Orchids For Windowsills: Learn About Growing Windowsill Orchids

Potted Orchid Houseplant On A Windowsill
(Image credit: Radu Bighian)

A lot of people are daunted by the prospect of growing orchids. While they are a little more intensive than some houseplants, they’re not nearly as scary as the hype implies. One mistake a lot of gardeners make is in thinking that since orchids are tropical, they must have special bright light requirements. This isn’t true and, in fact, growing orchids on a windowsill is ideal. Keep reading to learn more about how to grow orchids on windowsills and the best windowsill orchids.

Growing Windowsill Orchids

Far from needing lots of light, orchids are actually quite sensitive and will suffer in bright light. Orchids on windowsills perform best in east or west-facing windows, where they receive some light in the morning or afternoon. The ideal amount of light is about five hours per day.

If you place them in a south-facing window you may have to hang a screen or a curtain to scatter some of the light. You may also have to do this in east or west windows if the sun coming in is especially intense.

You can get a sense of how strong the light is by holding your hand a foot (31 cm.) above the spot you plan on putting the orchid. Make sure to do this on a sunny day when the light is coming through the window. If your hand casts a clearly defined shadow, the light is too bright. If it casts no shadow, it’s too weak. Ideally, you want your hand to cast a fuzzy shadow.

Orchid Plants for Windowsills

There are a huge variety of orchids out there, and some are more suited to life on a windowsill than others. Some of the best windowsill orchids are moth orchids, Phalaenopsis hybrids which only need three hours of sunlight per day.

Other good orchid plants for windowsills include Masdevallia and Restrepia varieties.

Caring for orchids grown in windowsills is pretty much the same as other areas of the home. For more info on specific orchid needs, this link will help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/orchids

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.