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There are a great many orchids in nature and they differ not only in appearance, but also in places and living conditions. There are two groups of orchids:
- epiphytes growing on tree trunks, stumps, fallen branches, lithophytic orchids growing on rocky terrain can also be attributed here
- terrestrial orchids growing on the surface of the forest floor
Epiphytes include Vanda Vanda, Haraella Haraella, Ascocenda Ascocenda, and others. The nutrient medium for them is a decomposing organic matter that is deposited and settles on these surfaces - humus. They catch moisture directly from the air with juicy fleshy roots, during rains and fogs.
The structure of these roots is different from underground roots, their surface is covered with a layer of dead spongy cells - this is velamen velamen. Its function is precisely to absorb moisture. Dry "sponge" gives the roots a white color, and when filled with moisture, they darken. The root tips of orchids are always light green, shiny - they do not have velamen, as if they do not yet know what environment the root system will be in, if the root falls into the ground, velamen will never form.
Terrestrial orchids are somewhat different - the same humus is the nutrient medium for them, only the roots are immersed in a thicker layer of forest litter: rotting leaf litter, pieces of bark and moss. It is a natural substrate, from which the roots absorb moisture and receive nutrients. These include Paphiopedilum Paphiopedilum, Cymbidium Cymbidium, Ludisia Ludisia, etc.
Soil for orchids
Based on the structure of the roots and the natural habitat of orchids, they select the appropriate substrate.
Qualitative characteristics of soil for orchids: breathable and permeable, with a slightly acidic reaction, and with a low concentration of nutrients. The main components are chopped pine bark (pieces from 2 to 4 cm), coconut fiber, coconut chips, sphagnum moss (not for all), fern roots (cut into pieces of 1-2 cm), and for some orchids, you can use leaf soil (leaf humus for terrestrial orchids). All components must be prepared in advance: the bark and roots of the fern must be literally boiled in water for 10-20 minutes, then pour out the water and dry for several hours (you can dry the bark in the oven). You can simply scald the moss with boiling water (pour in and immediately drain the water).
If you make up the soil mixture yourself, then you need to take into account the type and type of orchid. For terrestrial orchids, you can take 1 part of finely chopped fern roots, 1 part of bark, 1 part of loose light leafy soil. Before transplanting, the purchased soil mixture should be checked for water absorbency - it should pass right away, without lingering on the surface.
The orchid is planted in pine bark without additives. The bark can be bought at the store or prepared by yourself. Well-dried bark breaks easily and crumbles.
It's time to replant this orchid, the roots are falling out of the pot. A transparent pot is good, but its disadvantage is the absence of holes in the walls.
The orchid is attached to a block of a large piece of pine bark with wire, the roots are covered with moss.
The roots of this orchid are in a block in the form of a wooden hemp, replanted when the block falls apart into dust.
For epiphytic orchids, soil in the substrate is not needed, they are planted in a mixture of bark, chopped fern rhizomes and any inert substrate. Inert means one that does not decompose, does not rot and does not provide nutrients. These are coconut fiber, wine cork (wine bottles), foam. The pieces should be large 3-4 cm, so that when planting there are many voids, air pockets between the roots.
When planting any orchids, the root collar, the bottom of the stem, and its base should not sink into the substrate and touch wet components. That is, under the "bottom" of the orchid, you need to put a "nest" of coconut fiber (roll up into a lump) or a piece of foam.
Almost all orchids do not like transplanting and tolerate it somewhat painfully, because the roots are inevitably injured, sometimes they grow to the walls of the pot.
The roots of epiphytic orchids not only absorb water, nutrients, but also participate in photosynthesis, therefore, either pots with holes are needed so that some of the roots can freely crawl out or transparent pots. In addition to pots for planting orchids, they use plastic baskets, baskets made of bamboo sticks (they are smooth, and orchid roots do not stick to them).
Epiphytic orchids are transplanted after 5-6 years, terrestrial ones - after 2-3 years. But that's in theory. In fact, orchids are transplanted when the roots come out of the drainage holes, sprout far beyond the pot, when the bark turns to dust, if mold or salt deposits have formed on the surface of the bark.
Special pots for orchids have openings on the sides for air intake.
Many orchids are not grown in pots, but on bark blocks.
Plastic block for growing orchids with mount.
Inside the block, the author put a bark wrapped in coconut fiber.
In general, both the root system of orchids and the aerial part grow rather slowly, and in the first year after transplantation they only have time to take root. Planting in too large, spacious containers or frequent transplanting only inhibits plant growth. After transplanting, orchids may not bloom in the first year, or bloom with small, less beautiful flowers. The orchids will only bloom after good rooting. If the water in your area is not the softest, even if you boil it, then it is better to replant the plants annually, as salt deposits occur in the soil, and this is harmful to the health of orchids.
Orchids are routinely transplanted when they are just starting to grow. Drainage for terrestrial orchids transplanted into an earthen substrate is mandatory. Moreover, drainage should not be purely symbolic - a couple of pebbles, not less than 3-4 cm.
- Orchid growing conditions
- Reproduction of orchids
- Orchid pests and other growing problems