Growing orchids is not a difficult task, if you know the proper methods. Here are a few tips on how to grow orchids.
Orchids have been considered as symbols of beauty, love and luxury. In the Middle Ages, they were used as medication for various illnesses. It is believed that, orchids have aphrodisiac properties; and hence, they have been used in love potions.
In the past, these beautiful flowers could only be seen in their natural habitats. However, these days orchid growing has become very popular. The problem with growing orchids in colder regions is that, most of these plants belong to tropical climates.
Hence, when they are grown in colder regions, it is difficult for them to attain their optimum growth. So they may fail to bloom. If you want to grow orchids and enjoy their beautiful blooms, here are a few tips that you can use.
The Right Orchid
First, you have to choose the right type of orchids. Though most varieties prefer the warm, humid climate of the tropics; there are a few that are quite adaptable, like the Phalaenopsis, which has its origins in Asia and Australia; grows very well in most parts of the United States.
Requirement of light may vary with different types of orchids. For example, the Dendobrium requires a lot of light, whereas thePhalaenopsis thrives quite well in artificial light.
The Cattleya does well in medium light; so you can place it on a window, where it gets about four hours of sunlight a day. Hence, one of the most important aspects of growing orchids is the right location, where the plants get the optimum amount of light they need.
When you visit a horticulturist, you may come across some orchid species that are kept at a height, while others are grown on the ground. So, it is very important to have a basic understanding of planting different orchid species.
For example, Epiphytes are orchids that love air, as they derive a major part of their nutrients from the air. Terrestrial orchid plants get all the nutrients they need from the soil.
Adequate Air and Humidity
All orchids require air. So ensure that the place where you keep them, is ventilated properly. The location should not be drafty, as that will ruin the blooms.
If the air has low humidity (less than 40%), you have to mist the orchid plant occasionally, or increase the humidity by using a humidity tray. It is a plastic or metal tray with some water, layered with pebbles. The plant should be kept on the pebbles, but no part or the roots should be in contact with the water in the tray.
Unlike most of the other plants, orchids require a potting medium that is porous enough to allow air contact with the roots. Coconut husk is commonly used as a medium for growing orchids.
Others include fir bark, gravel, lava rock, tree fern fiber, bark chips, sphagnum moss, charcoal, perlite, and Styrofoam pellets. You must use the right type of potting medium for the orchid you choose.
While all plants need watering, orchids have special requirements, varying from one species to another. Most people have no idea, how much water their plant needs and they water their orchids too much, leaving water in pots.
This may lead to root rot. Others underwater their orchids which kills the plants. Ensure that the pot you use has a good drainage. While you need to water your plant thoroughly, you also need to ensure that there is no stagnant water in the pot. Water the plant, when the soil dries out completely. Orchids growing in bark need to be watered, once a week.
Orchids that grow in bark and peat mixes thrive best with a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer or, even better with a 30-10-10 special orchid fertilizer.
For best results, use a urea free water soluble fertilizer. Add it to the water meant for orchids, according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. You may consult a horticulturist for more information about using fertilizers for growing orchids.
Though they are tropical plants, orchids like the night temperature to be cool. When grown in greenhouses, they are kept at a temperature ranging between 60 to 65°F at night. This keeps the soil moist. During daytime, orchids require a temperature of 70 to 80°F. A slightly higher temperature may also do, if the humidity level and air circulation are ideal.
Regular pruning is required to remove the dead and diseased parts of plants. It can be done periodically the whole year or once a year, usually in the fall or early winter. Pruning can be done, when blooms are dead and stalks turn brown or yellow.
Use a pair of sharp shears, and cut the stalk just above the node that is located within an inch from the point of the origin of the stalk. This may encourage growth of new blooms.
Growing orchids can be one of the most interesting and challenging tasks. It is better to gain a basic understanding about the proper method of growing the orchid you choose. Remember that the requirements of orchids vary with different species.