Over time, orchids outgrow their container and become top-heavy. Then, the roots start growing out, a clear indication that it is time to repot. Choosing the right potting soil is vital for the orchids to keep growing in a healthy ecosystem. An orchid grows on other trees in the wild, and orchid growers need to replicate that environment to boost the orchid growth. The best soil for orchids provides plentiful air circulation and good drainage for moisture to reach the roots adequately.
Best Soil for Orchids
1. Fir Bark
Fir bark is your best bet in repotting. As a growing medium, fir absorbs water slowly at first, creating better conditions for orchid roots to heal if there was any breakage during transfer. In addition, orchid roots heal better under dryer conditions. Slow absorption at first also creates a good environment for seedlings to sprout more naturally.
You can soak the fir bark in water to soften it up a bit to allow for more water retention in the orchid potting mix. Once you repot an orchid, the fir bark will tend to undergo the natural process of decomposition. This process locks out more air and suffocates the roots over time. Water circulation is also reduced significantly as decomposition takes place in the potting media.
To avoid root rot, the orchid will need repotting after 18-months to 2-years.
a) Zoo Med Reptile Bark Fir Potting Mix
- 100% fir bark
- All natural
- Naturally decorative Recti Bark provides
- All Natural “green” product
- Lasts up to one year
Zoo Med is an all-natural 100% fir bark potting mix. The reusable orchid potting mix allows good air circulation and adequate nutrient supply for a healthy orchid bloom. Zoo Med has a lifespan of up to one year before the plant will need repotting.
The fir bark creates moisture and then releases it creating a cycle that orchids need. Zoo Med conducts and distributes heat evenly for a conducive environment that promotes fir growth. The potting mix is easy to maintain as you only need to soak it in warm water every two to three months for a healthy bark.
- Easy maintenance
- Water retention
- One year of use
- 100% fir bark
- Good aeration
- Maintaining the potting mix could lead to the breakage of orchid roots.
2. Sphagnum Moss
Also known as peat moss, Sphagnum is a recommended ingredient of the terrestrial mix. You can use the potting mix on any orchid safely and successfully. Sphagnum moss allows for adequate air circulation around the roots of the orchids for healthy and lush flowers. In addition, Sphagnum binds ammonium, slowing decomposition and leading to healthy growth throughout the year.
Sphagnum moss is mostly associated with the tree’s death, normally not the truth, as the Moss does not need many nutrients. However, Sphagnum moss has water-retaining properties that are important when you repot your orchid. The Sphagnum potting mixes have water retention of up to 20 times their dry weight.
Moss releases water slowly over time, creating a realistic natural watering schedule.
a) Super Moss Orchid Sphagnum Moss
Super Moss is a long-lasting preserved moss that holds up to 10 times its dry weight to amend tropical soils. The Super Moss is dried and washed to remove impurities and dust particles. The Moss has long fibers that help in root formation over time.
Plants need moisture to grow and stay healthy and will go to great lengths to trap and retain water in their system. Luckily the Moss has water 10-times its dry weight.
- Clean and dust-free
- 10-times weight in water
- Amends tropical soils
- You do not have to use a pot because of the long strands
- Fungus gnats tend to be a problem.
Perlite is a naturally occurring volcanic material. When heated, the volcanic perlite expands multiple times its weight and becomes lightweight. Perlite does not absorb water but traps moisture and retains it for plant use. In addition, perlite allows for aeration that promotes root growth.
Commercially made perlite is sterile and does not have any root debris from its previous life. This ensures that the perlite caters only to the needs of the orchid. Add water to the perlite to avoid creating a suffocating cloud of dust that occurs when mixing with other ingredients.
When you want to start from the seeding stage, you need to mix the perlite with other ingredients.
a) CZ Garden Organic Perlite
- 8 Liters all natural Coarse Grade Perlite soil additive
- Coarse Grades – PH Neutral, sterile. For Organic growing
- Holds moisture and nutrients & makes them available to plant roots when…
- Horticulture Grade – For Hydroponics – Ensures good root aeration and…
- Provides draining to help prevent soil compaction
CZ Garden offers 10 liters of coarse grade perlite to make an ideal potting mix that retains just enough water for Phalaenopsis orchids and other types of orchids. In addition, the horticulture grade perlite ensures good aeration of the roots, which is a major concern for orchid growers.
Drainage is a major component of good soil in which plants can grow. CZ prevents soil compaction that can lead to suffocation of the soil with time, reducing the growth potential. The perlite improves seed propagation by creating small pockets of air and moisture. The drainage system makes you less worried about overwatering the plant. The perlite prevents acidity and rotting as time goes.
- Good air circulation
- Water retention
- Air and moisture pockets
- Prevents acidity and rotting
- Prevents soil compaction
- Healthy roots and shoots
- Drainage system to avoid overwatering
- Fresh pot
- Unclean perlite might contain residue roots from other plants.
4. Tree Fern
Tree fern forms a major constituent in a potting mix. The fern exists in different grades from fine to coarse, depending on what you need. Tree fern does not require extra nitrogen, unlike fir bark. Fern is not as woody but decomposes at the same rate as wood would.
a) Fernwood Orchid Growing Medium
Fernwood is ideal for all types of orchids. The fern works through capillary action by absorbing and storing moisture in a sponge-like manner. As a result, the water is evenly distributed to the roots for healthy growth.
Fernwood locks in water, reducing the number of times you have water the orchid. In addition, the fern prevents odor release from the plant, keeping the room fresh at all times. Fernwood is from New Zealand, making the product special as the fern is a major symbol in that country.
- Eliminates odor
- Water retention
- Evenly distributed water
- Fast absorption
- Fun orchid potting
- Soft and fluffy
- Supports Strong and healthy growth
- A little more expensive
5. Coconut Husk Chips
Orchid potting is the ultimate form of orchid care. First, the pot needs to be a home and a nourishing place. Second, there needs to be good drainage, good air circulation, and enough space for root growth for this to happen.
Coconut husk chips provide a conducive environment for the growth and nourishment of roots. Therefore, the husks form a good part of potting mixes. In addition, a growing medium made of coconut husks traps enough moisture for the roots to be well watered.
a) GoodGoods Natural Coconut Husks
- Coconut Husk Chips and Fibers in a 1 bag.
- This Medium Grade consists mostly of coconut husk chips/fibers ranging from…
- Great For Adding To Your Orchid Mixes
- Coconut husk chips can be used in combination with bark, charcoal, perlite,…
- 100% natural and organic
Coconuts make a good part of the potting mix because of their water retention capabilities. When you water the pot, the water should not just drain through, denying the roots from getting nourishment. Instead, coconut will take care of moisture and keep the plant growing more every day.
Coconut husks are natural and 100% organic for a natural environment. It is advisable to mix the coconut husks with other potting materials.
- Retains water
- Natural and organic
- Enough space for root growth
- Promotes growth of new shoots
- Coconuts do not allow good drainage. Hence they need to be mixed with.
What to Know About Orchids
There are over 28 000 individual species in the orchid species. However, you can find something you like within that number. An easy way to identify an orchid is the bilateral symmetry in its flowers. The flowers are upward-facing, and the petals stay open most of the time.
Most homeowners tend to go for tropical orchids that can be grown in the house. This is because they use little water. As a result, they do not necessarily have all the requirements that other plants have, and they have high survival capabilities than most plants.
Orchids are epiphytic plants. This term means that the orchids grow on the surface of other plants. The orchids absorb most of their nutrients and water from the atmosphere. Therefore, the orchid can survive in the house without any challenges whatsoever.
Orchids are low maintenance and easy to pet. The easiest orchid to grow is Phalaenopsis. They require low humidity and low light to grow, making it more friendly to grow orchids in apartments.
Orchids do not need that much water as you may imagine. If you overwater the orchid, it might die faster than if you underwater the orchid. Orchids like tight spaces, and you do not have to worry about the size of the pot as long as you get the right potting mixes. When you report an orchid, change the contents.
Frequently Asked Questions
i) Can I Grow Orchids on Soil?
No. You can not grow an orchid on the soil. Orchids are epiphytes, meaning they grow on the surface of other plants. The native tropical environment of an orchid is the trees for thousands of years. That trait will be hard to change overnight. Do not have plants repotted in soil because they will die.
ii) How Long Can an Orchid Flower Last?
A typical flower lasts for a day or two at most. However, an orchid is not your typical kind of plant. An orchid’s flower will last for months on end without dying. A bloom can take about two to three months before it dies off.
iii) Can I Apply Ice-cubes on the Orchid?
Orchids do not need to be overwatered because they will die. However, some people are getting smart by using ice cubes to water the plants. Ice melts slowly and releases water slowly, which would be an ideal situation for an orchid.
Orchids are tropical plants, and ice-water would therefore be very cold for the orchid to take. Ice-cubes create sub-optimal conditions that the 0rchids can not sustainably survive in. New shoots will die and eventually the whole plant.
iv) How Many Types of Orchids Exist?
There are about 25 000 species of orchids exist. For example, Phalaenopsis is one of the orchid species inexistent. It should be fun to know that all the 25 000 individual species have scientific names too. That is a lot of creativity on the side of the scientists.
v) How Many Times Should I Water the Orchid?
Overwatering orchids will kill the plant because of how the orchids have evolved with time. The orchid plant needs light and water from the atmosphere to survive. Therefore, the more you water the plant, the more damage you are doing to the water.
You can use a pencil to test for the humidity. Insert a sharpened pencil into the orchid mix and see if it darkens. If the pencil is darker and moist, you need to let the plant live its best life. If the pencil is dry, it is time to water the plant.
Plants are a huge part of our ecosystem. Being aware of their existence and taking an interest in the different species helps you be in tune with the environment. However, if you will keep an orchid, try your best to take care o fit the right way. If done right, it can be the most satisfying and wholesome experience.
Orchids are easy to use as decoration both indoors and outdoors. The best part about them is the flowers that can last for two to three months. You do not have to clean after orchids as they do not shed so many leaves or flowers. The mere fact that orchids do not shed leaves or flowers makes them an elegant part of your household. Orchids do not need soil. That in itself is one reason to get an orchid plant into your house.
- Best Soil for Orchids for Strong and Healthy Flowers - July 28, 2021