Rules for planting orchids on a block and in a substrate – Beautiful indoor plants

Orchids from the category of rare and elite plants have become one of the most typical inhabitants of our interiors. Their popularity did not diminish their beauty or special appeal. But the massive representation of unpretentious varieties on the shelves still left its mark on the plant’s reputation. The fact that orchids are far from simple plants began to be forgotten, as well as about the various options for growing them. Indoor orchids can be kept in or without substrate – and the choice is not always so obvious.

Rules for planting orchids on the block and in the substrate. Farmer SERAMIS

Ways to grow orchids at home

Orchids are grown in two ways – on a block (or equivalent) and in containers. Most often, the method is determined based on the characteristics of the plants, although most indoor species allow you to choose it at your discretion. But other factors also influence the choice of the method of planting an orchid:

  • growing conditions;
  • decorative purposes;
  • the original method of cultivation, which is preserved after purchase.

Orchids are rarely transplanted – only when the need arises. Plants do not change their “habits”, so they are grown in their usual way. An exception happens when problems arise with improper planting and reproduction of plants. You can try growing young specimens using a substrateless method, instead of planting in pots, or vice versa. But when changing the cultivation option, it is imperative to take into account the characteristics and characteristics of the plant.

In fact, any decorative orchid species used in indoor culture needs containers rather as supports, these are typical epiphytes that can grow not only in pots and pots. Most often, they feel more comfortable when attached to pieces of bark. But orchids are more often planted in special containers, and not on blocks. This option requires specific conditions, is not suitable for all orchids and is not appropriate in every “setting”.

Whatever method of growing an orchid is not discussed, neatness and attentiveness to the plant is the main thing, especially when transplanting and changing a pot or block.

In growing orchids both in a soilless way and in a substrate, there are general rules:

  1. The roots and shoots of the plant break easily. Orchids must be handled with extreme care.
  2. In work, it is advisable to use protective gloves or to ensure the cleanliness and disinfection of hands. All instruments must be sterilized and disinfected.
  3. A transplant is carried out only if absolutely necessary – with signs of extreme crampedness (growth arrest, extreme plant density) – the appearance of roots in the holes or in the upper part of the pot does not always indicate it – with a loss of color characteristics, the appearance of signs of soil acidification, spreading beyond the borders block, etc.
  4. When choosing a base or a pot for growing an orchid, the selection of containers and blocks is carried out in such a way that the orchid has a place to develop for at least 2 to 3 years.

Growing an orchid in a soilless way, on pieces of bark is one of the most effective optionsGrowing an orchid in a soilless way, on pieces of bark, is one of the most effective options. Farmer Todd Boland

Planting an orchid on a block

Growing an orchid in a soilless way, on pieces of bark, is one of the most effective options. Revealing the natural beauty and character of the plant, they emphasize its natural structure and developmental features. This method of planting allows you to avoid frequent transplanting, makes it possible to always have access to the roots, freely inspect the plants, and therefore a chance to notice development problems in time. The risk of root rot and damage to plants is much less here, and you don’t have to worry about access to air, its free circulation. But orchids, planted not in a substrate, but on a block, are much more dependent on caring for them.

This growing method is only suitable for epiphytic orchid species. For growing on blocks, plants are chosen that are kept in florariums, arboretums, greenhouses, flower showcases, tropical greenhouses – all options for growing orchids that involve the creation of stable humid conditions. Growing on blocks is preferred by oncidiums, erangis, cattleyas, sofrontis and other epiphytes.

Growing on a block assumes a conditional absence of a substrate, an attachment of a plant to a block or a decorative base on which the plant develops, receiving the main nutrients partly from the air. In fact, with the help of the block, they imitate the natural conditions in which orchids themselves cling to the bark of trees or vines.

An orchid block can be very different. In fact, it is any piece of suitable material, decorative enough and with the necessary strength and stability. Orchids are grown on pieces of cork oak, acacia, vines, pine bark, or tree fern. Pine bark is the most affordable option, but other materials provide plants with an equally high-quality base. Materials should be not prone to decay, not too smooth and even, not emitting tar.

The block should be suitable for the size and volume of the orchid, the plant is evaluated for its growth pattern, root size and distance between shoots. Orchids that grow in dense families and produce numerous flowering shoots look best when planted on large stems. Orchids with single or sparsely spaced peduncles are more effective on small pieces of bark.

But when choosing specific plants, it is worth assessing the risk of quickly creeping out of the block, and the complexity of the development of large spaces, and the stability of the composition. The block is selected so that the orchid does not undergo frequent transplants and can remain on the chosen basis for many years.

The block is pre-prepared: selecting materials for the block, holes are made in it through which special hooks or wire are fixed for hanging the plant.

There are no difficulties in the planting process itself. In fact, this is not planting on a bar, but just anchoring the plant – with natural materials, synthetic thread, fishing line, special wire, the roots of the orchid installed on a snag or bark are attached to the base so that the plant does not move:

  • Sphagnum is placed under the orchid.
  • The plant is held by hand, trying not to harm either the greenery or the roots and spreading them evenly in all directions.
  • Reliable fastening does not mean strong squeezing or numerous “skeins” of wire: the orchid attaches itself to the bars over time, so the fastening is only of a general support nature.
  • To improve the retention of moisture, the roots of especially moisture-loving species are covered with fern roots, sphagnum or bark and on top.
  • Plants immediately after planting need very frequent spraying, high humidity and mild conditions.

Caring for orchids growing on blocks is not easy. The plant is completely dependent on the owners and even the slightest mistakes in the care can be a huge problem. After watering, the roots dry out quickly, so watering should be done very often, and the air humidity will have to be maintained at a very high level.

Caring for orchids that grow without a substrate is much more difficult than for potted plants.Orchids growing without a substrate are much more difficult to care for than potted plants. Farmer Gardenerdy

Features of growing orchids in pots

In pots, they grow kalanta, tunia, playone, fayus, bletilla, and all types of orchids that do not like the complete drying out of the soil. If epiphytic species are planted in pots, then only special pots for orchids with numerous holes or baskets are chosen for them. For other types, relatively more “standard” containers are acceptable.

Special containers for orchids – transparent, with numerous holes for breathing roots, most often double with a more decorative and integral “bowl” on top – can be found on the counters of any flower shop. But orchids are not only grown in such containers. They can be planted in ordinary baskets, ceramic and even plastic containers, although each time choosing a non-special container is akin to a lottery:

  • Moisture is best preserved in plastic pots, but baskets provide optimal conditions for plant respiration.
  • Baskets are an alternative to growing on blocks for epiphytic orchid species – those plants that naturally settle on branches and stumps, especially with peduncles hanging down. Orchid baskets are well ventilated. They come in different sizes and diameters (from 10 to 25 cm) and are made from different materials. The most popular option is a tree or vine.
  • For orchids from among ceramic containers, glazed models are considered optimal. Clay and porous containers are not suitable for indoor culture. In them, orchids are planted only in flower farms, greenhouses or greenhouses, where the problem of moisture evaporation from porous materials is compensated for by consistently high humidity. Any clay container for an orchid should have numerous ventilation holes (diameter – about 0,6-0,7 cm) at the bottom and walls.

There are limitations in the choice of pots:

  • if the orchid has photosynthesis in the roots, then you can choose only transparent glass and plastic vessels (for example, it is in such containers that phalaenopsis are grown);
  • for all epiphytes, only cultivation options are suitable in special baskets, which provide the opportunity for free air access to the roots;
  • the size of the container is always selected in accordance with the size of the plant itself;
  • the orchid often “grows” to natural materials, which complicates the transplant later.

The optimal ratio of the width and height of orchid pots is a slightly elongated shape with an extension upward, the height is 10-20% more than the diameter. The containers are selected so that the roots of the plant touch the edges of the pot, they are not too spacious or cramped.

At the bottom of such containers, a high, about 1/3 of the height of the container, drainage from shards, expanded clay, in extreme cases, from synthetic materials, is necessarily laid.

Difficulties in growing orchids in a substrate are not limited to the choice of the type of container. Orchids need a special substrate. Despite the fact that in the line of each manufacturer of earth mixtures there is a special offer for orchids, they differ in terms of moisture capacity, quality and composition.

For normal development, the absence of rot, respiration, the substrate must have sufficient coarseness and consist mainly of light materials – large pieces of bark. In various versions of earth mixtures for orchids, expanded polystyrene, moss, peat and even mineral wool are added to pine and other types of bark. For dendrobiums, miltonia, cymbidiums, shoes, oncidiums, a substrate with 20% moisture-absorbing additives and a fine fraction is chosen, for phalaenopsis – with an average fraction of the bark. Wandas are grown only in the bark of the coarse fraction.

In pots cultivated kalanta, tunia, playone, fayus, bletilla, and all types of orchids that do not like the complete drying of the soilIn pots, they grow kalanta, tunia, playone, fayus, bletilla, and all types of orchids that do not like the complete drying out of the soil. Farmer Orchid Diva

Orchid potting rules

In the very process of transplanting, you should be careful and take good care of the plant:

  1. First, prepare a container, making holes in the center and on the walls if necessary. For clay pots, it is advisable to attach a rigid wire frame to which the plant will cling. For the orchid, a support is prepared for fixing – a light natural peg.
  2. The orchid is carefully removed from the old container. In specialized stores there is a special tool, but you can also act manually. The roots should not be injured.
  3. The old soil is removed from the roots completely, if possible.
  4. The plant is inspected and all damaged, dead or rotten root areas are carefully removed.
  5. Drainage is laid at the bottom of the pot if non-special containers are used. A special plastic mesh is placed at the bottom of the baskets, which will prevent the substrate from waking up into the holes.
  6. Holding the orchid in hand, it is set so that the base of the plant, the joints of the roots remain at the level of the upper edge of the container. The base of the pseudobulbs should be 1-2 cm below the level of the wall. If a wire frame was made, the plant is fixed on it.
  7. The container is filled with the substrate so that the rhizome remains on the surface, trying to evenly distribute the substrate between the roots. Establish a support, focusing on the location of the peduncle. The upper edge is tamped lightly, with your fingers, checking by turning on its side so that the substrate does not fall out and is not placed too loosely. Excessive force can damage the roots.
  8. To speed up rooting and adaptation, it is advisable to fix the plant after transplanting.

Orchids need special care after changing containers. High humidity is just the beginning. Regular watering procedures are not carried out in the first 2 weeks. The plant’s moisture needs are compensated for by spraying the substrate and leaves, starting regular watering no earlier than 2 weeks later. The milder the microclimate, the better: the plant is protected from direct sunlight, heat, and kept in medium temperatures.

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Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

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