In the wild, orchids attach to the bark of trees, extract nutrients through aerial roots. When growing a house, orchids provide conditions close to natural. The tree bark for orchids serves as a suitable substrate. It is chemically inert, passes air well and retains moisture when watering.
- Composition of the substrate
- What kind of wood is suitable
- Where to find and how to collect the substrate
- How to properly prepare the substrate
When planting orchids, they use a purchased substrate (biomix).
Often in stores there is stale soil, the qualities of which have suffered over time. decorative flowers do not plant it: it threatens to dry out or rotting the roots.
Florists who grow orchids for a long time, prepare the mixture with their own hands, using such components:
- pine wood;
- sphagnum (freshly collected swamp moss);
- shredded activated carbon;
- pine cones.
Self-mixed soil from the listed components used for growing at home varieties of phalaenopsis, dendrobium and their hybrid. They feed only due to aerial roots and do not require deciduous fertile land in the soil. Soil is suitable for exotic flowers in an open and closed system.
Not only pine bark can be used for orchids.Birch bark, oak or spruce wood are suitable, but exfoliation is rare in trees. The fallen bark of larch, arborvitae and cypress is often used in the preparation of store mixes.
Wood is an inert and breathable soil base. Thanks phytoncides, parasites do not start in the substrate. The auxiliary part of the soil is cones, but they are not always used. The scales are separated from each other, hold for 5-7 minutes. in hot water, dried and added to the mixture.
Sphagnum absorbs and retains water well, maintains the integrity of the soil mixture. Activated carbon performs its intended purpose. The component draws toxic substances from soil and water.
Young plants also add peat to the substrate: they require a high content of nutrients. Some varieties require perlite, broken brick, and river sand.
Which wood is suitable
Not every pine bark for orchids is a good substrate. Florists recommend collecting bark only from felled or dried pines.
Resin contains high concentrations of live pine wood. This component is not suitable for phalaenopsis. Dead parts are more difficult to remove from the trunk, but they are practically devoid of tarry substances.
It is allowed to use wood if it meets the requirements:
- is easily broken in the hands: this indicates a small amount of resins;
- has a uniform color without burnt spots;
- has a uniform structure without rotten or rotten areas.
Oak or other coniferous wood must also meet the requirements.
Only the top layer of the bark is recommended to be cut off or broken off. All areas with faded (darkened), rotten structure are removed from the material. Rotten material is not used at all; putrefactive bacteria quickly spread in the wood and harm the plant to which it serves as a substrate. Dust and insects crush the material immediately.
Where to find and how to collect the substrate
Preparation of the bark for planting orchids begins with the search for suitable raw materials. Pine wood is harvested in a pine forest, planting, in a park. The place of collection should be far from busy highways, chemical, metallurgical, oil refineries. The bark is cut with a sharp penknife from fallen trees or stumps.
Sphagnum is collected in the forest in low-lying wet areas, and there are also moss in water bodies. Only fresh and green plants are harvested.
The substrate is easy to find at the sawmill. There you don’t even have to collect it. The upper dry layers fall off the trunk on their own during sawing or other processing.The material is also examined for compliance with the requirements.
How to properly prepare the substrate
Do-it-yourself preparation of the bark for orchids includes culling of poor-quality material, additional drying and heat treatment. During drying and heat treatment, adult parasites, larvae and eggs die in the material.
An oven is used for thermal drying. It is heated to 120 ° C, the wood is left for 5-10 minutes. It is recommended to cook the biomaterial when preparing the mixture at home. Before boiling, the wood is ground. Small pieces are easier to boil and faster to dry, the effect of this procedure is better.
Heat treatment of pine bark for orchids is carried out in galvanized buckets. The material is placed on the bottom and pressed down with something heavy. The bucket is not filled with liquid to the top. The distance from the water surface to the edges of the bucket should be 5-10 cm. The chopped wood is boiled over low heat for an hour. Then they allow the liquid to cool, and the resinous soot is removed from the warm bucket (it is difficult to scrape off the dry resin). The contents of the bucket are poured into a colander, moisture gradually drains. They don’t finish processing the substrate.
Dried orchid bark with its own hands is chopped with a disinfected sharp knife.For young seedlings, the parameters of the fractions are 1: 1 cm, for adults – 1: 1.5 cm. The crushed pieces are kneaded with the fingers to make the edges less sharp.
To dry the substrate, they are divided into several heaps, folded into thin paper bags for protection against dust and insects. If white mold has developed during storage on pine wood, boiling is not required to reanimate the material. Plants in the wild come into symbiosis with fungi.
Prepare for planting and transplanting plants also requires sphagnum. It is recommended to soak in clean water with the addition of several potassium permanganate granules.
Pine wood is suitable for long-term storage for 2-3 years. It is recommended to pre-harvest it for transplanting young plants, which is carried out annually.
It’s not enough to prepare the bark for orchids, you need to plant the plant correctly and take care of it at home . For flowers use transparent pots with a large number of holes at the bottom (open system) or glass containers, narrowed at the bottom and expanded at the top. Before transplanting the plant, the container is treated with a slightly colored solution of potassium permanganate.
Stages of planting:
- the bottom of the pot is covered with drainage at a quarter of the height (expanded clay, brick chips are suitable);
- put the plant in a pot;
- carefully cover the orchid with the prepared substrate, the largest fragments of wood are laid in the lower layers.
The plant should stay tight in the substrate, not sway.
Tropical plants are not capricious in leaving. They are sprayed with clean water 2-3 times a week, watered once a week. Top dressing is applied only in the summer. It is forbidden to transplant the plant during flowering.
It is not difficult to independently prepare coniferous wood for an orchid, but this is a responsible task. The material must be of high quality so as not to harm the plant. When planting, mix new soil with a little old to preserve the familiar microflora.