Top 5 Orchid Care Questions and Answers
Perhaps every woman at least once received a blooming orchid as a gift. It is not surprising, because such a lively bouquet looks amazing, blooms and pleases the hostess for a long time. Orchids cannot be called very difficult to grow indoor crops, but failure to fulfill the main conditions of their maintenance often leads to the loss of a flower. If you are just starting to get acquainted with indoor orchids, you should find out the correct answers to the main questions on growing these beautiful plants in the house. And, hopefully, our article will help you with this.
1. How do orchids grow in nature?
Orchids got their name from the Latin word orchis (órchis). These oldest plants belong to the orchid family (Orchis). We are used to seeing these amazing flowers in our home, treating them like delicate exotic creatures, forgetting that orchids are quite common in nature. Even in our country, we can meet several dozen wild orchids. One of the common varieties of the northern orchid is cuckoo tears.
Imagining the conditions in which orchids grow in nature, we can better understand what care they will require from us in the rooms.
Orchids are quite hardy and adapt to almost any condition except drought and extreme cold. Of course, tropical forests are a favorite place for orchids. There is no limit to their exotic diversity. High humidity, sufficient air exchange, the ability to hide from direct sunlight contribute to the spread of all types of orchids, and there are more than 30 thousand of them.
In addition, under natural conditions, wild orchids are also pollinated with pollen of other flowers, so they can constantly change, new varieties and subspecies appear.
By the way, almost all orchids are centenarians, and under favorable conditions in nature can grow up to 80 years.
2. What orchids are grown in the rooms?
Tropical varieties of orchids, most often grown at home, are epiphytic. These types of orchids are notable for the fact that they have aerial roots. In the natural environment, due to such roots, plants receive food and moisture from the air, accumulate them in their leaves and root tubers.
One of the most undemanding types of orchids for home gardening are orchids. phalaenopsis (Phalaenopsis) They are low, with fairly wide, dense leaves, between which airy roots appear, their flowers are like butterflies. Receiving the necessary care, these plants bloom profusely up to two times a year for about two to six months.
Often indoors Phalaenopsis grows in transparent plastic pots so that it is possible to control the humidity of the planting soil. Sometimes, and this is not only a design decision, but also an attempt to create a native natural environment for the root system, phalaenopsis are planted in containers called block cultures. It can be a disinfected small piece of wood bark or part of a tree trunk. However, for the normal growth of orchids in blocks, a very high humidity in the room is required (above 70%).
Also popular with home gardeners are orchids cattleya (Cattleya) These are medium-sized plants with one or two leathery leaves. Inflorescences appear from the junction of the leaf with the stem. The flowers themselves are unusually bright, beautiful, large, with a subtle aroma and elegant shape. Flowering and its duration depend on the length of daylight hours, humidity and temperature in the room, as well as on the type of plant.
Orchids are another favorite. wanda (Vanda) A distinctive feature of this type of orchids are strong, fleshy very long airy roots. The stem has a height of up to one meter, can grow even higher. A large number of oblong leaves, whose length is 30-70 cm, appear approximately once a month.
The flowers have the appearance of a brush, the size of one flower reaches up to 10 or more centimeters. Having appeared, they continue to increase and gain brightness. Unusual and amazing coloring of these colors: all shades of blue, violet, orange, purple, white. These orchids bloom all year round, with appropriate care - up to three to four times in a few weeks.
Orchid oncidium (Oncidium) - "tiger orchid "has a very diverse form of leaves and flowers, it changes its external structure, depending on the species. The color of the flowers is dominated by yellow, brown and red tones. The size of the flowers can be from 2 to 12 cm. The flowers emit a delicate delicate aroma. Orchids of this species bloom up to three weeks several times a year. The duration and frequency of flowering depends on the specific conditions in which the plant is contained and the quality of care for it.
3. How to care for an orchid?
Watering and humidity
For watering flowers, including orchids, it is better to use warm, standing water. Flowers are very sensitive to chlorine and lime found in tap water. Try boiling such water to soften and let it cool before watering. Better yet, pour melt or rain water at room temperature.
Watering should be done regularly, but sparingly throughout the year. In summer, orchids need more water and should be watered approximately every five days, in winter - once every 7-10 days. Make sure that moisture does not accumulate at the bottom of the flower pot and in the pan. When watering should take into account the dryness of the substrate and humidity.
The most favorable relative humidity is 40-60 percent, in summer it should be higher. You can increase the humidity around the plant by spraying them with warm water. It should be ensured that water does not remain in the recesses of the leaves, as this can lead to their decay.
At low air temperatures, spraying must be stopped. However, air humidity should be maintained constantly; to do this, place a cup of water near the plant. From a lack of water, the leaves wrinkle, and excess moisture leads to darkening and damage to the roots. That is, too little water is better than too much. Because water in excess can lead to decay of the roots of orchids.
The best way to water an orchid is to remove the plant from the flower pot and immerse it in soft water at room temperature for 10-30 minutes. Then allow all the water to drain, and only after that put the flower in place.
Vanda's orchids have one very striking feature in their structure: their roots do not have pseudobulbs for water supply, therefore this type of orchid is especially susceptible to the frequency of watering. The roots of these orchids do not require soil, in nature they grow in places with air humidity up to 80 percent and absorb water from the environment. At home, they are often kept in low glass vases without a substrate.
The method of watering such orchids is as follows: water is poured into a vase with a plant, left for half an hour and then completely poured. In summer, watering is required daily or every other day, and spraying - every week, in winter - only watering every five to seven days.
Orchid loves the light, but in no case direct sunlight. Therefore, placing a flower in a lighted place in your home, you need to consider the time of year. Cover the curtains in summer, and in winter, on the contrary, add light with additional lighting, for example, fluorescent lamps.
The appearance of small brown or yellow spots on the orchid leaves indicates that the plant received a sunburn. Varieties of orchids with a dark color of leaves are most sensitive to light. From the leaves you can determine whether this gentle creature receives enough light. If the leaves began to darken - add light, if they began to turn yellow - there is an excess of light.
If you place an orchid on a windowsill, then a window facing west is most suitable. Southern orientation is undesirable due to the bright sun. In the north and east there is not enough light, which will inevitably lead to a slowdown in plant growth and minimize its flowering.
The recommended illumination for comfortable growth and flowering of orchids is 20 thousand lux in summer and 40 thousand lux in winter, which is approximately 20-30 percent of the "full" sun.
The ideal room temperature for these subtropical plants is between
+ 19 ° C to + 24 ° C. At night, it is recommended not to lower the temperature below 17 degrees. The daily temperature difference is normally at least seven degrees. Orchids really do not like to stand in the draft.
It is worthwhile to carefully monitor their orchids, how they react to certain conditions of detention, since for each type of orchid they can differ. This also applies to temperature conditions. One plant may need more heat, while another will feel better in coolness.
Never place these delicate flowers near heating appliances. Artificial heat sources dry the air. Constant overheating leads to dehydration and draining of the flower tissues, leaves and roots, which causes the death of the plant.
Please also note that in the room where the orchids are kept, it is necessary to constantly maintain air circulation. It is useful to ventilate the room to lower the night temperature, to ensure the supply of fresh air and the necessary nutrients. After all, aerial photosynthetic roots of orchids take moisture, mineral and organic substances from the air. But remember - drafts for these colors are unacceptable.
To increase air exchange, you can turn on a weak fan for one or two hours, but so that the air flow from it is not directed to orchids.
Do not carry!
Orchids get used to their place, to the specific conditions in this place. They do not like it when they are rearranged and even when they just turn the pot. Any movement is perceived as stress. If nevertheless there is a need to change the location of the pot with an orchid, try to position it to the light with the same side as it was before. And this should not be done during the flowering period or the appearance of the peduncle. Do not turn the pot while watering the orchid.
If the orchid does not bloom, read our material How to make the orchid bloom? 6 useful tips.
For their growth and flowering orchids need nutrients. Once or twice a month they are fertilized with liquid mineral fertilizers. For fertilizing, choose fertilizers with a low nitrogen content, as it delays the development of the kidneys.
In between flowering, the fertilizer rate is halved.
On sale there is a wide selection of various nutrient mixtures and mineral fertilizers. Before using them, carefully study the method of their use, the amount of fertilizer needed and the frequency of dressing.
4. When and how to transplant an orchid?
Orchids do not tolerate transplanting, so they should not be transplanted more than once every three to four years after the flowering period. It is advisable to do this in the spring, and not only when the plant needs more space for growth. Transplantation is required if the substrate in which the orchid grows corrupted, if the roots rot or dry, if the leaves begin to dry.
For transplantation, use special soil for orchids. Such soil can be purchased in specialized departments or compiled by yourself. Orchid outlets sell not only natural substrates, but also synthetic ones. The substrate should be purchased only from natural ingredients. Fillers from synthetic materials accumulate salts, decompose over time, releasing toxins, which leads to the cessation of growth and flowering of plants.
A good substrate consists of bark and cones of conifers, peat, moss, charcoal, chopped walnut shells, coconut nuts. It should pass moisture well, without holding it, provide free access to air and at the same time be a stable support to the plant.
Control and timely replacement, partial renewal of the soil will protect it from rotting and the development of bacteria. The selection of a specific composition of the substrate depends on the microclimate of your home. If the necessary growth conditions are violated, a change in its composition is required. For example, with high humidity add bark or charcoal, with dryness - fern roots and coconut.
Let the orchid dry the day before you decide to transplant it. Carefully remove rotten and dried roots before putting the plant in new soil. After transplanting, the plants are not watered for several days.
During the year, if necessary, it is enough to change the top layer of the substrate. Carefully remove it from the pot and sprinkle fresh. Make sure that the pseudobulbs remain free and do not burrow into the ground. Otherwise, it may cause them to rot.
5. Does the orchid need winter peace?
A period of rest is necessary in order for the orchid to gain strength for the next flowering. During the rest period, when the orchid loses its flowers, in order to get the blooming orchid again faster, it is necessary to prune the stem. Some types of orchids can bloom repeatedly without a long break. It is best to cut off the old branch above the third eye, then a new shoot will appear on the remaining stem.
The stem should be cut with a sharp knife or garden secateurs, so that the cut turns out to be even, and thereby reduce the possibility of the spread of microbes. Then sprinkle the slice with activated carbon powder or treat with a disinfectant from the first-aid kit, iodine, green stuff will do.
After pruning, the plant can be placed in cooler conditions for several weeks, but make sure that it still receives enough light and air.
If the stem is completely dry, it must be completely cut off. This will lead to the appearance of new peduncles.