How to grow orchids, is a question that one would ask as they are interested in seeing this plant thrive. The simple solution is to choose the right pot, fill it with nutrient-rich soil, sowing or plant cuttings, water them weekly, and fertilize them biweekly.
So what this means is that you need to give it the right requirements so that the plant would find it safe to grow and thrive. Now, keep reading this article, so you will know the right way to grow them well.
How To Grow Orchids The Correct Way?
To grow orchids the correct way, you should first select the right variety, and select the right pot. Place it in the right spot, prepare the potting mix, and sow the seed or propagate. Ensure to water and fertilize properly, check for pests, treat them, and repot when needed.
In short, as you are trying to an orchid, decide which variety you will grow before doing anything. Then, buy a medium-sized pot, fill it with soil or potting mix, and sow seeds/plant cuttings. Then, give water and nutrient doses at the right time to make sure the growing stays smooth.
– Select the Right Variety
The first step of growing an orchid is selecting the right species/varieties. The problem is- there are lots of orchid varieties today, and it is hard for gardeners to pick one from them. Don’t worry; we’ve got you.
If you are a beginner, we suggest you go for an easy-growing orchid. The ones that are not hard to grow are Cattleya, Phalaenopsis orchids, Paphiopedilum, or moth orchids.
These orchids are great to grow because they can keep growing even when the temperature drops to 55 degrees Fahrenheit even till it rises to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, they produce colorful and captivating flowers too. So, get a variety of these orchids, and they will not stress you in the long run.
– Select the Right Pot
After deciding which orchid you will grow, the next step is buying the perfect pot. Most orchids grow best in a medium-sized pot, as the plant is going to grow and thrive and not feel like the roots are tightly squeezed. As a result, small pots are not recommended because they offer less space for roots to stretch properly.
There are better choices than bigger pots or containers too, and this is because the volume in them is more. This is why you may end up watering more unintentionally in a large container or pot. Don’t take adding more water lightly, as orchids can get killed more easily due to overwatering than under watering, and this is the issue to tackle with the pot size.
Moreover, we also suggest you go for plastic pots. The reason is that roots are unlikely to stick to plastic. Furthermore, terra-cotta pots are also good because they protect root health. Just make sure the pot or container you buy has a drainage hole.
– Choose the Right Spot
Right pot can do no good to orchids if you provide unsuitable growing conditions. Therefore, deciding where to put the pot, even before you sow the seeds or plant cuttings, is crucial.
– Prepare Potting Mix or Soil
After finding the perfect spot for orchids, the next step is to fill the new pot with orchid mix, which is often made of top-quality soil and bark chips. We also suggest making it more powerful by adding sphagnum moss and compost, so that it would trap in the humidity.
– Sow the Seed
When the potting soil is ready, decide how to grow an orchid. There are two ways to do this-via seeds and cuttings, as they would give you the best result. Both ways have benefits and problems, but most gardeners prefer cuttings because they are easy to grow, but the chances of successful propagation are less.
If you sow seeds, then orchids may take a few more extra years than cuttings to bloom. But the chance of successful growth is a lot higher. Moreover, you will also have to spend money on buying new seeds, and providing the right care requirements so that they mature.
So, how to grow orchids from seeds? For this, you must buy seeds of the top-notch orchid variety. Then, get a gelatinous substance and growth hormones, as orchid seeds do not have nutrition for germination.
Make a hole of up to one inch in the substance; most plant enthusiasts also suggest putting in two seeds. Of course, if one does not germinate, the other will, and if both germinate, you can always pull out any one orchid seedling, and grow more.
However, growing with the seeds is time-consuming. You may even have to wait months to see the first orchid leaf. Not to dishearten you, but it may take more than five years to see orchid blooming.
– Propagate Them
You must now also be thinking about how to grow orchids from cuttings. It’s quite simple, make a stem cut just above the node from a healthy orchid for this. The cutting should be at least 10 inches long and have aerial roots, and then, cut the stem cutting in half; each should have two nodes.
Next, add sphagnum moss to a tray and put one stem horizontally. Ensure enough moisture is in the medium to start the new growth, and after doing so, you should try to do the same with the other stem too. The roots will gradually strengthen with time, leading to spike developments.
Gardeners are now growing some orchids in water too. They don’t use any ounce of soil or organic matter. The results have also been magnificent, which is why you should give this method a shot.
When thinking about propagation, you would also think about, how to grow orchids without soil? First, get a tank, fill the water, and leave the cutting roots suspended. You can also use bark to support the pot if it is not sitting right. Let the roots stay submerged in the water for five days, and then give them a break of one day to get dry.
When growing in water, it is important to regularly add a dose of liquid fertilizer to fulfill the nutritional requirement. Furthermore, make sure to change the water after every 14 days so that the cuttings stay healthy. That’s how to grow orchids in water.
– Water Smartly
Growing an orchid plant using stem cutting hydroponically is tricky, and that is why most gardeners go for the soil medium. Regardless of your chosen method, caring for the root’s watering needs is super significant. Orchids love humidity between 55 and 70 percent as they are tropical plants, but if it is less, then spray water on them regularly.
As discussed above, you drain out the used water and add fresh water after every 14 days when you are growing an orchid hydroponically. If you prefer soil medium, watering is a lot easier, but don’t overdo it because the plant would become weaker in the roots.
Generally, it is recommended to water orchids once a week; however, on hot days, you may even have to apply another watering application, when you see that it is necessary. But note that making soil excessively wet is detrimental for the orchids. Therefore, you must be extra careful about how much you moisten it.
It is actually better if you don’t follow a strict weekly schedule. Only add water to the soil when it becomes partially dry, even if it takes more than a week, around 10 days, too. You can use a moisture detector to know if the soil is moisture-less. If you don’t have one, touch the soil with your finger and see if it is dry or wet.
To avoid overwatering, you can also go for spraying instead of just pouring water. Furthermore, the ice cube method is also famous among orchid gardeners. In this, you place three ice cubes on top of the soil. When they melt, roots will absorb the moisture.
– Fertilize at the Right Time
Another important part of growing an orchid is fertilization, and it is best if you try fertilizing your plant after every two weeks to fulfill its nutritional needs. The nutrient application is even more significant when the plant is in the vegetative phase. Nutrients are critical because orchids generate energy from them; this energy is utilized for growing new leaves and spikes.
On the other hand, if you want to see orchid flowers quickly, we suggest you stop applying fertilizers before the bud development stage. This will force the plant to slow down vegetative growth and initiate flowering.
Furthermore, when you see orchids blooming, don’t apply nutrients either; it is because they can again start the growth of greener parts instead of producing more buds. So, when can you again add fertilizer? Well, the best time to re-fertilize orchids is when the blooming period is about to end, this is when you should be applying nutrients; that time may lead to more bud development.
The good thing is- you can add any type of fertilizer you want: liquid, powdered, organic, etc., and all work wonders. However, it is best to go for the ones specifically manufactured for orchids.
Note that fertilizer application should only be made in the growing season of orchids because they need minerals during this period the most. The growing season starts in early spring and lasts six months. When it’s over, orchids stop growing and become dormant. So, adding more nutrients during the off-season will do no good for orchids.
– Check for Pests
When growing orchids, you must keep an eye on pests. It is because your efforts to grow an orchid can fail if the pests attack it. Lots of pests damage the orchids, but the main ones are: the spider mites, aphids, thrips, slugs and snails.
These pests feast on different parts, which makes an orchid fragile and unaesthetic. To spot them, carefully observe the plant early in the morning as most of them attack orchids now.
Spray neem oil instantly if you see many pests roaming on the orchids. For quicker results, you can go for chemical insecticides, and you should also, follow preventive measures printed on the label, like wearing gloves, a mask, etc., to protect yourself from the fumes.
If the diseases have attacked the orchid, it is also important to deal with them immediately. If the fungus has attacked, spray fungicides containing ammonium and potassium bicarbonate. On the other hand, when the reason for the disease is bacteria, then apply bactericides with cupric hydroxide.
– Repot When Necessary
Repotting is a part of the growth process of orchids. You must be thinking, how? Well, a time always comes when orchids need to be repotted. It would help if you did this after a year of sowing seed or planting the cutting.
Look for three signs to know about the exact time to do it when the potting medium is breaking or forming clumps when the roots have crawled out well beyond the drainage hole, or if the new growth is not what you expected.
If these signs exist, get a new pot and add potting mix. After this, you should try to use a simple knife and work it down from the sides to “detach” the soil from the pot. Then, invert the pot and pat it on the back, as the orchid will come out of it easily. Lastly, clean the roots and cut any dead parts you see.
Then, soak the roots in water until they get a bit soft. When they do, carefully transplant the orchid to the new pot and fill the gaps by adding sphagnum moss. Then, water the pot after a week, and the orchid will start growing again; remember to follow orchid care measures if you want the plant to stay healthy and bloom more.
Many newbies look for an “orchid growing for beginners” guide but are disappointed as little information is available. That is why we wrote this article so you can learn about every point and stage of growing an orchid in detail, but here are the key takeaways of the article to refresh the important points in your mind:
- Ensure the pot is manageable if you want the growth to occur seamlessly.
- The soil or potting medium should be well drained with every vital nutrient that orchids need for thriving.
- Go for cuttings instead of sowing seeds, as they are easier to grow and take less time to bloom.
- Apply water once a week and fertilizers once after every two weeks.
- You should maintain a proper distance for air movements between them. Also, prune off some shoots to improve air circulation too.
Also, ensure the orchids get at least six to seven hours of indirect light daily if you want them to bloom smoothly. Following these plant care points will ensure orchids keep growing without problems.
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