Apartment plants

Orchids in pots

Orchids in pots

From the botanical point of view there is no plant bearing the name of orchid, instead there is the family of the Orchidaceae, which includes different genera, thousands of species and an incredibly large number of hybrids. Many orchids have special needs, they are very difficult plants to cultivate even in specialized greenhouses, while others can also live at home. The cultivation rules in fact do not differ from those recommended for many indoor plants such as Anthurium, Aphelandra or Codiaeum.

Origin of orchids

It is interesting to know where and how orchids live in their home environment to better understand their natural needs. They are widely spread all over the world and are very numerous in tropical and equatorial regions and also grow spontaneous in temperate zones. In tropical forests they live as epiphytes, that is they cling to tree trunks and feed both through aerial roots, which sometimes reach several meters in length, and through very reduced root system, absorbing nourishment from decomposing organic residues , which accumulate in the crevices of the branches and trunks. In temperate zones, they grow spontaneously on the ground like any other plant and are therefore called terrestrial orchids and considered rustic.

General characteristics

All the orchids are perennial and have a very long life and there are plants that live even 40 or 50 years and this is not an exception. Even the flowers, of refined beauty, have a long life both on the plant and cut. It is interesting to know why orchids are kept so long. You will notice that pollination occurs, naturally, thanks to the intervention of insects or other animals, such as the fly bird and bats, which collect and transport pollen from one flower to another. Lacking these animals, and since fertilization cannot take place, the orchids, for an innate sense of conservation, maintain their freshness for a long time and perfectly intact, waiting for this to happen.
Depending on the species, the orchids have very different dimensions, there are with more long stems and others no higher than a few centimeters. They are all herbaceous with enlarged and tuberous roots, sometimes strangely branched, or made up of rhizomes. The orchids are then characterized by a great variety of flowers and inflorescences, many species have particularly beautiful flowers for strangeness of shape and size or for the variegated shade of the colors, while other species produce small flowers gathered, at times, in various inflorescences guy.

Vases, potting soil and potting plants

For terrestrial orchids the normal terracotta or plastic pots will be fine, for the epiphytic orchids the baskets of galvanized wire or the wooden or bamboo baskets will be more suitable, which will allow the escape of the roots in search of humidity and nourishment.
Orchids, depending on the species and age of the plant, require a very special compound, absolutely essential for good cultivation. The soil suitable for epiphytic orchids consists of two parts of osmunda roots, two parts of sphagnum and a part of polypody roots, while for terrestrial orchids the compound will consist of two parts of earth of leaves, one of very fibrous earth , of moorland, and a part of chestnut land. To these soils you will then have to add other compounds such as powdered bones, finely shredded beech and oak leaves and, again, bits of brick and charcoal.
Repotting, which you can do every 2 or 3 years, is a rather delicate operation. First of all before repotting the mixture you will have to evenly moisten it, then you have to wash and disinfect all the containers. The baskets will have to be lined with sphagnum or peat so as to prevent the soil from escaping with the water of the waterings. You will have to fill the earthenware or plastic pots with shards for a quarter and then add a small layer of soil, on which you will place the roots of the plant, so that the apical bud is about 4 centimeters from the edge of the pot. You will then complete with another topsoil that you will need to gently compress and that will come to about 1 centimeter from the edge of the pot, this space, necessary for the water of the waterings. During the repotting will inevitably break some root, you don't have to worry, it will reproduce with ease. Remember that after repotting, the plants will absolutely not have to wet it for at least 15 days, then you will have to maintain a good humidity around the plant, secured with regular and abundant nebulisations, in fact, only in this way, in a short time, the orchid will resume vegetating again because the roots will be reproduced and adapted to the new compound.

Choice of potted orchid

If you want to grow orchids, in the apartment you must, necessarily, make a choice that must be made mainly based on the temperature at which the plant adapts, so exclude those raised in warm greenhouses that require very high temperatures and humidity. Instead, look for orchids bred in temperate greenhouses, which are the most suitable for living at home for their needs that can be reconciled with the environment of our apartments. The species of hybrid orchids of flowering and resistance most suitable for pots and therefore to be able to live in our apartments are: Cattleya, Laelia, Oncidium, Cymbidium, Paphiopedium, Cypripedium, DendrobiumEpidendrum and Odontoglossum.