Orchid Database

Growing orchids

IN BRAZIL: Beautiful flowers of Cattleya ametistoglossa.

Growing orchids
CYRTOPODIUM: Another interesting orchid genera to grow.
Photos: Carlo Alberto Zaldini



GROWING ORCHIDS - Epiphytic orchids that don´t have their roots on the ground but are attached to tree trunks and other substrata, represent more than 90% of all orchid species. Some may be terrestrians or even grow over rocks. In general they like plenty of light and some water.

Orchids are largely grown in Brazil and the world. Its trading deals with great amounts of money every year in an ever growing market. In Brazil, big green-houses produce hundreds of thousands of these plants every year, and these are exported to several countries or even sold at local markets. Mainly Phalaenopsis for it fits very well in apartments.

Growing Orchids
THE showy flowers of Cattleya, one of the most beautiful and famous of all flowers.


The first step to grow an orchid successfully is the correct identification of the genera or species and to know its original habitat, in order to know its natural needs. With these informations, grow ornamental orchids (like Cattleya and Phalaenopsis) is, in spite of what it seems, a relatively easy task, if respected the every-week watering, the exposure to light needs (in most cases 50% of light and never direct light) and periodic fertilization with the apropriate fertilizer for each phase of the plant.

Orchids may be grown on vases, treeferns, or even dead wood or living trees, earth or rocks, depending on the species. They may flower once a year, when correctly grown.

The seedlings may be "fed" monthly with a teaspoon of calcium powder on the edges of the vase speeding up their grow. A good drainage may be made putting the vase or treefern hanging on wires and at a 45 degrees. In general, hanging plants are more protected from diseases.

The hybrids are usually very resistent and may do well even on adverse conditions, growing faster than the "natural" species. Several crossings among genera and species results in several hybrids. Most of the orchids do not tolerate too much water, but usually, they like nutrient and moisture – rich substrates. For this reason the vases should never be over those little plates that keep the water so the roots may not drown and kill the plant.

Small rocks on the vases do the drainage of the water and keep the desired moisture. Air on the roots is essential and for this the use of small pieces (not the powder) of tree fern and/or coconut fibers is recommended.

The tree fern powder is usually used only every 15 days over the substrate (just a soupspoon). For this reason it is common to use plastic transparent or clay made vases with holes on the sides so light and air may enter more easily.

A flowering plant may be indoor next to a window with a good source of sunlight, but never direct sun exposure. In this phase you should water the substrate, depending on the air moisture, but with moderated watering and never watering the flowers. After the flowering is done you may manually remove the dry flowers and cut the branch with a fire-sterilized scissors.