How to take care of orchids? Customers prefer orchid flowers for their distinct beauty and variety of forms. Nearly every color in the rainbow and its color combinations are present. The largest orchid has a diameter of about one meter, while the smallest orchid flower is only the size of a grain of rice. Here are some care guidelines and information on orchid culture; you can read more about some orchid genus, species, varieties, and hybrids in the post’s lower sections.
How much lighting is required for orchids?
For photosynthesis to occur, all plants require light. The orchids that are being grown need to be exposed to lots of light, but never direct sunlight.
With a sunny window, it will be necessary to provide a tent that blocks the sun’s rays. Pathogenic fungi may also be able to grow on the burnt leaves of a plant with herbaceous, thin, or very watery leaves.
In general, an orchid with thick, coriaceous leaves is a plant that thrives in areas with high light levels; it must be grown high near windows in the winter and slightly shaded in the summer.
A window facing north will be ideal if the leaves are dark green because this indicates that the plant is one that naturally grows in shaded areas.
The number of daylight hours is also crucial. If we don’t have enough natural light, we will need to set up a system to extend the hours of light, but we won’t need to leave the lights on all the time because even in nature, there is a cycle of day and night.
What temperature should be used to grow orchids? – Temperature Requirements of Orchids
According to their requirements for different temperatures, orchids are divided into three major categories: cold, temperate, and warm orchids.
The plants that are indigenous to low altitudes (between sea level and 800 meters), where the climate is warm and humid, must be grown during the winter in a heated environment. The room cultivation must also ensure a high humidity with winter night temperatures of roughly 17–18 °C.
If you give the species from 800 to 1500 meters a temperature difference between day and night of at least 4-5 °C, they will benefit from intermediate temperatures and adapt very well to room cultivation. The recommended winter night temperature for these species is roughly 14–16 ° C. Too stable of a daytime and nighttime temperature prevents them from having adequate flower induction and causes the vegetation to continue all year long without an adequate rest period.
Cooler temperatures are necessary for species that live in cold climates and in high altitudes. A room that has been moderately heated will enable us to maintain the ideal temperature range of 10–14 °C. For effective flower induction, temperature differences between night and day are crucial.
Why do orchids require a drop in temperature at night?
Using the available light, carbon dioxide, water, and nutrients, your orchids are hard at work converting light energy into chemical energy during the day through photosynthesis. Your orchids use their stored energy during a process known as respiration at night. Because respiration is temperature-dependent, the plant has more energy to produce flowers when nights are cooler.
For many orchid species to flower, there must be a big difference in temperature between day and night. For instance, Phalaenopsis needs a 15 ° C drop in nighttime temperature for two or three weeks in order to start producing flower spikes. Dendrobiums and Cymbidiums may need even greater temperature differences
The relationship between orchid ventilation and humidity
Humidity and air flow must be balanced. Excessive air movement will increase evaporation in a low-humidity environment and could possibly cause the orchid to become dehydrated. Air movement is essential in a high-humidity environment to avoid orchid disease issues.
For orchids grown in pots, the ideal humidity is about 60%, while orchids grown on a raft will benefit from a humidity of about 70%. Remember that humidity and temperature are inversely correlated; the higher the temperature, the more water vapor can be held in the atmosphere.
Even though plants prefer a damp environment, they don’t necessarily need to live in one. When the weather permits, open the windows of your culture room and always have a fan to ensure good air circulation. Even though plants prefer a damp environment, the air must not be stagnant as this can lead to rotting and disease.
How can an orchid be grown in a pot?
Although this is an artificial environment, many orchids, both terrestrial and epiphytic, are adapted to be grown in pots. With a few simple safety measures, container gardening can produce excellent results.
Which kind of pot is best to use?
The terracotta pots are aged, aesthetically pleasing, and substantial enough to support even very heavy plants. Since they are made of porous materials, water can evaporate quickly through them. On the other hand, terracotta vases have some serious drawbacks as well. Rapid transpiration lowers the compound’s temperature, which, while beneficial for some species that prefer the freshness around the roots, is harmful to most orchids.
The porous material of which it is made absorbs the mineral salts from fertilization as well as the limescale from the water, which results in an excessive rise in salinity and root burning as a result. It is challenging to clean used vessels sufficiently. The roots of the epiphytic orchids firmly attach themselves to the walls of the terracotta vases, making it nearly impossible to flare them during repottings without breaking the roots or even breaking the vase, which would harm the plant.
Therefore, we unquestionably favor plastic jars. The roots of epiphytic orchids do not adhere to the vase walls, making repotting operations much easier. In addition, the plastic material prevents an excessively rapid drying of the compound and subsequent cooling of the same. These are inexpensive, light, not overly fragile, and can be reused several times after a simple cleaning. If you employ pot holders or saucers,
Put gravel or clay marbles on the bottom of the pot to lift it off any remaining water and to simultaneously create a small amount of moisture. Make sure that no water is in contact with the pot at any time.
What type of soil is ideal for growing orchids in containers?
Only a few terrestrial orchids can be grown in soil; all epiphytic orchids require substrates that hold moisture while allowing for plenty of air around the roots.
Currently, all orchid substrates are based on pine bark with varying amounts of other materials added. Pine bark has the ability to retain moisture without becoming overly compacted, to last for a sufficient amount of time without decomposing, and to allow air to circulate at the root level.
The type of roots our plants have and the size of the pots we are using will determine the size of the bark to be used for repotting. For small pots, we must use the smallest size possible, which we will also use for plants with thin roots, whereas for larger pots and for plants with larger roots, we will use a larger size.
We avoid using bark as mulch because it typically comes from fir trees with high resin content, is occasionally gathered in areas near the sea, and is typically too coarse in size. We also take special care if we want to gather the same bark in the woods, this needs to be clean, not have started to decompose, not have too much resin, and not have any snails or insects hiding inside. Even substrates that are already available for purchase in gardens typically contain a lot of peat and other materials that can retain water for an extended period of time with the possibility of root rot.
Other materials that, depending on their properties, can either retain more water or aerate our compounds can be added at the bark. Pine bark, coconut fiber (a material that does not decompose easily and is widely used in Asia for cultivation), charcoal (pick a product that is not impregnated with combustion accelerators as these are toxic for orchids), polystyrene (pick a product that is not colored), perlite (an industrial product used for insulation that retains about 40% of water, is neutral, and aerates the compounds), volcanic lava, and ground rock are among the materials that retain less water) (some growers use it to cultivate Paphiopedilum and Phragmipedium).
Materials that retain water include fibrous peat (avoid too fine peat and peat that has been fertilized), superphosphate, and clay (is a white moss that grows in swampy areas, and is a vegetable from which the various types of peat derive).
Read related article: Dendrobium lasianthera orchid or D. ostrinoglossum Care and Price
How are orchids grown as epiphytes?
Epiphytic orchids must be grown under conditions that are as close to those found in nature as is practical. Numerous orchids can be grown indoors, and with the least amount of care, they will produce stunning blooms.
The best way is to mount them on branches or pieces of bark, but this necessitates a culture environment suitable for their requirements; humidity and brightness must be controlled and the possibility of regularly misting them must be ensured. Many gardeners who don’t have a special room for plants can grow these plants in the kitchen or bathroom, two places where humidity is typically higher than in the rest of the house.
Another method is to grow epiphytes in pots, but in this case, it is crucial that the substrate be very well aerated because too compact a substance can kill plants by causing root asphyxia.
The cultivation of plants on supports is undoubtedly the most fascinating because it mimics how plants grow in their natural habitat. Roaming roots, flowering stems that take on their own shapes without the aid of supports, and mosses and lichens that share the support with orchids all work together to recreate these plants’ original habitat.
Small plants, creeping or sagging plants, plants that need to dry quickly between wettings, and plants that fear stagnant humidity around the roots are all benefits of this type of cultivation. The roots are visible and manageable, the plants assume the proper position and the risk of stagnant water in the plant’s center is avoided. It is also no longer necessary to repot plants on a regular basis, and mounted plants can stay on the same support.
This is not a magic fix, though; plants still need to be watched, and wetting and humidity levels need to be increased more frequently during hot weather. Hardwood is required for the support, which must last several years in an extremely humid environment.
Avoid using wood from very resinous conifers, wood that has been left on the ground for a long time in the woods and is already starting to decompose, or wood that has been gathered from the seashore because the salinity will undoubtedly be very high; Use only dried wood or branches; the bark must remain firmly attached to the wood for a few months after use. Acacia, oak, vines, other fruit trees, and naturally occurring cork bark are the woods best suited for this use; avoid wood with overly smooth bark. the minor roughness gives the roots a strong surface to adhere to and gives the moisture room to enter and stay longer; The arboreal fern supports, which are popular in tropical regions, are unfavorable to us because, in addition to their high cost and difficulty in locating them, they dry out very slowly after being saturated with water and occasionally can harm the roots. In contrast, epiphytic orchids naturally receive regular fertilization because, when they are watered frequently, the nutritive salts are flushed out without the risk of stagnation.
When should an orchid be replanted and why?
The orchid plant needs to be repotted because the plants have grown and emerged from the pot, the culture substrate is old, the bark pieces have decomposed, the water is retained and it no longer drains easily, and there are accumulated fertilizers and mineral salts that produce the acid and salty compound, and the orchid plant needs to be repotted for all of these reasons.
Repotting is typically done in the spring when the new growth starts, whenever the roots are unhealthy (rotten), or after flowering. Repot every two to three years, even if the plant doesn’t require it, as long as you only change the old substrate and don’t enlarge the pot. This will keep the plants healthy.
How is an orchid watered?
It is impossible to say how frequently a plant needs to be watered because a variety of factors affect how often to water; however, in general, it is advised to wet the mixture well only when it is dry. Terrestrial orchids and epiphytes require different amounts and frequencies of watering because the latter do not have the same water reserves as orchids grown in pots, which require much more frequent watering.
Always let our suppliers know what the plants we buy need, as some of them prefer to have their roots in water. Weighing the pot is a good way to tell when it’s time to water an orchid. If the vase is heavy, there is no need to add more water because it is already present in the substrate. If the vase is light, all the water has evaporated and it is time to water. If we are unsure of the vase’s weight, it is best to wait another day rather than add too much water.
Is water quality a factor in the growth of orchids?
The caliber of the water is crucial. The subsoil’s subsurface rainwater is enriched with calcium carbonate (CaCo3). Ca is a mineral that is necessary for both plant and animal life. The presence of calcium in orchid cell walls encourages the stems’ stiffness and interferes with the ripening of the fruits and seeds. While limestone-rich water is referred to as sweet, it is also described as hard. The cultivation of orchids is harmed by water that is either too hard or too sweet.
In addition to preventing transpiration and water absorption from the leaves, too much limestone (CaCo3) also damages the velamen of the roots and leaves an unsightly whitish deposit on plants’ leaves. The ends of the leaves turn yellow when the water is too sweet, and the edges of the leaves develop black spots.
Always add a small amount of fertilizer when using water that has undergone reverse osmosis or is obtained from the rain. If you use a domestic water softener that does not add sodium to the water, you should exercise extreme caution because it is very dangerous.
The pH of the water is another crucial factor. A pH value of 7 indicates neutral water, anything above it indicates calcareous water, and anything below it indicates acidic water. Naturally, the closer we get to the extremes of the scale, the more alkalinity or acidity increases. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 and measures the acidity or alkalinity of the water.
Around pH 6 or pH 6.5 is the ideal range for orchid growth. If rainwater is collected, the first rain after a protracted period of drought must be avoided as it will undoubtedly be polluting and highly acidic. Additionally, store it in a dark container to prevent the growth of algae and other undesirable organisms.
How is an orchid fertilized?
Because they are relatively inert, growing orchids generally do not provide a lot of nutrients; therefore, the plants will undoubtedly benefit from regular fertilization. Making the necessary mineral elements is therefore necessary for their growth and flowering. Nitrogen is necessary for the roots and leaves of new vegetation to grow. For flowering, phosphorus Potassium is necessary for plant tissues and disease defense.
Our fertilizers must also contain the proper amount of trace elements. Because they are typically made of pure, highly soluble raw materials that do not crystallize again when the mixture returns to dry, look for specific fertilizers for orchids. Respect the recommended doses and avoid fertilizing with too dry of a compound; consider wetting the soil first.
For orchids grown in pots, fertilizer will be applied through irrigation, while for epiphytes, water for vaporization will be added. During their period of rest, plants won’t receive fertilization.
In the spring and summer, when growth is at its fastest, we must use fertilizers with a higher percentage of nitrogen; in the fall and winter, when growth is slower, we must use fertilizers with the various elements in equal amounts. There are also fertilizers for the flowering season when the percentages of phosphorus and potassium are higher; it is also beneficial to apply them every 6 to 8 weeks.
Do orchids require a period of rest?
Growth, flowering, fructification, and resting phases are all part of a plant’s life cycle, which is frequently correlated with seasonal cycles. The plants’ vital functions slow down during the period of rest, reducing their need for water, nutrients, and occasionally even heat, but they still require lightness. The rest period frequently favors flower induction.
Some orchid species, like the Phalaenopsis, require very marked and prolonged rest periods, and some orchid species completely lose their leaves during the rest period. Other orchid species, like some varieties of Dendrobium, do not require any rest and continue to grow throughout the year. In any case, it is important to maintain a good environmental humidity with good brightness and prevent the pseudobulbs from drying out, which may necessitate light wetting or spraying.
After the rest period is over, we don’t have to start the wetting process again until the new vegetation appears. This is also the time for any repotting before the plants produce their new, very delicate roots, which could be harmed by late repotting.