Orchids are known as epiphytic tropical plants, which mean that they can grow just by hanging on the trees and without soil. They have roots that prefer to absorb water and oxygen freely on air. On the other hand, there are varieties of Orchids that grow best in soil. Orchids like Paaphiopedilums and some of the cymbidiums can grow in soil. Depending on the type of the Orchids you want to grow at home, soil as potting media is one of the choices you can have. Whenever you choose the potting mix for your plants, consider the type and their natural habitat.
Moreover, the potting mix, whether it is soil, moss, bark, dried fern roots, or stones, should be able to provide good air circulation. It should allow the water to drain quickly and not retain water on the pot to prevent the roots from rotting. If you are thinking about whether Orchids need soil, yes they do. However, the soil specifically designed for orchids is not the normal potting soil but a mix of chunky ingredients that resemble the natural environment of the Orchids in the wild. Here are the types of planting mediums and orchid soil that can be used for your orchids:
Fir bark is one of the best potting mediums for orchids because it is easy to find and very affordable at any plant or orchid stores. Fir bark is also available in many grades. Fine grade barks contain small pieces and absorb water efficiently while medium-grade barks contain medium size chips of woods. The coarse grade fir barks are the large chunks of woods and are very porous. Fine grades retain water, which makes them great for moisture-demanding plants. Medium grades are ideal for orchids because they dry out but remain moist for a while. Large coarse grades dry out quickly but they are perfect for specific types of orchids that prefer this kind of environment.
Another type of potting mix for the orchid soil is the tree fern. Tree fern is also available in fine grades to medium grades to large coarse grades. Although it is not as woody compared to fir barks, tree fern also decomposes quickly like barks. Tree fern is quite expensive and it does not retain water but drain water rapidly. Moreover, tree fern can be mixed or combined with other potting media to create a unique orchid soil.
Peat Moss and Sphagnum Moss
Peat moss and sphagnum moss are recommended best for terrestrial plants. However, for orchids that prefer dryness over moisture, peat moss and sphagnum moss may not be suitable. This type of soil for orchids retain water and moisture for a long period of time, which makes it a great option if the plant will be left without water for two weeks or more. However, the downfall is that the retention of too much moisture for a long while may cause the plant to rot, especially the roots.
This type of orchid soil is very common to many orchid growers. It is the type that is very slow to decompose. It absorbs even pathogens and contaminants that can harm the Orchids. Although it holds very little moisture and it does not retain too much moisture, Orchids grow best when potting medium is mixed with charcoal.
Perlite is a type of sponge rock that is very light in weight, which is why it provides good aeration to the orchids. It can also retain water provided that it is mixed with another potting medium. On the other hand, if used alone, perlite retains more moisture because it works like a sponge.
Coco husk is a type of orchid soil that can retain moisture but provides good aeration at the same time. It is even slower when it comes to the decomposing period. Coco husk is available in chunks and in fiber. The chunks drain well while the coco fibers do not. They are both a common option for orchid growers because they are widely available and very affordable.
Redwood bark is also an option but it is usually hard to find and expensive. This type of bark lasts longer than the fir bark and it can be mixed with other types of orchid soil. It can lower down the pH level of the soil.
You can mix fir barks with coconut husks, perlite, and peat moss depending on the potting medium you want for your orchids and its environment. You can tailor a perfect potting soil for your orchids not just to replace the one you are using now but also to resemble the one natural for the Orchids. This kind of soil is the best soil or potting medium for your Orchid plants if you want them to grow and bloom beautifully in time. Aside from soil, make sure that you also give the plant its needed light, water, temperature, humidity, and fertilizer.
It is very important for the health and growth of the orchids to use the right potting mix or potting medium. A wide range of materials can be used for the plants but you can create your own mix using these materials. However, choosing the one that suits your type of plants grown at home will help ensure their optimal health. Let the florist help you choose the right soil for the type of orchids you are growing at home.