How to Care for a Calanthe Orchid

Hi Judy, I’ve had a Calanthe Orchid for a year now and its growing so slow. It only produced 1 new growth this summer and its still in the 2″ pot I bought it in. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Hi Glenda,

Since there was no picture with your question, I assume you have a Calanthe Triplicata, some refer to it as a Christmas Orchid because it blooms all winter. Here is a picture of a Calanthe triplicata in bloom.

White Christmas orchid

Calanthe triplicata
Christmas Orchid

I hope these care instructions help. A Calanthe triplicata is very easy to care for since over-watering is not as much of a problem as it is with other orchids. Also the plant is attractive even when not in bloom. Gently wash the leaves each weeks to remove any dust.

Light:  Calanthe triplicata needs bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light..

Water: Water well during the summer.  During the rest period, after flowering is finished, give them only enough water to keep the soil from drying out completely.

fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.  : Calanthe triplicata orchids need to be fed often, about once every two weeks during the growing season, with a liquid plant food..

Temperature: Normal room temperatures between 60-8o°F. Do not place your Calanthe near heating or cooling vents or in drafts.

Humidity: High humidity is important. If the air is dry, place the plant on a wet pebble tray. Be sure the plant sits on the pebbles and not in the water.

Pot Size: Calanthe triplicata orchids like large pots. Use 6 inch pots that have a wide base. This provides stability as the plant grows taller.

Soil:  Calanthe triplicata orchids need a rich soil organic soil. When potting Calanthe triplicata, the pseudobulbs should be half buried in the soil.