The orchid is a plant very charming and classy, for its colored inflorescence, which may vary between shades of white, blue, pink, yellow, purple. Until a few decades ago, its cultivation was reserved for the few, since it took greenhouses or environments with high temperature and humidity.
In recent years, however, they have spread less fragile species, also adaptable to colder temperatures and crops in the house and in the garden.
So here’s some tips for orchid care and for its cultivation outdoors or in pots.
Which species of orchid to choose?
The first step is the selection of the species of orchid that best suits the climate in which we live, because each species has different needs and requirements.
Keep in mind that orchids are original of environments totally different from ours, tropical and characterized by high temperatures and high humidity. In Italy you can grow orchids, as long as you keep at the shelter during the coldest months: the average temperature should be at least 18-20 ° C.
Even the humidity around the plant should be high, whereby the leaves and the stem should be frequently vaporized.
In the market, there are three most widespread species of orchid: The Phalaenopsis, the dendrobium and cymbidium. Phalaenopsis and dendrobium species that are like the heat, while the cymbidium orchid is a type that can withstand even mild frosts and is therefore the most suitable species to be grown in the garden or on the terrace.
If you want to cultivate tropical species, the advice is to equip yourself with a terrarium or greenhouse, where the temperature and humidity can be maintained constant and suitable for the wellbeing of plants.
The light for orchids
One of the most important elements for a healthy and vigorous growth orchid is the light. The place where lay the orchids should be very bright, but not directly exposed to sunlight, they can burn our plant. Especially during the summer months, the plants must be protected from the direct sun, especially during the hottest hours of the day.
In any case, we must avoid to plant them if our apartment or garden are exposed only to the north and are therefore poorly lit, and not place them ever in places dark or dark, so that the plant does not generate flowers and its roots and leaves do not develop properly.
The ideal is to place them under deciduous trees or under a pergola…
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The choice of soil for orchids
The choice of the soil in which to plant the orchids is essential. The majority of tropical orchids are epiphytes, i.e. not have its roots firmly in the ground, but placed between the intersections of the branches of the trees or among rocks, in places where materials are deposited in decomposition. The land is to be preferred so soft and incoherent.
The best choice should be on a mixed soil, which easily let pass the air and water, preventing moisture stagnation.
The perfect mix must be porous and may contain coal, shells or coconut fiber or pieces of bark, so as to mimic the tropical substrate where orchids grow naturally. The mix to choose depends on the variety of choice orchid: your nursery or gardener will surely recommend the best mix.
Orchid cultivation in pots: Pot which to choose?
The majority of orchids in our country are grown in pots, except cymbidium.
If you choose to cultivate the orchid pot, we must pay great attention to the choice of container to be used, since this will affect the future development of the plant. The vessel should be drilled on the bottom, to allow the drainage of water, and enough long to allow the development of the root.
If you use a transparent vase, it will facilitate photosynthesis, turning in orchids not only the leaves but also by the roots, and the roots can be easily observed, to note any rotten or dried ends.
If the plant gets bigger of its container, it is appropriate to re-potting orchid, to continue to obtain abundant blooms. After you water the soil well, you need to gently lift the plant and remove the roots dead or yellowed, old bulbs and a part of the old previous soil. The plant is then placed in a pot slightly larger than the former (at least 5 cm in diameter in more), the bottom of which was previously filled with gravel, to facilitate drainage, and soil fertilized: the roots of the plant have to be covered up to the collar, with mixed soil.
After repotting, the plant must not be wet for 10 days. If the transplant is successful, it should be repeated after 4 or 5 years.
The water for orchids: Watering
Watering orchid has to be frequent but not too abundant, since large amounts of water are likely to kill the plant, rotting the roots. The ideal is to moisten the soil every 3-5 days, with water demineralized at room temperature, trying to use a diffuser to spray the water around the vessel, rather than a watering can.
It is important never to use tap water because the chlorine in it is archenemy orchid. Also the amount of water depends on the species of choice: in general, more fleshy leaves will need larger amount of water.
Orchid: The leaf diseases
The orchid plant is a very delicate. A good practice is to clean the leaves every day, to protect them from dust, which slows photosynthesis and parasites.
If the leaves have yellowed on the one hand, it means that the orchid was too exposed to sunlight and therefore should be moved. If the yellow leaves are widely used, the water used for water it is too calcareous and should be replaced with fresh water, combined with iron-based fertilizers.
If the leaves are curled and devoid of buds, the light is too little, while if the leaves or flowers are spotted, it means that the plant is suffering from the low temperature and therefore should be moved to a warmer area.