Gardening Tips

How to plant orchids

How to plant orchids

Orchids are a whole family of plants that has more than 25,000 species to its credit. These are flowers with a very characteristic shape, which can be of a large number of colors and which are increasingly popular as gift flowers. They are currently widespread throughout practically the entire world, but are especially important in India, Madagascar, China and the Himalayas.

If you want to learn how to plant these beautiful plants with spectacular flowers, keep reading this EcologíaVerde article in which we show you a practical guide on how to plant orchids with steps and various tips.

Pots for orchids: which one to choose

The vast majority of orchids are epiphytic plants. This means that these are species that in their natural habitat live by anchoring themselves on trees or rocks instead of being buried. Therefore, if you bury your orchid in a pot with soil in the usual way for other plants, you will most likely end up killing the plant due to rotting of its roots, which are better if they are more ventilated.

Thus, the choice of pot is very important in the case of orchids, since there are various types of containers other than the traditional clay pots and that are especially recommended for these plants. The usual thing with orchids will be to use small containers, although there are exceptions, such as the case of Cymbidium orchids, which need larger pots in which their large root system fits. These are the most recommended orchid pots:

  • Clear plastic pots: These are the most suitable for orchids that carry out photosynthesis through their roots, as well as for those whose roots tell us when the plant needs watering, since they allow us to see its root system without the need to manipulate the plant.
  • Metal mesh pots: they allow greater breathing of the roots, and their design makes them easy to hang in high places, both for aesthetic purposes and to place the plant in points where it receives more sunlight.
  • Wooden pots: They are made from a special type of rot-resistant wood. Its design also leaves small holes, which help improve both the breathing of the root system and the drainage of the container. It is advisable to cover your interior walls with a layer of moss before adding the substrate.

Of course, we can also resort to traditional ceramic pots or specific pots for orchids that are sold in specialized stores.

How to plant orchids - Pots for orchids: which one to choose

Substrate for orchids: which is better

There are three big types of substrates for orchids that can be made depending on the specific species of orchid. All of them coincide in their absence of soil, which does not benefit the roots of these plants. We have chosen mixes made from one part perlite, one part medium grade charcoal, and four parts fine, medium or coarse grained coconut husk or fiber or fir bark.

  • Coarse mix: this substrate is especially recommended for Cymbidium and other large species.
  • Medium mix: this is recommended for Cattleya and Phalaenopsis species, among others.
  • Fine mix: It is one of the most used for Oncidium, Paphiopedilum, Oncidiinae and basically all those that require higher levels of humidity due to their small roots.

In this other EcologíaVerde post you can find a guide on How to make a substrate for orchids.

How to plant orchids step by step

To transplant or plant an orchidfollow these steps:

  1. Clean the plant of debris: Remove any dirt or moss from your orchid before planting it in its new location.
  2. Prune bad roots: some roots may have blackened or shriveled. Cut them with a properly disinfected tool so that the plant does not lose energy in that part in poor condition.
  3. Place the orchid in the container: then fill it with the mixture of one of the three substrates described above, depending on the specific type of orchid.
  4. Give it a suitable location: Orchids need a good supply of light and to be in an area where air circulates, so make sure you place your new container in a suitable place. It is preferable that they receive light indirectly, although in abundance.
How to plant orchids - How to plant orchids step by step

How to plant orchids on a log or tree – steps

Plant orchids on a tree trunk supporting them is very simple. Follow these instructions and you will see that it is not complicated.

  1. Prepare some mesh cutouts: these will be in charge of keeping the plant attached to the support until its roots take hold.
  2. Fill the pockets with some substrate: thus, the orchid will have a food source until it is firmly entrenched.
  3. Fix the orchid to the trunk with the mesh with substrate: Over time, the roots of the orchid will cling to their supporting trunk, and you can safely remove the mesh.

Here you can find some tips to grow orchids on trees.

How to plant orchids - How to plant orchids on a log or tree - steps

When to transplant orchids

Orchids should be transplanted approximately every 2 or 3 years, but the plant gives us some signals when it needs a change of container. If the roots are dying lack of spacethe plant is too big for its pot or the leaves closest to the substrate have dried or withered, it means that the orchid needs a transplant.

In this other article you can learn more about when and how to transplant an orchid.

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