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Orchid care may seem intimidating at first but in fact it is not as hard as a lot of people thought it would. In many cases, it is just different but it is not as tedious as it sounds. Although orchids tend to have that reputation when it comes to growth complexity, there are actually a lot of orchid varieties that people can choose from. Some of these make ideal house plants.
Through proper care procedures, it is possible for orchids to bloom for many months every year. Further, they can also last for a very long time unlike other flower plants. Their lifespan and blooming capabilities make them valuable plants to take care of. In some cases, orchids that are very well taken care of can in fact bloom many days in just one year. There are also instances wherein they can continue blooming without skipping.
Good orchid care necessitates fundamental knowledge on how it should be done. This also includes familiarity with different factors affecting the growth of such. Understanding basic principles behind the growth of orchids can help a lot. Some fundamentals crucial to orchid care include familiarity with orchid family, orchid needs, orchid mix, pots and watering.
Orchid Family and Corresponding Needs
There are more than 800 different types of orchids and around 22,000 species. These alone prove the vast selection that people have when it comes to finding the right orchid plant to take care of. The numbers are still growing and every year more
and more varieties are added to that selection. Further the number of orchids makes then the most diverse of all flowering plants.
Generally, orchids are considered to be tropical plants. They are also referred to as epiphytes or in simpler terms as air plants. They depend on other structures or trees for support. Other types of orchids, on the other hand, are lithophytes or rock plants. As the name implies, they grow mostly on rocks. Aside from these, the remaining species are said to be terrestrials that thrive on loamy surfaces of the jungle floor.
With so many diverse types of orchids, it might be hard to pinpoint fundamental caring techniques. However, it is also important that orchids nurtured and cultured for breeding, production and distribution are related or similar with each other. The ones found in nurseries and other plant distributors may well easily have the same characteristics and needs. Taking note of their general characteristics or fundamental needs can help in their proper growth.
Choosing the Best Orchid Mix
The first thing to know about growing orchids is that dirt is harmful to them instead of helpful. Dirt has the capacity to smother or damage the roots eventually killing the orchid plant. Usually, orchids require a different and unique kind of media for them to grow properly. The best type of media to use depends on the variety of the orchid. Other than dirt, it may be useful to ask the distributor which type of soil is used to grow the plant.
In some cases, orchids just need little amount of soil before their roots attaches to a structure and form a completely different entity all on its own. Orchid media can be a combination of two soils such as clay or silt. In some cases, it can just be one of them. The most important thing to do is to select a soil type that can hold enough moisture to nourish the plant.
In essence, orchids grow in the wild and they are not really accustomed to the use of pots. However, persistent culturing has rendered them quite friendly to the use of pots. The most important thing to ensure when putting orchid plants in pots is that they have enough room to breathe. Compacting the plant in a pot with little space or room for the roots to roam can be detrimental for the orchid.
Just like what was mentioned regarding the soil, pots should not smother or damage the roots. The roots of an orchid preserve its life and it is very sensitive. Damage to such can simply lead to the death of the orchid. It is actually better to place an orchid in a small pot and let the roots come out instead of placing it in a big pot and then the roots would eventually crowd inside. Remember, the idea is for the roots to get as much room or freedom.
It is ideal for orchids to get watered during the day and let it dry during the night. The amount of water to put in depends on the climate. Certainly, if it is extremely hot then it is best to pour more water while colder temperatures do not require as much. Ideally, orchids should just be watered once a week during winter and twice to thrice a week during warmer or drier days. Additionally, 6-inch pots ideally require water every 7 days while smaller pots, shorter days.
The potting medium also affects the kind of watering technique. For instance, if water goes out of the potting medium more easily then the plant needs water more frequently. The basic idea is to provide the plant moisture and to maintain that to support its growth. These are just some helpful tips to ensure the plant survives.