your home, especially during the winter. Most orchids need around 60 to 80 per cent humidity to flourish, so if your home is particularly dry, consider using a humidifier in the room where you keep the orchid.


Considering planting your bulb in a plastic pot because it will be easier to remove for repotting in the future. Don't use liquid fertiliser on your orchids until after it has matured.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic flower pot
  • Nutrient-rich planting soil
  • Watering can
  • Humidifier
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Jessica Jewell is a writer, photographer and communications consultant who began writing professionally in 2005. Her chapbook, "Slap Leather," is forthcoming from dancing girl press. Her recent work has appeared in "Nimrod," "Harpur Palate," "Copper Nickel," "Rhino," "wicked alice," "Poetry Midwest" and "Barn Owl Review." Jewell was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from Kent State University.