Cultivating Orchids & Crafting Terrariums

Best Plant Stands for Orchids: What to Know Before Buying

Orchid bench, orchid plant stand, orchid rack, stands, holders, shelves, tables—you name it, if you keep falling in love with orchids, you’ll eventually need one.

Plant stands for orchids are a natural evolution for the orchid grower. Once you get your first orchid and successfully grow it, you’ll soon discover that orchids are contagious: you’ll get another, and one more, and a different one…

Soon, the window sill won’t be able to hold all the amazingly stunning species and genera that you have.
Plant Shelf for Orchids
""terrcloseup20111001" by Jayfar is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 cropped.  
You’ll have to upgrade to a plant shelf or an orchid bench.From the bench, you’ll get a shelf on top of it.

When you least realize it, you'll have all kinds of orchid pots waiting to be elegantly displayed. The final step is a greenhouse.
Before you go out and purchase plant stands for orchids, read through this article to know what to look for. Some of the ideas on the market are not functional and will quickly become an inconvenience, more so than beneficial.

You’ll wish you’d saved your money on something else, and now you have no more space and money somehow happens to always be tight. The four things you need to consider is:

(1) how will your orchid get light,

(2) how wide is the shelf,

(3) how will you water the orchid, and

(4) how will the overall design look in your space.


Let’s look at these one by one.

1. Lighting for Orchid Shelves and Plant Stands

Orchids always look amazing in bathrooms. Don’t ask me why. They just do. It’s not uncommon to see plant shelves and elaborate floral design with orchids on a plant rack, but before you sell yourself on this idea, how will the orchid get light?

Most orchid genus need at least 12 to 14 hours of good sunlight, and a few genera even prefer more than that. You can elegantly install a grow light above the plant shelf, which will solve the problem, but add in the extra cost and installation when going down that road.

As with any orchid pot, a plant shelf needs to have a decent way to let light through to the bottom shelves. If you are using artificial lighting, then look for ways to attach the lights that are a reasonable distance form the top of the leaves or flower spike, so your orchid won’t get sun damage.

In this article from the New York Times, the author Jane Rosen talks about installing fluorescent lights in her bathroom over the plant shelf and how that worked.

Some plant holders for orchids have solid shelves, which isn’t bad, but if you’re going to use artificial light, you’ll have a lot of extra expense. This means one light per shelf, and that can get costly and be too close for the orchid. The top of your orchid needs to be a foot away from the top of the grow light.

Unfortunately, most shelves aren’t built with just two shelves, which would be the perfect spacing. Talking about spacing, that brings us to the next topic: shelf width.

2. Shelf Width for Adequate Orchid Pot Size

You bought a small orchid now, but don’t forget that orchids grow. In a couple years, you’ll be dividing them, and making two pots, three, four… With each new plant, the space on your orchid table is less and less. When you browsing through the numerous plant shelves for orchids, get one that will stably hold your plant, and plants for years to come.
Sometimes the width of the shelves is ridiculously small.

Along with no space for the pot, you’ll have problems installing lighting, as mentioned above. 
Plant Shelf for Orchids
""(College Portfolio) Shoe Rack" by Sean Fujiyoshi is licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0 
Before purchasing a shelving unit, arrange you orchid pots on a table and see how many you'd like to fit on each shelf. Measure the width you'll need.

Most commercial shelving units only allow two big 12-inch pots per shelf. If you have several medium size pots, then you can fit around three, but there won't be room for air movement in between plants and can contribute to bacterial and fungal growth.

3. Watering and Shelving: Rot & Rust

The main concern with purchasing a plant shelf for orchids is how you will water it. If the shelf is a sold material, wood, plastic, MDF, or any other, this will not only hinder lighting to the shelf below, but make a royal mess when watering.

An idea to detour this is using humidity trays that can double up a drip-catchers.

If you are purchasing metal, verify that it is coated in a plastic covering of some sort, or a grate, and not a continuous plank. With the high humidity levels that orchids require and the frequent (but not constant) watering, the shelves need to be rust-proof, or be coated with a rust-resistant product.

4. Display

When purchasing a plant shelf for orchids, make sure that you can visualize the orchid in that specific environment. There are many ways to display orchid throughout the house, if you have adequate lighting and can keep humidity levels high.

Yet, when it comes to moving them throughout the house, we sometimes get a blank for ideas…

Here are a few to get you inspired:
  • If you only have one massive plant, in a 12-inch pot, then make that a statement by placing it on a stand by itself. You can get a single plant stand and position it behind a sofa, in the corner of a room, next to an end table, or sit it on the coffee table by itself. Good ideas are bar stools or foot stools. The higher you’ll elevate it, the more it will become a centerpiece, without additional effort.

 

  • If you have several plants, ranging form miniature orchids to larger oncidiums, then go for a three-layered stand. The biggest plants should go on the bottom rack, leaving the miniature orchids to be displayed on the top. If you have dangling orchids, that cascade down in multiple layers, place these on the top rack, towards the outer edges, framing the orchid shelf.

 

  • An old ladder works wonders. They are perfect because they don’t hide the plants under one another, but bring them forward so they are capturing the eye and the light. They also are sturdy and won’t topple over.

 

  • Another idea is the overlooked utility cart with wheels. Initially designed to transport materials form one place to another, home owners have been using utility carts for laundry, garage storage and many other things. You can get one, or probably have one stashed away in the garage.

 

  • Crates & pallets: oh, the things you can build with crates. Even though these have a more rustic feel to them, if you search wooden pallets for plants, you should come up with an extensive mirage of ideas. I haven’t seen many indoor pallet designs, mostly outdoor ideas, but they can be adapted.

5. Materials

There are many different, unique, and creative materials that you can build an orchid shelf with. I’ll describe the pros and cons of each, then I'll link a suggestion to where you can buy each one. (Please note these are Affiliate Links and I do get a tiny commission if you do purchase, but with no extra cost to you).

A) Orchid Plant Shelves Made from Glass

Glass shelves are perfect if you have a modern-styled office, bathroom, or living area. They are easy to clean and allow light to reach the lower shelves. These will only work for smaller plants, and not heavy, 12-inch pots.

When looking for glass-shelving that you can mount into “cubes” or boxes, try to get some that allow for air circulation—a little space in between each panel would be the ideal. If the entire shelf is enclosed in glass, you’ll have a bigger problem with mold and black rot. A small fan would be essential to eliminate any possibility of stagnant water.

As for glass shelving to recommend, there wasn’t one brand or product that really stood out in a positive way for me. So I’d suggest taking a look at glass shelving on Amazon, Etsy, Ebay and you’re local glass store too. Home Depot and Lowe’s might be the best option, especially if you look in the bathroom aisle, since glass shelves usually are associated with showers.
Dendrobium
"Dendrobium nobile Hybriden" by rensseak is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
If you still have no luck finding something that inspires you, but you want glass, why not go a totally different route and look at terrariums. Here’s a cute choice, and it adds a special twist to your living room or bedroom. It might not be what you came for, but you might leave with something better. 😊

 B) Plastic or Acrylic Plant Shelves for Orchids

The second option is a thickened PP plastic shelving. If you are just starting out and don’t want to add a lot of investment to orchid growing, this is definitely your choice. This option for orchid shelving unit is actually better than the glass. It is less prone to break, yet includes all the pros listed in the glass. The price is better, too.

The best plastic panel shelving unit online for a very good price was found at Tom Care Cube storage. In this suggestion, there is plenty of room for the air to flow in between the panels. The glass in the back and bottom are a fuzzy white, similar to looking through a frosted window. Not totally transparent, these cubes actually enhance the brightness, as light bounces off the panels and back to the plant.

As for assembly, it can easily be assembled by one person, and a hammer is included. Maybe you don’t want the entire three-by-four look, but a lower six-by-two. With this option, that is possible. Fit the shape and size of your room, with 12 storage units, each 11.8 inches wide.

Since you won’t be adding large orchids to this shelving unit, you can easily have 3 small plants in each cubicle and still have room to water.
The cons:

Don’t add too many plants. This is a cheaper plastic—you get what you pay for. If you add too many plants, the cheaper plastic will bulge and break.

orchid plastic pots
Image Credits: gemma-evans-h_-vpnlm_he-unspla(1)

C) Wrought Iron and Wood for a More Industrial Look

When you think you don’t have enough space to add any more orchid shelves, look up. Seriously, the ceiling is often a place that is overlooked when coming to storage.

If you have a more industrial/retro type style, try this in the ceiling mounted orchid rack. It is sturdy, and with not three but four shelves, you’ll have more than enough space to display your orchids. This option from WGX Design For You is a great way to go, if this is your style.

Lighting will have to be installed in each shelf, but can be done with some thought and care. Also, you can have larger plants, if you decide to take off part of a shelf. The unit comes with the rods only, so you’ll have to acquire the wood shelves somewhere else.

As for assembly, well… yeah, thumbs down. This is not the easiest piece of shelving that has been offered to the public, but it sure does look fantastic if you get it right. There is an option to pay for assembly, and since I’m not the DIY carpenter type, I’d strongly suggest it. Very strongly suggest it.
Orchid Shelf
The cons:

Assembly and having to purchase the wood planks in at another place. The instructions are garbage. You’ll have to read through the customer reviews to actually understand how to assemble the product.

D) Wire Shelving Rack for Plants, Especially Orchids

If you have the space, these wire shelving units are the best for your money. I have them (but in the white option) and am loving them.

Assembly was not so good, but again, I’m not a builder. I assembled the whole thing upside down the first time and the shelves kept falling apart. When I was about to give up for the third time, my son suggested mounting the shelves backwards. It worked.

Once assembled the right way, it was really quick—I could have had this orchid shelving unit up if I had done it thr right way to start with in ten minutes.

It is very sturdy, and I have mine on carpet. Since it’s wide enough, it doesn’t topple over or wiggle.

I specially love this shelving unit for the wide shelves. Usually shelves come very straight and narrow—not this one. You can sit 24 5-inch pots on each shelf.

Cons: Return immediately if your shelves are warped or misaligned. Some of the shelving units come in poor quality and no matter how much you try to assemble them, the just won’t work.

This did not happen to me, and that is why I still recommend it. But I was shocked to read the negative reviews (which aren’t that many) and slightly saddened because of this. Which is why I’m hesitant to add it to this review. I can only review what I have and know, and in my experience, this shelf was excellent. Kind of between a rock and hard place here.
In all of the reviews above, you’ll have to order separately a grow light, so add a hundred dollars to your budget.

If you want some technical ideas on indoor grow lights, you can first read this informational article on artificial lights.

I have a MARS HYDRO TS 600W LED Grow Light above my orchid rack and it does amazingly well.
Orchid Grow Light for Plant Shelf

E) The best plant shelf for orchids, if you have the budget for it

If you have grown a few orchids and have fallen in love, then this orchid plant shelf by far is the best. You get what you pay for—simple as that. That has been true for everything in my life, and if you did read through the reviews above, you’ll see that there are negatives to all of them. Yes, there are positive sides, too, but let’s be honest, it’s hard to get quality material for a cheap price.

This is expensive. The elevated cost of this last option is due to the quality of the shelving but also that it come with grow lights included. If you don’t want the hassle of the suggestions above, then go with this option.

The space, 51" long by 14-5/8" deep by 68-5/8" high, is more than sufficient for trays and orchid pots, including the heavier orchids, too. It is made in the USA, and customer service is excellent.

The lights are adjustable, so you can narrow then closer to your plants, or raise them for lower-light orchids. In all, with this shelving, you won’t need an additional feature.
The cons: this option doesn’t come with LED lights. There is a plant shelf with LED option here, but it’s about two hundred dollars more than the option I listed.

More Ideas

For more ideas and visual aids, go to my Pinterest Board on Indoor Orchid Rooms. There are numerous orchid plant shelves and ideas of either how to build one or creative ideas to give you inspiration. Browse through the photos and adapt those ideas into your own space.

Happy Cultivating!
Signature Amanda Matthews
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ABOUT ME 
Amanda June Matthews at Orchideria
Hi, there! I'm Amanda Matthews.

I write all the tutorials on Orchideria so unfortunately, I can't blame anyone else for all the spelling mistakes.   :)

By profession, I'm a theologian, author, and seminary professor, yet I  spend my free time enjoying nature hikes, building terrariums, and cultivating orchids. I also love to mountain bike on trails, dance, and play with my dog, Max.

When I'm not working on the next chapter of my book or online course, I'm exploring a new campsite to venture out into nature. Pitching a tent for the weekend with my two children while I fire up a barbecue is the best way to live.

Click here to go to my Author Page to check out my heart-wrenching memoir.

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