Many refuse to grow orchids, believing that these plants are difficult to care for and require special conditions. Nevertheless, despite all the seeming fragility, Orchids are quite unpretentious. In addition, transplanting and propagating orchids at home is not particularly difficult and is available even to a novice grower. With complete information, planting and caring for orchids will not seem like an impossible task.
For growing orchids at home, pots (containers), baskets or special blocks are used. As a rule, plants are planted in pots that do not tolerate complete drying of the substrate. For heat-loving species, plastic ones are more suitable. Transparent pots are produced especially for orchids, they are very convenient: through the walls you can observe the state of the roots and substrate, Dendrobium victoriae-reginae is grown in small pots with a breathable substrate, in addition, light is useful for orchid roots, which photosynthesize, like leaves . Colored pots and containers do not have this advantage, but they look better and fit well into the interior, and therefore are also widely used.
Plants that tend to be kept cool can also be grown in plastic containers, but they grow better in unglazed ceramic pots: the roots are constantly cooled here due to the evaporation of moisture through the walls of the vessel. But care and, in particular, transplantation in this case will be associated with difficulties. Firstly, salt deposits are deposited on the inner walls of unglazed pots, burning the roots, and therefore it will be necessary to water the plants only with very soft, preferably rain or snow water, and transplanting should be carried out on time, until salt deposits have caused disturbances in plant development. Secondly, orchid roots easily adhere to porous ceramic walls. This is even good, until there is a need for a transplant. But when you need to move the plant, it is impossible to tear off the roots from the pot without injuring them, but the root system of orchids is difficult to recover and needs to be handled with care! Experienced flower growers suggest not removing orchids from ceramic pots, but carefully, wrapping the outside with a rag, crush the pot into small pieces, if possible, and then replant the plant along with the fragments stuck to the roots.
In a word, the use of ceramic containers requires skill, and therefore it is better to start with plastic ones anyway. And only if orchids that prefer coolness are reluctant to bloom in plastic pots, transplant them into unglazed ceramic containers.
Proper planting of orchids in a pot at home
Before planting, the plant is carefully removed from the old pot, along with the substrate. It is not recommended to use force if it is not possible to easily pull out the lump, it is better to cut or break the pot. For proper planting of orchids, in order to better clean the roots of the old substrate, they are placed for some time in warm water, then the soaked pieces of bark, peat, coal are washed off the roots with a warm shower, in extreme cases, carefully separating them with your hands. The washed plant is inspected, all damaged parts of the roots (hollow, soft, slimy to the touch) are removed with a sharp knife or pruner, the sections are sprinkled with crushed activated charcoal. Then the orchid is placed for several hours (possibly overnight) on paper towels folded in several layers to dry.
When planting orchids in a pot, a drainage layer is laid on the bottom, then a substrate is poured in a layer of 3-5 cm, after which the plant is placed and the remaining volume is evenly filled with the substrate.
Planting orchids at home can also be done in baskets. Made of plastic, wire, wooden slats or other material, they differ only in design, and the conditions for development in all types of baskets are approximately the same, so you can rely on your own taste when choosing.
For the first time, it is better to fix the plant with twine or soft wire, and tie the tall stems to pegs.
After planting, the orchid is watered abundantly, the excess water is allowed to drain and a little substrate is sprinkled on top if it has settled heavily and fallen down, exposing the roots.
Transplanting indoor orchids
Care, transplantation and propagation of orchids is a simple process, but requires certain skills. Having bought your first indoor orchid, you should not rush to transplant. Orchids are usually transplanted not earlier than the substrate in which they are grown becomes unusable: pieces of bark, fern rhizomes and other large particles overheat, crumble, cake, and no longer allow excess water to flow freely from the container, and air stops flowing to the roots. Orchid roots are quite sensitive, so you should not resort to transplanting “just in case”, without having good reasons for this.
The best time to repot an orchid is when new growth begins, which comes shortly after flowering. You can find out about this by the appearance of new shoots, leaves, fresh roots. At this time, the plants easily adapt and quickly fix their roots in a new place.
The composition of the substrate for orchids do it yourself
As a substrate for orchids, pieces of bark (at least 0.5-1 cm), charcoal, osmund fern rhizomes, sphagnum moss, pieces of pressed peat, and polystyrene are used. It is more convenient to purchase these components and their mixtures in the form of a ready-to-use substrate in a store.
You can prepare a substrate for orchids with your own hands, for this you will need:
- pine bark – crushed pine bark;
- fern roots – osmund fern roots retain moisture well;
- charcoal – charcoal obtained from the burning of hardwoods;
- gravel – river gravel or fine matte makes the substrate heavier and improves drainage;
- moss-sphagnum is necessarily part of the substrate for orchids, as it retains moisture well;
- perlite – perlite granules make mixtures lighter;
- sand – improves moisture and air permeability of the soil.
Feeding orchids at home
One of the conditions for growing orchids is proper feeding. The growth and development of orchids have significant features, therefore it is recommended to feed these plants with a fertilizer specially designed for them, which is applied according to the instructions, usually in the form of a solution. Universal flower fertilizers for feeding orchids are rarely used and in a highly diluted form.
The mineral requirements of orchids are relatively small, however, during the growth period, top dressing is necessary. During the period of active growth, top dressing of orchids at home is done every 2-3 weeks. If you use a universal fertilizer, then the subcortex should contain the minimum indicated dose, during the growth period you can increase the amount of nitrogen, during the formation of buds – phosphorus and potassium.
Propagation of orchids with your own hands
At home, it is very difficult to get orchids from seeds, so amateurs most often propagate indoor orchids vegetatively, at the end of flowering. Sympodial orchids are propagated by dividing the bush or separating old pseudobulbs that have lost their foliage from them, placing them in a separate pot, which is installed in a warm place, covered with a glass jar or a plastic bag.
After some time, small “children” appear at the base of the bulb, which can be separated and grown as independent plants.
Monopodial orchids are propagated by cuttings. A part of the stem 10-15 cm long (having aerial roots) is laid horizontally on the surface of moistened sphagnum and placed in a room greenhouse until new plants begin to develop from the cutting. Some types of orchids, for example, phalaenopsis, form offspring on the stem. As soon as such a plant has good roots, it is separated along with a piece of the stem and transplanted into a separate pot. For the first time, young orchids that do not have powerful roots are fixed in the substrate, tied to wooden “pegs”.