Orchids – General Care
Orchids vary in their needs, but the following should be catered for, unless stated otherwise.
- Grow in ordinary pots, but preferably grow epiphytes in specially perforated orchid pots or wooden baskets, or grow them directly on a piece of wood bark or tree trunk — fix the plants with wire or staples.
- Potting should be specially formulated for orchids; some nurserymen supply ready-mix packs.
- Minimum temperature depends on the plant’s country of origin -cool types require at least 14°C (57°F) in summer and 7°C (45°F) in winter; intermediate types require at least 18°C (64°F) in summer and 10°C (50°F) in winter; and warm, tropical types require at least 22°C (72°F) in summer and 14°C (57°F) in winter. However, they will all tolerate temperatures of up to 11°C (20°F) above these minimum levels.
- Good ventilation is essential when the temperature is high.
- Shade the greenhouse during the summer, ideally with wooden slatted or plastic blinds.
- Maintain high humidity at all times, especially when the temperature is at a maximum. Spray orchids with water at least once a day and damp down the floor and staging in the greenhouse. Stand container-grown plants in bowls of moist pebbles.
- Keep all orchids moist during the growing season — mid spring to early autumn. Let the compost dry out between watering; excessive moisture leads to root rot.
- Follow specific advice on feeding — some orchids are sensitive to fertilizers. Newly potted orchids need no feeding as the compost contains enough nutrients for one season.
- Allow a period of rest after flowering — plants may lose their leaves at this time. Stop watering and reduce the humidity.