Help me save my plants!

My husband bought me some orchids last spring, I do not remember what types. I did not know how to take care of them and I think I may have killed them! :(. I did not water them regularly and when I did, I did not know not to let hem sit in water. I just learned all of this. 3of my orchids lost their flowers and stem? 1 stem is brown half way down it. The last still has 1 flower remaining, see picture.
My second pot was a tall plant with orange and brown flowers, forgot its name. The tips of the leaves are brown and all of the stems dried up and I pulled them out. What do I do now?!

Hi Amy,

I’ve seem much worse looking orchids than yours, so don’t give up hope of reviving them. As you found out the hard way, the easiest way to kill an Orchid is by over-watering. Always allow the top 50% of the potting compost to dry out before watering; check the roots monthly to be sure they are staying whitish green and plump. Never allow an Orchid to sit in water; keep water off of the flowers; and never use water from a softener or household water that has a lot of chemicals in it; instead use distilled water.  Soil, temperature, time of year, humidity, and pot size all influence an Orchid’s watering needs. Orchids dry out a little faster in the winter because of the heat and low humidity.

In nature, Orchids get much of their food and water from the air, so never cut off any air roots that emerge from the soil. When the flower stalk turns yellow or brown it’s time to prune your orchid. Cut the orchid back to about an inch from where the flower stalk originated on the main stem. Use a clean razor blade or very shape knife. This helps the plant to produce more flowers during the next season. Always remove any dead or diseased parts of the plant immediately otherwise it attracts pests and diseases. Another pruning method is after the Orchid has finished blooming, look for tiny bumps or nodes on the flower spike. Find the third from the bottom and cut the spike off 1″ above this node.

There is an Orchid to suit almost any lighting condition, but none like being in the direct sun. If an area is too dark, the leaves of an Orchid turn dark green instead of the grassy yellow green they should be and the plant doesn’t bloom. If there is too much light, the leaves turn yellow and develop sunspots. A location near an east or west facing window is usually best. Orchids prefer about 10 hours of light a day.