The exotic beauty and sophistication of orchids amazes people even far from floriculture. Is it difficult to tame a tropical beauty, and how to care for an orchid, so that it pleased both with lush greens and luxurious inflorescences?
Many room flower growers who have not grown these unusual plants before may have the wrong idea about orchid care, as overly painstaking and time consuming. But getting to know the flowers closer, it turns out that keeping an orchid in one of the most common types in the room is not so difficult.
How to care for an orchid at home, what conditions are required for an exotic culture that has fallen into the indoor pot?
Orchid maintenance conditions
Properly organized care involves the creation of conditions close to natural. An orchid will preserve health and decorativeness for a long time if:
- takes into account and provides for all the flower's needs for nutrition, lighting and watering;
- plant arranges temperature and humidity conditions, soil composition and applied supplements.
When choosing a flower for home cultivation, you need to remember that orchids have many varieties that differ in their appearance and natural growth conditions and needs.
Without disregarding this fact, it is possible to significantly simplify the care of orchids for beginners and for those who already know a lot about the content of this crop grower.
Most of the plants found in the interiors are epiphytes from the tropics. They are easily recognizable by the succulent air rhizomes, which not only provide the flower with moisture and nutrition, but also take part in the process of photosynthesis. There are orchids that are used to living on stones, where the soil layer, like on trees, is extremely small.
For such plants, air humidity and substrate looseness are important. But the soil types, in addition to the usual orchid care, also need nourishing soil.
Read also: how to properly care for Phalaenopsis orchid
In the tropics, where the vast majority of indoor species come from, orchids grow in conditions of long daylight and moderately bright, diffused lighting. The same conditions are recreated in the situation when the orchid is looked after at home.
The optimal daylight hours for actively growing and blooming orchids are 13–15 hours, practically not decreasing in winter. Therefore, extra backlight will not be superfluous when caring for an orchid.
It’s not worthwhile to set up pots on the south windows without pre-thought shading. Bright sunlight can leave brown or yellow marks on the foliage, and the buds under direct hot rays and completely fall off. The best place is the east or west side. On the north windows, lights will be required even in summer.
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If a place for a plant is chosen incorrectly, even with proper home care, orchids, as in the photo, turn yellow, their leaves lose elasticity, dry, flowering becomes rare or does not come at all.
Moisture in the air: the key to the success of home care for an orchid
Increased humidity is extremely important for the successful cultivation of a tropical plant. And if in the summer it is quite possible to achieve the desired 60–70%, then in winter the grower will have to try.
How to properly care for an orchid when operating heating devices, mercilessly drying the air in the room? To maintain this humidity, electric humidifiers and household appliances are used.
A container in which flowers are grown can be put on wet moss laid in a shallow pan. If there is no sphagnum at hand that holds moisture for a long time, expanded clay is used in the same way. The plant feels best in a florarium or room greenhouse, separated from the rest of the room by plastic or glass.
When the florist in the care takes a spraying of foliage, this should be done regularly and carefully, trying not to fall on the flowers. It is highly undesirable to allow cooling of a still wet orchid, since this will lead to the development of a fungus on succulent leaves and aerial roots.
Irrigate the flower in the first half of the day with room temperature water, until the leaves have dried, the pot is strongly protected from cold air and drafts.
Watering while caring for an orchid in a pot
Studying information on how to care for an orchid at home, a novice grower should not ignore such a question as watering these people from the tropics.
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Already one appearance of a plant can tell a lot about its preferences and requests. Powerful air and underground rhizomes are designed for the extraction and storage of moisture. In addition, a certain amount of nutrients and water can be saved in the leaves, which in some species are noticeably thickened.
All orchids are moisture-loving and require abundant watering, in which the soil clod or loose coarse-grained substrate poured into the pot is completely wet.
But how to care for an orchid in different periods of the year? Does the frequency of watering change, and how do you know about the “thirst” of a flower that is in a mixture of bark, expanded clay, pieces of foam and other materials that have little in common with traditional soil?
The irrigation schedule, as well as other orchid care procedures, are necessarily adjusted when the season changes. In the warm season, the potted orchid receives water more often than in winter. But it is better to underfill the plant than to pour.
Thick leaves and roots will help the orchid survive a short-term drought, but an excess of moisture, and especially its stagnation, is a sure step to the decay of the roots.
At home, tropical guests are planted in transparent plastic pots or containers with special slots. This makes it possible to monitor the state of the root system, the rhizomes themselves participate in photosynthesis and more easily consume nutrients and moisture. But how to care for an orchid in a pot of such an unusual design?
There are no peculiarities of orchid care here, except that it is convenient to immerse the flower in a continuous container from above, and it is convenient to immerse the pots in the prepared water for 4–6 minutes. During this time, the substrate is saturated with moisture, and the excess will flow freely.
In the summer, the substrate is moistened 2-3 times a week, when the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch. In the cold season, the frequency of watering sharply reduced.
They recognize the need for water by the loss of elasticity, slightly wrinkled rhizomes and drooping leaves. A healthy plant after soil moistening is quickly restored.
But flabby foliage in regularly watered orchids should alert the florist. Perhaps the roots were once flooded and are now in need of rehabilitation.
Top dressing of indoor orchids
Like other indoor crops, forced to grow in a limited amount of substrate, orchids need regular feedings. But fertilize these plants should not be too often. It is optimal if specialized liquid formulations are applied no more than twice a month and only during the period of active growth and flowering.
Read also: Succinic acid for orchids as a stimulant for the development of
Increased salt content in the soil adversely affects the state of the plant. How to care for an orchid if there are traces of salinization on the surface of the filler in a pot? It is better not to fight this phenomenon, but to prevent its occurrence. Therefore, alternate feeding with washing the root system, for which the pot is immersed in warm soft water for several minutes.
If the top dressing included in orchid care is excessive, the flower tolerates temperature changes worse and is also more often affected by pests and fungi.
Orchid care after flowering
Wilting flowers on the orchid is a sure sign that the plant is preparing for a rest period. It will not lose foliage, but it will be much less developed and fed before the future appearance of buds. How to care for an orchid at this time?
First of all, it is worth paying attention to the stem that remains without bright corolla. As long as it retains its green color and juiciness, it is left.
In some cases, on the same peduncle, buds are re-formed, and daughter plants, tiny rosettes are formed, which, when they form their own roots, are cut and planted in a separate pot, into a loose substrate for orchids. But signs of decaying peduncle suggest that it is time to cut it.
If a room orchid has blossomed for a long time and abundantly, it is not correct to allow the re-emergence of buds, as it happens on individual plant varieties. This will only further weaken the flower.
For a culture that quickly and well regained strength, in the care of an orchid after flowering include fertilizing or transplanting a flower. However, the latter procedure can be stressful for the plant, since the roots not only tightly encircle the substrate, but also penetrate the holes and extend beyond the limits of the pot.
A video about orchid care at home will explain all the subtleties of handling a spectacular tropical flower. With the observance of simple rules even for a beginner, the room collection will be replenished with an amazingly beautiful plant, which, feeling cared for, will respond with long bright blooms.
Proper Orchid Care - Video