Do Orchids Need Sunlight? Making Them THRIVE

BY Shaafay Zia
Last Update:

Has the question ever crossed your mind, DO ORCHIDS NEED SUNLIGHT? 

Well, you are in luck; our article will cover JUST THAT. Find out whether or not your orchid needs SUNLIGHT and so much more. 

You’ll have the ability to DIVINATE your orchid’s needs by the end of this article. Just kidding, or am I? Stick around and find out.

Trust us! You’re in the RIGHT PLACE! We have extensive gardening knowledge. We are like your virtual plant whisperers. 

We know about FLOWERS like ORCHIDS and have tons of tips and advice on making them THRIVE. Don’t worry. 

You’ll know how to make your ORCHIDS SMILE. So get ready for VIBRANT COLOR in your garden!

Do Orchids Need Sunlight

Do Orchids Need Sunlight? 

Do Orchids Need Sunlight

Yes, orchids NEED natural sunlight to remain HEALTHY and HAPPY. Without it, they tend to become WEAK and UNAPPEALING. 

After all, nobody likes flowers on ANTIDEPRESSANTS! No psychiatrist has figured out the right cocktail YET. Hahaha

They should be placed NEAR A WINDOW where they receive INDIRECT SUNLIGHT. About SIX HOURS daily is enough – not too much, but JUST ENOUGH! After all, you DON’T want a sunburnt flower!

Keep your orchid’s leaves OUT of too much DIRECT SUN; otherwise, you’ll risk BURNING them. 

Do you know how you shouldn’t spend too much time in the sun or risk turning into a LOBSTER? Your orchid’s leaves deserve the SAME respect.

Sunlight Requirements for Growing Orchids

Sunlight Requirements for Growing Orchids

Have you heard happy orchids = happy life? Let’s shed some LIGHT on the REQUIREMENTS for your happy orchids:

1. Indirect sunlight 

Indirect sunlight is your new BEST FRIEND if you want to grow LOW-LIGHT-ORCHIDS. Seriously, these guys CAN’T HANDLE too much direct sunlight. They’ll get sunburnt faster than a BRITISH TOURIST on the beach in Spain. Hahaha

2. Light intensity 

Orchids THRIVE in environments where they receive an ADEQUATE AMOUNT of light intensity. But enough light means DIFFERENT THINGS to DIFFERENT PLANTS. So different strokes for different folks…I mean plants!

For example, high-light orchids need a little MORE LIGHT intensity than other varieties! I give my HIGH-LIGHT varieties more than 2500-foot candles. 

On the flip side, LOW-LIGHT ORCHIDS can survive with just 1000 to 1500-foot candles. This is not quite blindingly intense but still gives them that UNIQUE GLOW they’re known for. 

Use a LIGHT METER or FOOT CANDLES to measure the bright light hitting your plant and ADJUST AS NEEDED. You can always go with your GUT. But I recommend the FIRST option. We are not gamblers, after all.

3. Duration of Sunlight 

More sunlight DOESN’T always mean better growth for your orchid! ORCHID VARIETIES need different amounts of daily sunlight time. As a RULE OF THUMB, I give my plants 6 to 8 hours daily. 

But RESEARCH the specific requirements for the ORCHID SPECIES that you are growing! Think of it like sleep; your plant needs sun time. It is just like humans need our BEAUTY SLEEP (some more than others).

4. Too much shade 

INSUFFICIENT LIGHT can cause POOR orchid health. Your plants’ leaves might start YELLOWING. It’s like how last year’s New Year’s resolutions will start looking after July 4th. [**Remembers that my psychologist told me to stop making self-deprecating jokes**] 

Steps to Check If Orchids Are Getting Enough Light

Steps to Check If Orchids Are Getting Enough Light

So you want to find out if your orchids are THRIVING or just plain DEAD INSIDE – like MOST of us in 2020? Hahaha. Here are the steps to Check they Are Getting Enough Light:

1. Inspect the Plant 

Get out your MAGNIFYING GLASS, Sherlock! I like to begin by looking for signs of STRUGGLE and DESPAIR – like slow growth or leaves turning yellow. 

2. Check Physically Your Plant’s Location 

Be a REAL ESTATE AGENT for a hot minute. Check if your plant is in its PRIME LOCATION with DIRECT SUNLIGHT or INDIRECT LIGHT exposure. Just don’t try to sell your plants some space if it’s just living like OSCAR THE GROUCH. That’s not how you get that “green.” Hahaha

3. Use A Light Meter

Use that LIGHT METER to measure the LIGHT INTENSITY hitting your plant from its CURRENT SPOT. I think of myself as an undercover special agent in STAKEOUT MODE. You are allowed to WHISPER, “We got eyes on the target.” I know I do.

4. Light Meter App To The Rescue!

Why not jump aboard the 21st-century ship? I also use a LIGHT METER APP to measure how much light my orchids are getting. These little gadgets provide quick readings WITHOUT breaking into all KINDS OF EQUIPMENT.

You might end up SWIPING RIGHT for more brightness! Who knows? What happens WITHIN these apps STAYS within these apps!

5. Record Everything

RECORD your observations and NOTE ANY CHANGES over time. This will help in case you need to make adjustments. After all, WE DON’T want them dying off!

6. Compare Your Observations 

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, Research! Find out the specific requirements needed for Each Species. Compare the RECOMMENDED VALUES to the observations you noted. This is important before making any changes to ensure sufficient light. 

Things to Consider When Grow Orchids

Things to Consider When Grow Orchids

Here are some SECRET TIPS to consider when growing orchids: 

1. Use a Good Potting Medium 

I always use a PROPER POTTING MEDIUM as it is vital for HEALTHY ORCHIDS. The medium should provide EXCELLENT DRAINAGE. And it should keep ENOUGH MOISTURE for my healthy orchid.

You want them to feel like they are in a FIVE-STAR RESORT, not a sketchy motel with QUESTIONABLE BED SHEETS. You are NOT a plant serial killer, are you?

You should use APPROPRIATE SOIL MIXTURES based on SPECIES-SPECIFIC preferences. Think of it as finding the perfect apartment – you want your plants to feel comfortable and at home. After all, we all hate a place with LEAKY PLUMBING.

2. Transplant with Care 

Repotting can be quite TRAUMATIC for any plant. Imagine someone scooping you up in a giant hand and plopping you into new soil! That would traumatize you for life. Hahaha.

So, when repotting, handle the DELICATE orchid plant with CARE. I usually keep the SAME flower spike INTACT. And I transplant them into New soil mixtures that suit their unique needs.

3. Apply Fertilizer Regularly 

Fertilize orchids regularly. If you do it RIGHT, they’ll grow taller than Shaq standing next to Danny DeVito! Now, that’s SOMETHING. Hahaha.

I am careful not to overdo it. OVER-FERTILIZATION can harm your plants or cause foliage damage.

4. Manage Pests 

Spray orchids occasionally. Doing so will PREVENT PESTS from spreading to other plants too fast. These plants are PRONE to pests such as mites and aphids.

I spray my orchids during the RAINY SEASON as it helps MANAGE PESTS on my orchids. These critters are worse than EXES, who won’t stop texting you – and harder to eliminate! By eliminate, we mean get rid of, don’t get any funny ideas.

5. Ensure Proper Air flow 

I give my exotic orchids AIR FLOW. That’s because stale air can accumulate DAMPNESS and cause FUNGAL DISEASES. I give my house plants enough ventilation and fresh air access. No one wants MOLDY plants because they are MOODY.

6. Provide Appropriate Temperatures 

Normally, orchids prefer temperatures within 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit (15-27 Celsius). That is because members of the orchid family are TROPICAL PLANTS. So you’ll have to give them extra attention if you grow them in cold environments.

Anything COLDER than 60 ℉, your orchids will be SHIVERING more than me at my first acting audition.  

Tips to Prevent Sunburn in Orchids

Tips to Prevent Sunburn in Orchids

Do you want to PREVENT SUNBURN on your orchids? Don’t worry. We WON’T suggest applying SUNSCREEN – that’s just silly! Here is what to do instead: 

1. Avoid the South facing window 

It is important to remember that SOUTH-FACING WINDOW can allow too much sunlight in. Most orchids SHOULD NOT be exposed directly to the light from such windows. It can cause LEAF BURN and other damage.

2. Avoid Direct Sunlight 

Direct sunlight is basically a tanning bed WITHOUT goggles or SPF lotion. That’s NOT good news for anyone! So, AVOIDING direct sunlight is KEY to preventing sunburn in MOST ORCHIDS.

TOO MUCH direct sunlight can quickly cause damage due to its intensity and heat. It is like the plant version of going to COACHELLA without SHADES or WATER- it will not end well, folks! 

So ENSURE you keep your plants AWAY from windows with strong direct light exposure. This is especially true for spots with CONTINUOUS light for more than a FEW HOURS DAILY.

3 Lower Light Exposure for Low Light Orchid Species

LOW-LIGHT orchids like Phalaenopsis and Cattleya need INDIRECT LIGHT. Although it can handle INTENSE LIGHT, continuous light exposure will turn them yellowish. 

4. Inspect Your Plants for Sun damage 

You need to CHECK your orchid leaves REGULARLY. Think of it as the plant equivalent of going to the doctor for an annual CHECK-UP. But it is LESS AWKWARD, and NO fingers are inserted in funny places! [**Thinks plants are lucky they don’t get a prostate exam**] 

Healthy plants should have DARK GREEN leaves. But if you see YELLOWISH-GREEN ones, it’s time to PROTECT those precious beauties. 

5. Filter Your Lightsource 

Consider using shade CURTAINS or SHEERS on sunny spots within your home. This will protect your plant from getting too much sunshine during hot days. It is especially important for your INDOOR PLANTS near an OPEN AREA like a PATIO. 

Shade curtains or sheers seem outdated compared to blackout blinds. But TRUST ME, your plants will THANK YOU. 

What Happens When Orchids Get Insufficient Sunlight?

What Happens When Orchids Get Insufficient Sunlight

So, your orchid’s BRIGHT GREEN leaves are like a neon sign that screams, “I’m healthy and thriving!” But what about when they start looking DULLER than a politician’s speech? Hahaha. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Insufficient light causes poor growth and development

When orchids DON’T receive adequate SUNLIGHT, their growth is STUNTED or SLOWS DOWN. That’s just like if you only eat FAST FOOD. You might survive but DON’T expect a QUALITY LIFE! [**Reaches for another slice of pizza**]

2. Inadequate lighting often results in the yellowing of the leaves

YELLOWISH-GREEN foliage may be trendy on Instagram filters, but not so much for plants! 

It usually indicates there’s something wrong with their LIGHT INTAKE. And they are probably NOT making enough FOOD to SURVIVE. 

You will notice them turn pale yellow eventually as the foliage THINS OUT. Think of it like that one friend with PREMATURE BALDING – except more urgent. 

3. The quality of blooming-season declines due to insufficient exposure 

Insufficient sunlight DECREASES a healthy BLOOM’S SIZE. The plant does this by trying to conserve energy. That’s just like when I try to finish A WEEK’S worth of work on a SINGLE CUP of coffee. It takes ENERGY to grow large bright flowers. 

FAQs about Do Orchids Need Sunlight

1. Can orchids grow with artificial light?

You betcha! Orchids grow with artificial light. It’s like giving them a VIP ticket to their own private concert – complete with all the bells and whistles. These light sources provide an artificial spectrum that mimics sunlight. 

2. How often do you water an orchid?

Water your orchids once a week or when the top inch of soil is dry. So that’s basically just like us waiting for our next paycheck! Just be careful not to overwater. Root rot isn’t something anyone wants- except maybe some fungi out there.

3. What month do orchids lose their flowers?

They’re like divas on tour – it all depends on the species! But generally speaking, it happens in fall or winter. The flower stem sheds petals faster than Taylor Swift changes boyfriends.

4. When should you repot an orchid?

Has the current pot turned into more of a straight jacket rather than comfy pajamas? Then that’s when it’s time for rehab. I mean repotting! The orchid is too large for its current pot. And don’t forget about changing that potting soil, too. 

What’s Next

I hope your orchids are ready to shine bright. We gave you tips on how much light they need, so those babies can show off their stuff and turn heads in the neighborhood.

Before you grab that bottle of SPF50 for your plants, let me tell you – it’s not gonna work. Instead, use our EXPERT ADVICE to protect your orchids and shield them from harmful rays. 

Okay, you can go forth and be fabulous gardeners!

Do you have any gardening needs? 

AsterGardening is here to give you some help.

We cater to everyone from greenhorn gardeners to seasoned pros. Even if all you’ve ever grown is mold on old bread – we gotchu covered! 

Check out our website for more information today, and let’s get growing!

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Shaafay Zia

Hi, I'm a fellow green thumb who moonlight's as a writer. Gardening is something that brings me peace and I have been in the sport for many years now. With all of our expertise, we will always bring you the best content which will make you love your garden, even more.