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Orchids are very popular. With their filigree growth and exotic flowers they bring glamor and color variety to the windowsill. Orchid lovers want to keep their favorite after flowering and enjoy the flowers for a long time. However, orchids need special care to grow and develop their inflorescences, adapted to their natural growth conditions. It starts with the right plant substrate.
Where do orchids grow in nature?
Most orchids grow where high humidity prevails. They are called epiphytische orchids, because they grow on trees and hold only with their roots on the bark. Their sometimes extremely long-hanging air roots absorb the nutrients via the humidity. This living space can not be realized in the living room. Especially the low humidity is problematic. Only set on a piece of tree bark orchids would enter in no time.
AHA! The right planting substrate for orchids must keep the roots moist while allowing the roots to dry.
How should the substrate be?
The substrate must be airy to prevent rot. Only earth orchids constantly need a moist substrate. At the same time, it must have water-retaining properties so that the orchid can absorb nutrients. It has to support the orchid, so that the roots find support. The individual components must be adapted to the size of the orchid, because smaller orchids need finer ingredients than large, robust orchids.
Possible components of orchid soil:
- pieces of bark
- Wood pieces / Borkebrocken
- expanded clay
Orchid substrate from the hardware store usually contains bark mulch, peat, polystyrene and often also plant pests. Due to the organic constituents of such substrates, mold may appear due to the rotting process.
Tip: Replace orchid soil with organic ingredients every few years!
Mix plant substrate yourself
Best of all, a mixture of equal parts of pieces of bark, charcoal pieces / powder for disinfection and wood has proven itself. Important is a combination of moisturizing and fast-drying surfaces in the plant substrate. Bark absorbs a lot of water and dries quickly. To loosen up pieces of wood come to it. They store a lot of water and the surface dries only slowly. The same properties have coconut fibers. Moss can also store a lot of water, but it rots quickly. Styrofoam as a loosening is not recommended. It does not absorb water at all.
Where can I get the items?
Appropriate pollen or pine bark is available for a few euros to buy in packs of low volume. As pieces of wood recommend cutting waste of trees, which are often offered in garden centers. Both components should be well ventilated, pest-free and dry. For pest infestation, bark and wood at the highest level can be put into the microwave for a short time. If the components are still wet, it is recommended to dry them at 50° C in the oven for a few hours. Charcoal may still be left over from the last barbecue season or can also be purchased at the hardware store.
Make the substrate
Under no circumstances should the mixture simply be poured together. So too many small parts get into the plant substrate, which additionally densify it. To make the substrate as loosely as possible, the individual ingredients are put together on a pad with your hands.
A plant pot which has become too small can be peeled off better if the orchid is thoroughly watered beforehand. The bulky roots become softer and do not break off so quickly. By a slight beating against the bottom of the pot, the orchid can be easily dissolved. If the roots are fused with the pot, then the use of an old knife is appropriate. With this, the inner edge of the pot is circled carefully and the root system is loosened. Old substrate can then be removed by gentle shaking. Now the root system of the orchid is checked.
AHA! Dried and rotten roots are cut off with sharp scissors.
If vermin have settled in the roots, then place the roots of the orchid in a bucket of water for a few hours. The pests then die off.
Now the bottom of the pot is covered with a drainage layer. It prevents the roots from being damaged by waterlogging. These are coarse pebbles or expanded clay. Apply a layer of substrate to the drainage and gently place the orchid in the container. The existing spaces are now filled with the rest of the substrate.The new pot should be no larger than two centimeters. Roots that have grown above the plant substrate so far, remain in the new pot above the substrate. If you choose a pot of clear plastic, then the roots get enough light.
Tip: Lightly push the pot so that the larger pieces slide into the spaces between the roots. You can also carefully follow with a wooden stick from the top.
AHA! Do not fertilize or pour for 14 days, just spray!
Now the orchid should not be too bright and too hot for the roots to get used to the new substrate. By not watering the orchid, any injuries to the roots can heal well without becoming infected with bacteria. Support young shoots with a plastic rod and special orchid clips.
What else belongs to orchid care?
Faded shoots are shortened by always being cut off over one eye. For example, with the Frauenschuh, only the lower third is allowed to stand.
What promotes the flowering of the flowers?
A dry period and a subsequent bright, warm state stimulate the formation of flowering shoots.
Is there a specific time to repot?
It depends on budding and varies from species to species. Use the vegetation break to repot.
When should not be repackaged?
From November to March repotting is unfavorable, because in these months lack of brightness and lack of heat make the growth difficult.
How do I know that the repot has succeeded?
The leaves remain strong and firm. A new sprouting can take up to half a year. Give the orchid this rest period.