Best Potting Mix for Orchids
Wed, Aug 04, 2021

The Best Potting Mix for Orchids: What Ingredients to Pay Attention To

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Best Potting Mix for Orchids

Recently, such a flower as an orchid has become a rather popular gift and a wonderful interior decoration. The plant won its love for itself thanks to its beautiful flowering and unpretentious care. And for a tropical plant to feel good at home it is very important to transplant the orchid into a new pot with a suitable substrate. Today we want to tell you what kind of soil do orchids need and how to make a suitable one at home.

When to Transplant the Orchid?

It is not recommended to immediately start transplanting the flower after the purchase. If you bought an orchid that has already bloomed, it should be transplanted into new potting soil no earlier than 3-4 weeks later as the plant must get used to the new habitat. If a flowering plant has been purchased, it is necessary to wait until the end of its flowering, since transplanting phalaenopsis during this period can stress the plant and lead to falling flowers and drying out the buds.

After that, replanting the orchid is recommended every 1-2 years. The most common signs that it is time to transplant the plant are:

1. Soil environment began to deteriorate.

2. The pot becomes cramped for the growing plant.

3. The roots begin to ache or rot.

A properly chosen pot for an orchid is not the key to success. The most important point in preparation for transplanting a plant is the choice of soil.

Do Orchids Need Special Soil?

Do Orchids Need Special Soil?

Talking about what soil is best for orchids, first of all, we must pay attention to the unusual structure of this delightful flower. Based on the structure of the roots and the natural habitat of this plant, the usual substrate would not suit them. Qualitative characteristics of soil for orchids: breathable and permeable, with a slightly acidic reaction, and with a low concentration of nutrients. You can buy a potting mix for orchids in a specialty store or make it yourself.

What Soil to Use for Orchids

What Soil to Use for Orchids

Soil for orchids should be good for air permeability, that is, it should be drainage. In addition, it must retain moisture and be slow to decompose. Finding the best potting mix for your flower can be a little tricky the first time around. You would likely need to experiment a little to find the perfect one for you and your plant.

An excellent orchid medium can be a bark mix. It can be used for most varieties of this flower, as it is quite close to an epiphyte’s natural growing environment.

Fir Bark

There are three varieties: coarse, medium, and fine. Coarser bark dries faster and allows more air to pass through. Fine, in turn, drives more slowly and retains more moisture.

Tree Fern

This mixture is also available in various varieties. It decomposes rather slowly and at the same time drains fast. But keep in mind that it has a low moisture retention capacity.

Lava Rock

It is perfect for orchids as it has excellent aeration and good water retention. Another advantage of Lava rock is that it does not decompose, which means the plants can stay in the mixture for longer.

Peat Moss

Another good option for terrestrial orchids. It retains water and air perfectly. But you must be careful when using it because if it is packed too tightly it will retain too much water.

Coconut Husk

It is a good absorbent medium for orchids and degrades slowly. Plus, it’s pretty easy to find it in specialty stores.

Perlite

At first glance, it resembles bits of styrofoam. But in fact, it is volcanic glass, the common name for which is volcanic popcorn. It is excellent for orchid potting soil due to its porosity and its ability to retain moisture and nutrients, while also removing excess moisture. Gardeners love Perlite for its affordability, lightness, and non-toxicity. But it is better not to use it separately, as it can hold too much water.

When choosing materials for a potting mix for orchids, keep in mind that epiphytes in nature grow on mossy limbs, and terrestrial orchids prefer sphagnum moss in bogs.

How to Make Orchid Soil with Bark Mix

How to Make Orchid Soil with Bark Mix

To make a homemade orchid potting mix for a wide range of uses, you need to follow these three steps.

1.First of all you need to prepare primary potting material. To do this, choose from the above the type of bark you want to use. This kind of bark is an essential part of a good potting mix for plants as it provides airflow. As the main potting material, you can also use such orchid mulch as ground Douglas fir bark, Osmunda tree fern fiber, or ground coastal redwood bark.

2. Then prepare secondary material for potting mix. At this stage, you need to prepare materials that will retain moisture. Coconut husk, peat moss, or perlite are great options.

3. It remains to mix everything. Mix primary and secondary materials in a 5: 1 ratio.

If you are the owner of such varieties as oncidiums, Miltonia, then the following orchid potting mix will suit your plants. Mix fine coco chips, redwood bark, or fine fir bark with charcoal and perlite in a 4: 1: 1 ratio.

When you are in doubt about what kind of soil to use for orchids, then you can use the following simple combination, which will not harm your plant. This mix is also great for cattleyas, moth orchids, and most mature orchids. To do this, mix coco husk chunks or medium fir bark with charcoal and perlite in a 4: 1: 1 ratio.

Orchid Pots

Almost all orchids do not like transplanting and tolerate it somewhat painfully, because the roots are inevitably injured, sometimes they grow into the walls of the pot.

The roots of epiphytic orchids not only absorb water and nutrients but also participate in photosynthesis, therefore, either pot with holes are needed. So some of the roots can freely crawl out or transparent pots. In addition to pots for planting plants, they use plastic baskets, baskets made of bamboo sticks (they are smooth, and orchid roots do not stick to them).

Epiphytic orchids are transplanted after 5-6 years, terrestrial ones – after 2-3 years. But that’s in theory. Plants are transplanted when the roots come out of the drainage holes, grow far beyond the pot when the bark turns into dust if mold or salt deposits have formed on the surface of the bark.

In general, both the root system of plants and the aerial part grow rather slowly, and in the first year after transplantation, they only have time to take root. Planting in two large, spacious containers or frequent transplanting only inhibits the growth of plants. After transplanting, the flower may not bloom in the first year, or bloom with small, less beautiful flowers. Plants would only bloom after good rooting. If the water in your area is not the softest, even if you boil it, then it is better to replant the plants annually, as salts are deposited in the soil, and this is harmful to the health of orchids.
Thus, it is difficult to answer unequivocally what kind of soil do orchids like. It depends on the variety of your plant. Therefore, when choosing the ingredients for the mixture, do not be afraid to experiment to find the best option.

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