The majority of orchids are planted into specific potting mixes for orchids.
But how to make a potting mix that is suitable for orchids?
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How to Make Orchid Potting Mix
The orchid does not want to be planted in dirt. Orchids enjoy a variety of media that include things like perlite, lava rock, fir bark, sphagnum moss, redwood bark, as well as coconut and osmunda fibers. Younger plants with smaller bulbs prefer a coarse texture while more mature plants need a finer texture while maximizing the airflow that the plant receives.
Better Than My Grandmother’s Spaghetti Recipe
We all have our preferred recipes whether it is grandma’s spaghetti sauce, or how to make our own orchid potting mix.
Although my grandma is still holding onto her spaghetti secrets and some family members are hopeful that the information is at least in her will, I will be happy to share my preferred orchid potting mix recipe instead.
As mentioned above, the texture of your potting mix should be largely determined by the size and age of the plant.
Towards that end, you should identify whether a fine or coarse texture will better serve your planting.
Remember, a young plant with small bulbs will appreciate a finer mixture while more mature plants will benefit from the stability afforded by coarse potting mix.
Once decided, I prefer a 4:1:1 ratio of mixture for my orchids.
- Fir bark
As with everything in life, the devil is in the details, so make sure that you do not shirk on the mixing process before planting your orchids.
If Not Dirt, What Do Orchids Like
If we consider how orchids thrive in the wild, we may recall that we do not see these beautiful, exotic flowers living on the ground in dirt.
Rather, when noted, we see that orchid seed nests are in the height of trees where they are perfectly poised to enjoy the conditions they need to thrive.
Since you are unlikely to want to plant a tree in your kitchen prior to enjoying your orchid, what is the ideal media for orchids?
Luckily, an orchid can enjoy a variety of media that include things like perlite, lava rock, fir bark, sphagnum moss, redwood bark, as well as coconut and osmunda fibers, among others.
Fixation: The Art of Giving Your Orchid Support
If you were to drill down to the taxonomy of the orchid root structure, you will note that growth results in thick leaves and flowers relying on only the smallest of root structures to hold or fix the plant in place.
By providing a potting mix that affords the root system to secure itself by wrapping around will better bud, bloom, and produce new flowers.
Owing to the fact that most roots are seeking something firm for support, your orchid roots will tend to grow in contact with the side of the pot.
Adding hard elements to your potting mix will add additional stability, and gravel, lava rock, and aquarium rocks can all add to increased stability.
Texture and Your Orchid
When it comes to texture and your orchid’s potting mix, the two ends of the available range include course and fine graded medium.
To decide which is ideal for your plant depends on the size of your roots.
Smaller rooted plants will prefer a fine graded medium while older and mature plants with bigger bulbs will prefer a course grade.
Also, since finer grade mediums allow for a damper environment, humidity-loving orchids will thrive in a finer grade medium.
When selecting the perfect texture grade for your orchids, keep in mind the size of its bulbs and the tendencies of individual species.
Your Orchid Potting Mix and Air Circulation
Since the nutrients that feed our orchids do not come from the soil below, but rather from the atmosphere above, the amount of air circulation you give your orchid is critical to the plant’s success.
As tree dwellers, orchids are well poised to send their shoots in search of airborne nutrients.
Forming “aerial” roots, in their natural environment the orchid’s roots will not only grow into the potting medium but will also float separately gleaning nutrients from the air.
This will be replicated in your home. When you see roots “doing their thing” above ground that is just your orchid being the nest orchid it can be.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding How To Make Orchid Potting Mix
What is the best type of container to use when planting orchids?
The key factor in container choice for orchids to thrive is drainage. As the orchid’s roots must be wet for the majority of the time, but not allowed to sit in water, so a pot with drainage holes is a must. The best pot type to use for orchids is translucent or clear type. Orchids in the wild expose their roots to light and air, so using these types of containers allow light to pass through.
How should I fertilize my orchids?
Since orchids do not grow in soil, using a well-balanced fertilizer made especially for orchids should do. Add fertilizer at the very least once monthly, but you can place some once weekly. Make sure to follow the instructions in mixing the fertilizer with water. After which, use the said mixture to soak the orchid’s roots.
Orchids are Unique to Its Roots
Orchids are beautiful plants that we love to have adorned our homes, but they are particular in the ways they do their growing.
Chief amongst its needs is the proper growing medium.
Unlike your standard potted plant that is perfectly fine with the minimum of work, the orchid demands its own potting mix, which allows the beautiful flower to thrive.
If you ever wanted to bond with all aspects of a plant’s development, your orchid’s growth will be perfect.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.