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Orchid culture is special - starting from the pot and the substrate, ending with daily temperature drops and regulation of the duration of illumination throughout the year.
Orchid family. These decorative flowering plants are allocated to a special group. It is the largest and oldest family of flowering plants. It numbers more than 40 thousand species, and all new species continue to be found.
Orchids are perennial herbaceous plants, various types grow in all climatic zones, but most in countries with tropical and temperate climates. Most of all found and described various types of orchids in the countries of South and Central America, as well as Asia.
The habitat of orchids is very different. Many species grow in tropical forests at an altitude of 1000-2500m above sea level, where fog and dew are characteristic. Some grow in plains, forests and valleys in open areas. Many types of orchids grow in rocky areas or in savannas, where dry periods are long.
The habitat of orchids has left a certain imprint on their appearance and growth form. The vast majority of orchid species are epiphytes or semi-epiphytes. They grow on trees, trunks and branches, on stumps and snags, in crevices of rocky surfaces. Their roots are almost completely open and perform many functions: they hold the plant on a suitable surface, clinging to the bark and stones, grow "tentacles" (grow in all directions) to capture leaf litter for nutritional purposes, trap moisture from the air and raindrops, participate in the processes of photosynthesis.
Another form of orchid life is terrestrial. This group of orchids that have underground rhizomes or tubers growing in a substrate more reminiscent of ordinary soil. But nevertheless, it differs from the land on which potatoes or, for example, palm trees grow, in the presence of large fractions - bark, roots, stone chips, in a word, components that make it extremely friable, breathable and moisture-permeable, and some terrestrial orchids grow at all not in the ground, but on the surface of the earth on mossy roots of trees and roots, among the leaf litter, which consists of fallen leaves, branches, overgrown moss, broken pieces of bark and stones. In this case, the roots are in the upper layer of the earth, and part of the rhizome runs horizontally over the surface, therefore, in principle (in structure), the root system of terrestrial orchids does not differ from epiphytic ones.And often terrestrial orchids can be grown as epiphytes.
Sympodial orchid Miltonia Miltonia
Monopodial orchid Vanda Vanda
Orchids are classified according to the type of shoot growth.
These are sympodial and monopodial orchids. To understand their difference, it must be said that the orchid has an apical growth point - the place from which new leaves develop and the shoot continues. So, monopodial orchids, as the most vivid example - phalaenopsis, have an apical growth point throughout their life, if it is not damaged by anything, the orchid grows in one direction, while it has a stem of different lengths and densities - in phalaenopsis there is actually a rosette, very densely planted leaves, the shoot is short, while in vanilla, on the contrary, the leaves are rare, and it is a liana.
Sympodial orchids have a peculiarity - the growth point has a certain lifespan, so it is genetically laid, having reached a certain size, a peduncle forms at the end of the shoot, or, if the conditions are not good enough for flowering, it simply dies off, so the shoot does not grow more than a certain length. But at the base of each shoot is a new growth point. There is a main shoot and shoots of the second and third orders, and the plant has several development cycles, during which the stem and leaves grow. But unlike, say, an orange, whose growth is horizontal and it appears to be a tree, in sympodial orchids, the new growth of stems is first horizontal, then the stems rise up. The horizontal part of the shoot is called the rhizome, and in different types of orchids it can be more or less long.In some, it is so short that it is almost invisible, such as in miltonia, it seems that the leaves grow from one place.
In addition, in sympodial orchids, the stems are modified - they have thickenings that resemble bulbs or swellings, rounded or flat, serving to accumulate water and nutrients and are called pseudobulbs, tuberidia, or simply bulbs. Inflorescences on sympodial orchids can be apical or lateral. The most common representatives of sympodial orchids: Dendrobium Dendrobium, Oncidium Oncidium, Cattleya Cattleya, Lelia Laelia, Bulbophyllum Bulbophyllum, Coelogyne Coelogyne, etc.
Orchids at home
In the dark, in the absence of a cool room, orchids may require additional lighting.
Orchids are one of the most beautiful plants on the planet, and are very desirable for any person who is not indifferent to fresh flowers.
But not all orchids can survive in normal indoor conditions. If everything were that simple, blooming orchids would already fill the windowsills of every house. But no, we buy them and buy them, because few survive, and orchids are reluctant to breed.
For growing at home, you need to choose the most unpretentious species - less disappointment, more chances of success.
Some people, after unsuccessful attempts, believe that orchids are simply not made for growing at home - it is too difficult to create an optimal microclimate. And no matter what they say about some new varieties, supposedly adapted to living quarters, all this is sheer PR.
Orchids were and remain demanding plants. For some they grow better, for others it is worse - growing orchids at home is like learning to swim. You know, there are children who go into the water, two strokes, you look - they are already swimming! Another child can be taught for a very long time, and he never learns, or only walks in shallow water like a dog …
You have probably seen somewhere on the landing a stunted bush growing in a cement mass, proudly called the ground, elongated, sprinkled with a shield, but blooming. It can be hibiscus, abutilon, grandma's hippeastrum, but not an orchid. Taking care of these plants at home takes some patience. Orchids need a special substrate: super loose; constant movement of moist air, but not a draft; daily temperature difference of 5-10 degrees; periodic abundant watering and quick good drying of the soil after it.
We have combined all the care tips into a series of articles on how to care for orchids:
Most orchids come from seasonal climates where the rainy and wet seasons change two or more times a year. Therefore, different types of orchids have a pronounced or almost imperceptible dormant period, during which flower buds are laid.
Heat-loving orchids need a slight decrease in temperature, up to 15-16 ° С, moderately thermophilic - slightly lower than 13-15 ° С, cold-loving ones - up to 10 ° С. But it depends on the specific needs, for example …
Orchids - you need to know: glossary of terms, classification of orchids, short abbreviations of the names of species and hybrids, dictionary of terms)
Rhizome or Rhizome - rhizome - underground, more or less durable shoot of perennial herbaceous plants, as well as shrubs, serving for the deposition of reserve substances, vegetative renewal and reproduction. It differs from the root by the presence of scaly leaves, scars from fallen leaves (sometimes their dry remains), buds and adventitious roots, and the absence of a root cap.
Epiphytes are plants that have no connection with the soil: they are fixed on the trunks and branches of trees or other plants. They use moisture and minerals from precipitation. As a rule, they have an open root system, sometimes they do not have roots.
Transplant and soil for orchids
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) …
The main components are chopped pine bark (0.5-1 cm pieces), coconut fiber, coconut chips, sphagnum moss, fern roots (cut into 0.5-1 cm pieces), also for some orchids, you can use leafy soil (leaf humus).
Reproduction of orchids
If you try to grow orchids from seeds at home as well as in natural ones - just sow, then the chances of survival are small. But biologists have found that if orchid seeds are sown in a sterile environment, where there is no hint of mushroom rhizoctony, but nutrients are provided, then many orchid species germinate in huge quantities. And although an orchid seedling grows long enough, fully develops in about 180-200 days, and only at the age of 300 days (usually longer than 400-500 days, depending on the species) is it ready for transplantation into a substrate, this discovery made it possible to deploy large-scale cultivation of orchids in test tube.
By the way, by the name of Professor Lewis Knudson, the solution was named "Knudson's nutrient medium".
Orchid pests and other growing problems
Orchids are more likely to be harmed by ticks and thrips. The mite is the most dangerous pest, because there are species so microscopic that even a cobweb can only be seen under a microscope. Outwardly, the mite appears on the leaves like this: small dotted silvery specks or strokes, similar to thin lines. If it is very hot, then in three days the leaf takes on a silvery hue. On the back of the leaf are tiny white grains that look like dandruff or dust. The cobweb is usually only visible in the advanced stage.
The bad news is that ticks prefer to devour the tops of the shoots, the growth points of orchids, hide in the axils of leaves, pieces of the substrate and quickly develop resistance to chemical means of struggle …
Orchids, unlike other plants, do not live on ordinary land (except for some terrestrial ones), but in a non-nutritive substrate, which is needed only in order to fix the orchid. In nature, they receive nutrients from rainwater, which flows down the tree trunks and carries dissolved salts of essential minerals. At home, orchids are usually fertilized by immersion in a nutrient solution for 10-15 minutes …
Fertilizer for orchids overview
Orchids, as you know, differ in that they need fertilizing with fertilizers almost throughout the year. With the beginning of spring, nitrogen fertilizers are used for successful growth. In the phase of formation of bulbs (from about the middle of summer), fertilizing with phosphorus fertilizer is used to form peduncles. After the formation of the bulbs, potash fertilizers are used for their ripening and during the development of peduncles …
Orchid transplant - lesson one
Not so long ago, I acquired Phalaenopsis, which surprised me with its unwillingness to live in a transparent pot. The fact is that the roots of this plant are more sensitive to overflow than the roots of the phalaenopsis that I acquired earlier. The plant began to lose roots due to rot.
There was only one way out - to put them in the basket. This planting method is a cross between planting in a plastic pot and on a block. In room conditions, my phalaenopsis was too humid in the pot, the substrate dried out slowly and the roots were wet for a long time, the result is rot.
Orchid transplant - lesson two
This guide is suitable for hygrophilous orchids (such as pafiopediums, fragmapediums, folidots, etc.)
Plastic is very good for orchids, as these pots do not absorb salts from the water, they are often transparent, which helps to monitor the condition of the roots, but … ugly. And so I want to decorate my own home not only with an exotic beauty, but also with what she grows in.
It's no secret that very often you can find orchids at a flower shop at a markdown. This means (not always, but often) that the plant has spent more than a month in the flower shop in the most difficult conditions of overflow, hypothermia and lack of sunlight. The result is an almost complete absence of roots.
A rare precious orchid. Homeland Malaysia and New Guinea, grows in the lower reaches of tropical forests in the shade of trees. At home, it grows in high humidity conditions on a litter of fallen leaves. The orchid is moisture and thermophilic (22-29 C). When dry, it sheds leaves and loses its decorative effect.
Propagation of precious orchids by cuttings
Before proceeding directly to the issues of cuttings, I would like to briefly define "precious orchids". This is a group of orchids, decorative with their leaves, usually with a variety of patterns with shiny veins, shimmering gold, silver or copper, on a solid or multi-colored background of a velvet leaf. Although some genera do not have any patterns on the leaves, the velvety leaves are present.
These amazing miniature orchids have long been attributed (some still refer) to oncidiums, due to the shape of the flowers that are very similar to pupae with skirts. At some point, these orchids were singled out into their own genus - tolumnia because of the smaller number of flowers, shorter peduncle and other differences from other oncidiums.
Stangopeia - small joys of a big hobby
One glance at the photo of the stangopea was enough to be imbued with the charm of it, succumb to the desire to see this unusual orchid in your collection. And they began digging in reference books, in encyclopedias, in forums, to be honest, not only to collect information about her, but in search of any information about the possibility of acquiring this wonderful flower …
Precious orchids - hidden gold
Experts distinguish between orchids by leaf color and venation. The patterned pattern of the veins depends on the conditions in which the orchid lives and the age of the plant. With each new sheet, an increasingly complex drawing is revealed. In natural conditions, precious (variegated) orchids are very difficult to notice, as they grow among fallen leaves and moss, under snags and roots of large trees. Orchids live in symbiosis with endemic fungi (which provide them with protection by removing some of the photosynthetic production from plants), which allows orchids to be almost in the dark, among dead leaves and moss.
Brief description of the Cattleya species
The peduncle is apical, with several medium-sized flowers. The flowers are more varied in color than those of the first group and often have a denser texture. Many Cattleya plants are quite plastic plants, so when caring for them, you do not need to strive to accurately recreate the natural environment.
It is important that not individual parameters, but their combinations are optimal. For example, having created a certain temperature regime, you cannot arbitrarily choose the illumination, humidity. So, if the content of plants is too warm in winter in low light conditions, their depletion will occur - respiration will prevail over photosynthesis. Excessive watering combined with low temperatures can lead to root death.