All about the maintenance of orchids

All about the maintenance of orchids

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How to maintain orchids? The great diversity of orchids, distributed around the world, represents a real difficulty in defining a general maintenance strategy for these plants. Each species has its particular constraints, and this requires precise knowledge. However, from the choice of one of the very popular, the Phalaenopsis, it is possible to describe the broad outlines of the cultivation of common orchids. These general principles can be adapted, with a few criteria, to each other from the orchids of florists and garden centers. Phalaenopsis, native to Southeast Asia, is an epiphytic plant, that is to say which grows on trees. This natural environment has been supplemented, for epiphytic orchids, by a composite substrate. Phalaenopsis comes from moth, moth, evoking its flower, hence its name "butterfly orchid". There are many hybrids of this species, which will allow everyone to exercise their know-how in the cultivation of these plants that make you dream.

Choice of Phalaenopsis and its place in the house

Your choice will be on a subject of apparently good health and rich in flower buds. The leaves - no less than three - without spots, should be very green, firm and fleshy. The roots must be numerous and have a green or red tip, knowing that some must be aerial and extend beyond the pot, which must have good stability. Avoid thermal shock during the return journey home. In the appropriate room, install the orchid at the edge of the window for sufficient light. No direct sun; dim the light if you are facing south. No contact with the windows due to hot or cold. If the window is to the north, it is better to provide artificial light.

Phalaenopsis: growing conditions

Phalaenopsis is native to tropical humid and warm forests, hence the need for a day temperature of 18 to 30 ° C. That of the night should never be lower than 12 ° C. The plant needs a humidity of at least 60%, which will be obtained thanks to the proximity of a tray lined with clay balls half bathing in water, or that of a humidifier. Phalaenopsis does not like excess water, its roots need to "breathe". Watering once or twice a week with weakly mineralized water is more than enough. Never water in the saucer or the flowerpot. Avoid wetting the heart of the leaves. The best technique is to partially immerse the jar for a few minutes and drain it immediately. It is still possible to spray the leaves or aerial roots during hot weather. During the active growth of the plant, from March to September, we can fertilize with a liquid fertilizer "special orchids", twice a month. To avoid "burning" the roots, add the fertilizer a few hours after watering. When the flower stalks appear, stimulated by the fertilizer, staking wisely without tightening the ties too much.

Repotting the orchid

Repotting once a year is an opportunity to renew the too decomposed and packed substrate, which affects the breathing of the roots. Sometimes too, the too generous development of the plant leads to a lack of stability of the pot. The ideal time to repot is when new leaves are born. Never repot during rest or flowering. Concretely, take the orchid out of its old pot, breaking it if necessary. Cut dead or damaged roots. Choose the new clear plastic container to monitor the condition of the roots and substrate. Line the bottom with a draining material such as clay balls. The plant is presented in the middle of the container, the aerial roots at the edge of it. Then fill with the new special substrate "orchids", composed of pine bark, sphagnum (peat moss), charcoal and fragments of expanded polystyrene.

Phalaenopsis returns to flowering

Phalaenopsis can bloom again within two months. Cut the deflowering stem just above the second or third node. After secondary flowering, cut flush with the flower stalk to stimulate the formation of new stems in the leaf axils. Sometimes seedlings, the "keikis", develop at the top of the flower stalks. Separate them and put them in pots only after sufficient development of the leaves and roots.

Other interesting orchids

The Cattleya first and its hybrids bear magnificent shimmering flowers (yellow, orange, pink, violet) with a labellum - differentiated lower petal - wide and often contrasting colors. Plant however a little more delicate than the Phalaenopsis, it needs more light, temperatures of 20 to 22 ° C during the day, cooler at night of at least 6 ° C. A new flowering requires total rest in winter, therefore less sunshine, less water and lower temperatures.
Cymbidium, also well known, likes to live outside from May to October, and to bloom again, needs a rest period in winter in a cool room with little watering. The list could be supplemented by other orchids, available from traders, such as Dendrobium, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum and Vanda. You just have to choose!