Grow orchids from seed is a task that would be easier than what you think! However, it may be challenging if you have not grown an orchid from seed. Don’t worry; this article will be enough for you to handle all the problems and complications.
What you have to do is to read it to the end and thank us later.
How To Grow Orchids The Right Way From Seeds?
To grow an orchid from seed, prepare the growing medium, fill it in a flask, and sow the seed there. When the roots and leaves develop, transplant the young orchid to a pot. Ensure it gets proper light, water, and nutrients for smooth growth.
1. Get Seeds
Begin the process by getting orchid seeds of the species you want to grow. It would be best if you did not decide to choose a species/variety lightly, as selecting the wrong one can cause nothing but frustration. In addition, you should remember to get them from a reputable source so that they would have a success growth.
What you must remember is that, when you are picking the seeds, every orchid has different growing requirements. Some like warmer climates, while some prefer colder ones, which is why some want more nutrients, while some can even thrive with fewer minerals in the soil. Which one you should grow depends on where you live and how much effort you will put into growing an orchid.
We suggest everyone grow Phalaenopsis, because this orchid can easily grow between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and requires less care than others. To get its seeds, you should contact someone you know who loves to grow orchids to get your hands on a Phalaenopsis orchid seed pod. In the pod, there are seeds that you can sow later on, and this is possible by using a sterilized blade or tweezers to extract them.
As mentioned, you can also buy seeds from a reputable gardening store. If you need more time to go to a store, you can also easily order seeds online and have the store deliver them to your home. Ensure the package is not torn off when it reaches your place.
2. Sterilize the Tools
After getting the seeds, the next thing to do is to gather the tools needed for sowing. You should have a cooking pot, a scalpel, and a tweezer. Collect them in a bag because this is now your orchid seed growing kit and you need it to successfully manage the task.
Take bleach and water; now you must add nine cups of water and then a cup of bleach to make a mixture. This 10 percent bleach solution is enough to sterilize the tools, and you can put the tools in the solution for around 30 minutes or spray them. The bleach will clean these tools of all the undesirable things.
3. Ready the Growing Medium
Next, you must prepare the growing medium to sow the seeds. You must do this part with care because the success of seed germination depends on it.
You can make different media, but the one that experts recommend is agar medium. To this, you need agar, calcium nitrate, magnesium sulfate, ammonium sulfate, manganese sulfate, and lastly saccharose.
If you want to make it yourself, you will have to boil the water first and let it stay at room temperature for a few hours. Then, add 100 ml of the boiled or distilled water to a bowl or a bottle; now, add 25 grams of agar to the water and make sure to dissolve them well.
You may also come across the though, how to grow orchids from seed without agar. You can also use other potting media, like sphagnum moss, tree fern fiber, vermiculite, etc. The rest of the process will be similar; however, we still recommend the agar one as it suits the seeds the most. In short, that is why the germination rate is much higher, because of this step in particular.
4. Get Seed Capsules
Now, after doing so, you should buy a seed flask/capsule, and you can easily purchase one from any gardening or online store. The reason to get a flask is that the orchid seeds are tiny. For many, seeing one seed can even become a difficult task, and it’s that small.
This small size means you can easily lose sight of them, as winds can also take away dry seeds. Moreover, fungi and bacteria also love to attack such seeds because harming them is easy; as a result, you must do the sowing in a flask or some seed capsules.
It is also important to sterilize the seed capsule, and we don’t recommend you do it earlier with other tools because the sterilization effect fades with time. To sterilize it, you will again use the bleach solution, but it’s a little different this time. We recommend you get a dry bottle and fill the freshly made bleach solution, and after doing so you should slowly place the capsule and let it stay for at least 15 minutes, and then, pull it out using a tweezer.
It is also better to wear gloves when you do this. The bleach solution is usually safe for humans. However, those who have sensitive skin might face allergic reactions when a few drops fall on them.
5. Clean the Seeds
After sterilizing the capsule, please take out the seeds and clean them carefully. Do it gently; any wrong move can hurt them because they are delicate. We recommend you use three percent hydrogen peroxide. Fill it in a flask and then add seeds to it. Then, tighten the lid and gently shake the flask.
Then, take them out using tweezers, place them on a tissue or paper towel, and let them dry. After this, cut the capsule using a scalpel and take out the remaining seeds. You will then have to store them in a safe place, and when it comes to novice enthusiasts, they would often make the mistake of storing seeds in the fridge; note that this can cause fungi to attack, making them “un-germinable.”
6. Sterilize the Environment and Sow
Growing orchids require lots of sterilization, and make sure that before you sow seeds, it is also recommended to sterilize the environment too. You can put the flask and beakers in an oven and set it at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes maximum. Then, sterilize the spot where you will place all the materials or the tools used to grow an orchid from seed using three percent hydrogen peroxide.
You can add the growing media to a flask and sow the seeds, to do this, you must make sure you are wearing gloves when you do this. Also, keeping the media manageable with the seeds, is a matter of worry, because this can cause problems later.
You should then carefully put the flask in a transparent bag and place it near a window so that the growing media can receive indirect light. It is also better to write the date of sowing on the bag. In short, this will give you an idea about at what pace things are progressing.
7. Wait for Germination
After doing all the above steps, the next step is to be patient and wait for the seeds to germinate. It will take from a few weeks to months to see orchid seedlings. Don’t worry; the wait is worth it because these species that you are developing can live for over ten years when this process is done with patience.
8. Transplant the Orchid into a New Pot
You can’t keep the seedling forever in a flask. When you see more than three leaves, the orchid is ready to be transplanted into a pot. Such orchid roots are also strong enough to sustain transplanting stress.
Note that you should choose the ideal pot for orchids, and for this, it is best to use terracotta or plastic as they are lighter and don’t break down easily. In addition to this, you must also place it in a medium-sized pot as the orchid is still very young; on the contrary, putting it in a big container can cause complications.
Make sure the potting medium you add to the pot is top-notch. It should be well-drained, aerated, nutrient-rich, and slightly acidic, with excellent water retention properties. We recommend you add orchid mix or sphagnum moss. It is also better to top it up with bark chips to make it more suitable for the young orchid.
To remove the orchid from the flask, you will use water, and make sure to add some of it to a cooking pot and heat it at 96 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, when it cools down a little, put the flask in for about half an hour, and so, you can now easily remove the orchid and transplant it into the new pot.
9. Take Care of Roots
When you transplant the orchid, its roots will take some time to start functioning again. During this time, you will have to take care of them properly. Make sure you keep the soil partially moist, for better development, and you can also give a little root-boosting hormone to speed up root growth.
Furthermore, adding fertilizers can help the roots gear up and start working. You will now have to be super careful about watering the orchid because they are still rooting. This plant prefers the soil to be moderately moist and dry. Both conditions can stress out the orchid, which will impact its growth.
The main thing about watering an orchid is knowing when it needs it. For this, you should check the soil, and this means that if it feels partially dry, it means the time has come for you to pour water. On the other hand, if it is wet, it means some moisture is still left, and the orchids don’t need you to add water now.
The method of watering is important too, and if you wish to avoid overwatering and underwatering, you should spray the orchid. You may also mist the leaves and the soil with pure water. The ice cube method is now also becoming popular among orchid gardeners.
You may also place two ice cubes in the pot and let them melt with time. The water will become slowly available to the orchid, which its roots can absorb easily. Don’t worry; the cold water won’t hurt the roots; soon enough, they will melt.
10. Provide the Right Light and Fertilizer
If you want the orchid to grow properly, you should ensure it gets proper light and air circulation. Light is important for plants to do physiological functions necessary to maintain their health.
However, it is the indirect or filtered light that the orchid desires, because when you place it in direct light, it will cause leaf burn and even leaf death in some cases. Similarly, air circulation maintains the temperature and lets the orchid grow without facing any stress.
Now, when it comes to feeding the plant, these grow smoothly when you add fertilizers on time, which is when they bloom. You can give nutrient doses in two ways, but the most followed one is the monthly dose. In this, you give one big dose of fertilizer in the first week of the month; on the other hand, the other method is the weekly dose, as this, you give a small dose of nutrients every week.
The best fertilizers for orchids are those that are specifically made for them. They are called orchid fertilizers, and you can also purchase them easily, and simply; you can apply any other one too. Just make sure that they are labeled as nitrogen-rich as orchids need this mineral to produce new growths.
11. Maintain Humidity at Optimal Levels
Growing orchids get tricky when the humidity levels are not optimal, and they like them to be between 50 and 75 percent. If the humidity is low, then the whole orchid will face stress. It is because water evaporation happens faster when there is dryness in the surroundings, which can cause internal water shortage. As a result, all those processes that need water slow down and ultimately stop.
On another note, the leaves find it hard to release excessive water during evaporation if the humidity is high. This makes the entire orchid feel mushy and increases the chances of fungal diseases like crown rot, which is why it will be in a vulnerable position and stressed.
The good news is that it is easy to manage low and high humidity levels. When the humidity is low, you can always spray water regularly or put a water-filled tray next to the orchid. Use a humidifier if possible, although it may be expensive, which is why you can use a pebble tray.
On the contrary, when the humidity is high, you should ensure the orchid pot is placed at an ideal distance from other plants. And lastly, give water in controlled quantities, and don’t spray it.
12. Deal With Temperature Stresses Wisely
There always comes a time when the temperature is not ideal for orchids. Note that slightly high or low temperature for some days does not impact much. Orchids can easily tolerate 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit; this is when they will thrive and establish well.
If the temperature goes above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then we have a problem, because they will go through stress. As a result, in this situation, spray the orchids with cold water regularly. In short, make sure to put them in the shade during the peak sunny hours and then make sure they receive indirect light.
If the temperature stays below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, placing the orchid pot near a heater would be ideal. Also, if you have grown orchids outside, bring them inside your home when it is too cold, to avoid different issues.
13. Keep a Check on Insect Pest
Orchid plants face the attack of many insect pests throughout their lifespans, whether they are still growing or have fully matured. The ones that you will deal with are aphids, mealybugs, snails, and slugs.
It is super important you don’t let them feast on the orchids, or else they can die too. If they still manage to live, they won’t look much aesthetically pleasing. This is why you should apply organic insecticides first when you see insects, and the ones that most enthusiasts would recommend are neem oil, diatomaceous earth, and wood ash. Rubbing alcohol also works, but you have to spray it on all parts of the plants.
Use commercially made chemical pesticides if you still see pests around the orchids. You must follow the instructions printed on the pesticide bottle, or else you may face different complications that can damage your health.
14. Protect the Orchid From Diseases
During the growing process, the orchids can face disease infections. Generally, fungi love to invade them, but in this case, the most common fungus disease is crown or root rot, mainly when adding more water to the pot. When an orchid gets infected with this disease, you can smell a foul odor from the soil and check this matter, in parallel to also seeing some sporal growth on the stem.
As for the external features, you will spot how the leaves also start to turn yellow and brown. In addition to crown rot, other notable orchid diseases are fusarium wilt, downy mildew, powdery mildew, leaf spot, and brown spot.
To protect orchids from diseases, the first thing to do is to keep the soil dry for a long time. Put the pot outside so the light and wind dry the medium quickly. You can also replace the top layer of the soggy soil with organic manure, like compost.
It would be best if you kept the surroundings clean, and this is because fungi and bacteria love to reside in the dirt and attack plants. If a disease spreads, separate the orchid from the other plants and prune off the infected leaves. Then, spray fungicides or bactericides, depending on the disease, and wait to add water until the soil becomes dry.
15. Repot When You Think Is Necessary
Repotting is a part of orchid growing; this would be through the potting medium as orchids cannot stay in shape forever. It breaks down after a year, and you must transplant the orchid to a new potting medium, in addition to the shelf life also being limited too. So, when you see cracks on them, you should immediately transfer the orchid to the new pot.
Luckily, repotting an orchid is super easy; begin by filling a new pot with the orchid mix, sphagnum or Spanish moss, and bark. Then, pluck out any discolored leaves on the orchid, and after this, give water and let the soil become damp.
Next, turn the pot upside down and give it a few pats, and the orchid will come out easily; after this, clean the roots with water and sterilize them with three percent hydrogen peroxide. Cutting off any dead roots you see in this step would be best. Now, put the orchid in the new pot and pat it down. Let the orchid settle in the new potting medium and apply water once a week has passed.
All in all, growing orchid seeds naturally is not difficult at all. You have to know all the steps we explained in detail here. Now, take a look at the key takeaways of the article to revise the important details described above:
- Get a flask, fill it with top-notch medium, provide the optimal environment, and transplant the pot when right.
- De-flask the orchid when the root system develops, and you see some leaves on it.
- Ensure the young orchid adequately receives indirect light, water, and fertilizers.
- If the orchid faces stress, like unsuitable temperature, pests, diseases, just follow the care measures immediately to minimize the damage.
You don’t have to watch the “how to grow orchids from seed video.” Follow everything we have discussed in this article, and you can easily grow your orchid from seed, and that’s all about how to grow Phalaenopsis orchids from seed.
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