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