Orchids are exotic, beautiful, with thousands of species and as many hybrids, orchids are popular with homeowners and can be an obsession for the serious collector. And contrary to popular belief, they’re not difficult to grow.
Many orchids thrive in Florida’s heat and humidity and can do well in the home and around the yard.
Most orchids are epiphytes and they need special media in which to grow. Some of the most common ingredients in commercially available orchid mixes are chopped tree fern fiber, chopped fir tree bark, osmunda fiber, charcoal, and volcanic rock. These materials all help to create the loose, well-drained environment that orchids crave. For the most part, orchids need to be repotted every few years. Many can be divided into smaller plants at this time. Orchids typically prefer at least partial shade or filtered sunlight and should be protected from cold temperatures.
Orchids, Succulents, Cactus and Tropical Plants are all living organisms that interact with the body, mind, and home in ways that enhance the quality of life.
Temperature and Light:
Bright, indirect light is ideal for most orchid plant care. Southern and eastern exposure is optimal, as well as shady western light. Consequently, never place your Phalaenopsis orchid in full sun.
The foliage is always the best indicator of what your plant needs. Ideally, you want to see firm, light to medium green leaves. Limp, dark green leaves indicate that your orchid is not being exposed to enough light. On the other hand, too much light exposure will produce an excess of dark reddish pigmentation. You’ll want to remedy this quickly, as it can result in your Phalaenopsis producing fewer and even smaller blooms. Another way to tell if your plant is getting the optimal amount of light is seeing a very slight reddish hue near the base of the leaves. This lets you know that no more light is necessary!
One thing every orchid plant owner should understand is that, in its natural setting, most orchid attaches its roots to tree bark, and they are exposed. When exposed to frequent rainfall, the roots thoroughly absorb water and then dry out before they are watered again.
When grown in a pot, it is easy to overwater an orchid plant. Of course, this can result in the roots rotting, causing the plant to wilt or die. A certain balance must be kept when watering your orchid. Most of all, you want to allow the roots to dry out a bit between watering; however, you never want the roots to be bone dry. Ideally, you should water the plant thoroughly early in the day. Because as with all orchid plants you want the leaves to be dry by the evening. Much as, you never want to allow standing water on the soil, where the leaves emerge. Much as, filtered tap water is ideal, and should be cool or room temperature when administered (never cold)… think of rainwater!
Most of all, water your plant with a gentle stream or spray and allow the pot to drain.
Furthermore, excess water should drain from the bottom of the plant’s pot, making sure the roots are wet, and to flush excess salt from the soil. Most noteworthy is the frequency of watering depends upon the light and temperature conditions. In warm, dry conditions, water every few days. Further, during cooler times of the year, since the roots will remain moist for a bit longer, go a little longer between watering.
Most orchid plants come from tropical environments of 50-90% humidity. Therefore, dry air is definitely not ideal when caring for your orchid. Consequently, it may be the most challenging factor to control indoors, especially during winter, when heaters are run, and the air is generally very dry.
Microfoggers and humidifiers are a simple solution if you keep your plant in an enclosed area.
If you keep your orchid plant on a windowsill or larger room, you can try grouping plants together. As a result, they will develop their own microclimate. While using humidity grow trays to collect excess water from watering your plants. In addition, place your orchid pot in a shallow tray or saucer filled with pebbles and water. Furthermore, be sure to place the pot on the pebbles and not in the water, since orchids do not prefer wet roots.
Especially relevant air circulation is also an important factor to consider. While Phalaenopsis orchids grow higher up off the ground, on trees, where there is constant air flow. Opposite there are many orchids that grow on the ground in deep jungles.
Whether you are human or animal, there are so many benefits to living around plants.
Here’s a list from the American Orchid Society that gives a general outline growing requirements for orchids that do well outside in Florida:
- Cattleya Alliance Hybrid is the showy corsage variety, especially Laelia anceps, and requires half sun. It’s temperature-tolerant.
- * Phalaenopsis is great for beginners and does well in full shade.
- * Dendrobiums: The Indian and Australian types are best, requiring half sun. They are temperature tolerant.
- * Vanda flowers in summer months and takes a lot of suns.
- * Epidendrums, especially the brilliant reed-stem types, do fine in South Florida. They need almost full sun but are temperature tolerant.
- * Oncidiums: Choose the Mexican species, or higher-elevation types, with light requirements of bright shade to half sun.
- * Paphiopedilums are slippered orchids and fare best in shaded gardens.
- * Spathoglottis have broad, palm-like leaves and spikes of purple and yellow flowers. Grow them in shade to half sun.
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