Why You Should Use Professional Compost When Growing Orchids

Despite their beautifully delicate form, many types of orchids are in fact a reasonably straightforward flower to cultivate especially many of the easily available phalaenopsis hybrids, as long as you follow some basic rules regarding their care. Here we will discuss one of the most crucial factors in growing healthy, robust orchids: choice and use of compost.

Phalaenopsis 'Pure Silk'
If you have grown orchids for any length of time, you may know that they tend to fall into two categories, epiphytic, which grow on trees, and lithophytic, which grow on rocks. These may sound like very specific conditions to grow in, but many of these types of orchids can in fact grow in containers with relative ease, too.

While it may be tempting to purchase cheaper non-specialised compost for your orchids, you should be aware that such compost can offer poor drainage and nutrition. Furthermore, some lower cost composts can be irregular in their consistency. By buying a professional compost that has been specially formulated for orchids, you will be giving your flowers a free-draining compost that allows two crucial elements to be absorbed by the plant’s roots: water and air: good supplies of these elements are essential if you are to get the orchids you really want.

Phalaenopsis Sin-Yuan Golden Beauty
A compost with good drainage will likely be composed partly of wood chippings, which serve to open up the compost - letting both air and water through. For the nutrition of your orchids, the ideal compost will be a blend of high grade peats, in addition to the chippings. It should ideally also be pH balanced and contain lime in order to create optimum growing conditions. A professional compost may also include fertilizing ingredients, which will help to give your plant a solid start.

Phalaenopsis 'Las Palmas'
A big part of taking care of your orchids is observing the root structures. In order to do this you should pot your orchids in transparent containers, so that when the roots fill the pot, you know it is time to re-pot them. You may also find that the plant has developed some aerial roots by this stage, which have extended outside the pot.

Phalaenopsis 'little zebra'
Use your orchid grade compost for re-potting, and do so in a container that is one or two sizes larger than the old pot. Take care not to bury the aerial roots in the compost, as this may cause rotting to occur.
In conclusion, the selection of an orchid-friendly compost can be the difference between mediocre orchids, and strong, beautiful orchids that enliven whichever environment they are placed in.

Author Bio: YouGarden is an online gardening center run by three horticulturalist who have over 50 years combined experience. They have one simple ethos “Gardening for Everyone” and sell everything from profressional compost to flowers and fruit trees

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