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Regal orchid requires royal attention in itself, but in care of the plant it is important not to reapply for orchid planting, but for the care of the plant it is important not to retake the orchid but it needs royal attention, but in care of the plant it is important not to reapply for orchid planting, but for the care of the plant it is important not to reapply for orchid planting. The first specimens, delivered to Europe from distant corners of America and Asia, died en masse, and the culprit was the wrong soil for orchids. Trying to please the gentle beauties, the gardeners planted the plants in the best substrate rich in humus, but the powerful roots did not grow, but died off.
It was possible to tame orchids only by studying their habits and preferences developed by living conditions in nature. The overwhelming majority of representatives of the Orchid family are epiphytes, which are comfortably settled not in the fertile soil, but on the roots, trunks and branches of trees. All the necessary plant nutrition is not obtained from the soil, but from the atmosphere, which explains the presence of such a developed root system.
Substrate for orchids of tropical origin is needed at most so that the flower can gain a foothold and hold in a certain place. When selecting components, one does not pay attention to nutritional properties, but to the extent to which the prepared soil is structured and permeable to air and moisture.
The composition of the soil for orchids usually includes several components, and increasingly use ingredients not only natural, but man-made origin. It is only important that the selected substrate for orchids does not create conditions for the roots to rot, provide air access to them, and for certain species and light.
The latter condition applies to plants whose roots are involved in the process of photosynthesis. An example is the orchid Phalaenopsis, popular with florists, for which the soil is mixed from tree bark, small stones or expanded clay, moss, dead foliage and pieces of birch coal.
The main component of ready-made and self-made substrates for orchids is tree bark. The material can be purchased at flower shops or lie to yourself. Russian flower growers prefer pine bark, but if it cannot be found nearby, any coniferous species, oak, beech and other trees will do.
Orchid bark is harvested from sawn logs or dead wood. In this case, it:
- easily lags behind and can be processed;
- has less acidity than fresh;
- does not contain as much resinous substances as on living trees.
When collecting, pay attention to the quality of the material. It is better to take strong pieces of bark without signs of mold rot or massive insect damage. As part of the substrate for orchids, the bark is under considerable stress due to the effects of moisture and the growing root system. Initially rotten, old pieces quickly collapse, and the flower will soon need to transplant.
As with any natural material, the bark carries a potential hazard to a houseplant. It may contain dangerous insects, bacteria and fungi.
Therefore, before being sent to the flower pot, the collected pieces of orchid bark:
- are cleaned of softened fabrics, wood and resin;
- heat treated in the oven, steamed, or digestion methods;
- thoroughly dried.
Coniferous, and especially pine bark for orchids increases the acidity of the soil, so it is useful to add a little dolomite flour to the mixture to neutralize. The size of the fragments is selected depending on the type of plant grown. The smaller the fraction, the:
- denser soil;
- less air penetrates into its thickness;
- better retained moisture.
Before mixing the substrate, the bark is immersed in warm water for a couple of hours, so that it becomes saturated with moisture, and the plant immediately falls into a growth-friendly environment.
Sphagnum moss for orchids
Swamp moss, common in Russia and other countries, is valued by sphagnum flower growers for their ability:
- to give soil looseness to the soil;
- to retain water without condensing the soil for orchids;
- soak up surpluses harmful to plants from irrigation water;
- has a bactericidal effect.
Specialty stores offer ready-made, already decontaminated and dried sphagnum for orchids, but if you wish, you can prepare moss yourself. And after collecting, be sure to rinse, sort, soak in boiling water, and then squeeze and dry well. The best time to gather is the pre-dime.
Some flower growers prefer to use live sphagnum or other moss, but here it is worth remembering the risk of resettlement of insects and microorganisms, which remain in natural material in large numbers.
Moss is included in the composition of the soil for orchids, and also used:
- as a mulch layer;
- as an independent substrate for rooting daughter outlets;
- for compacting plants in blocks and baskets.
Indispensable sphagnum for orchids that require resuscitation due to rotting or drying of the root system.
Other components of the substrate for orchids
An indispensable assistant to the grower who grows epiphytic orchids, is small clay used for drainage. This material is highly hygroscopic and perfectly structures the soil.
Similar properties have charcoal, which also has a disinfecting, absorbent effect. The composition of the soil for orchids include pieces of coal the size of not less than two centimeters. If the fraction is smaller, coal quickly collapses and, turning into dust, it settles on the roots, interfering with the nutrition of the orchid, and compacts the substrate.
Foam plastic and foam rubber cannot be called traditional components of soil for cultivated plants. Nevertheless, they have already managed to prove their usefulness in growing such a capricious crop as orchids. Fragments of synthetic materials in the substrate for orchids are durable, do not accumulate and do not emit harmful substances into the soil, provide high friability and breathability.
Peat can be added to the pots of large adult plants. The advantages of this component can be considered the ability to retain moisture, high air permeability and unattractiveness for harmful insects and microflora. The lack of material one - increased acidity.
The task of loosening the substrate for the orchid copes well:
- steamed and dried nutshell;
- coconut fiber;
- fallen foliage;
- perlite and vermiculite.
Bottle corks made from natural bark are used as an exotic but fully functional filler.
When choosing a soil composition for orchids, the grower must remember that the durability of the substrate depends on the durability of the components and on the size of individual pieces of bark, coal, foam plastic or pellets of expanded clay.
If a plant that lives on the ground appears in the home collection, the ground for the orchid is more nutritious and dense. You can take ready soil for orchids and mix it with garden soil, a small amount of humus, sand and perlite.