The orchids are perennial plants of typically tropical origin even if specimens have been sighted even in the Arctic areas. They are plants that grow spontaneously but due to their particular beauty and colorful species (there are over 20,000) they are among the most loved and cultivated in the world. Among the most widespread species we find epiphytes that live naturally in trees, in dim light, in conditions of limited light, humidity, temperature and with all the ideal nutrients for their growth and flowering. For the cultivation of epiphytic orchids (large species), we must try to achieve the conditions present in the natural environment. There are several options available on the market, but the simplest is the terracotta preferably perforated on the sides to ensure good drainage. To plant epiphytic orchids it is necessary to simulate what normally happens in nature. In this case, with different materials we try to create the natural habitat in which they are born and flourish. The system is very simple, it is enough to make a sort of trunk on which to make them stick, connecting them in the desired position with the aid of a slatted support or simple coconuts in order to realize the tree in question, taking care to obtain a good aeration , good drainage, supplying nutrients, retaining moisture and ensuring the sustainability of the plant similar to the environment found in nature.
ORCHID FLOWER CULTIVATION: THE NATURAL HABITAT
Among the most common materials used to make the support we find coir an excellent material obtained from the fibers of coconuts, very economical that helps to fix the plant thanks to the rough surface, provides some nutrients and allows good ventilation. But since it absorbs little water, it forces us to increase the frequency of irrigation. Another suitable material for creating the orchid's natural habitat is the relatively inexpensive pine bark with very good characteristics. It allows a good ventilation and helps to fix the plant due to its roughness, also providing some nourishing elements. It also dries the plant very quickly, and therefore also in this case frequent watering is required. Sphagnum, on the other hand, is obtained with moss. Its fundamental characteristic is that, contrary to the previous ones, it dries very slowly and therefore retains more water, reducing the frequency of watering and also providing a considerable supply of nutrients. Finally two important elements to be placed at the bottom of the pot are the activated carbon and the expanded clay very useful for transpiring the roots through the pores and at the same time they are filled with water, therefore, they become real reservoirs to support the plant at the time of need.
ORCHID FLOWER CULTIVATION: MULTIPLICATION
Orchid multiplication is usually easy. Commercially they are reproduced by seed or by micropropagation (laboratory technique), but reproduction at home is the most used method and consists in the division of adult plants (or division by rhizome). The division of the rhizomes is the fastest and most convenient technique to multiply the orchids, as the other two require a high level of technology and expense, becoming impractical for private crops. As a general rule, the separation of rhizomes should be done safely to avoid damaging the structure. The plant must have at least six bulbs (stems) and each new plant will initially have at least three to have a greater guarantee of survival. Here are some basic steps:
a) Remove the plant from the original pot, taking the older roots and wash them in running water, removing the dead parts with your fingers.
b) With a knife (preferably sterilized with fire), separate the plants into 3 or more bulbs, cutting their rhizome.
c) Sow the seedlings in pots with suitable soils, using the same procedure. The main factor that determines good flowering and development is the brightness of the place where it is placed. The brightness should however be similar to that found in their natural habitat.
Orchid flowers: ORCHID FLOWER CULTIVATION: MAINTENANCE
Orchids generally require a place in partial shade. However, the ideal brightness is 70% pure shade. In our homes, they can be stored in places where direct sunlight occurs only at some time of the day, such as the early morning hours or under the eaves of the roof. Balconies and terraces are usually good places to let orchids vegetate. The advice is to resist the temptation to keep them indoors for long periods, perhaps during flowering. To position the orchid in its right place, we must therefore know what precautions to take. There are no great secrets to take care of it but only some basic tips; first of all avoid frequent watering because they could cause the roots to rot; the best way to see if the soil is dry and needs to be sprayed is to test it with your fingers. In this way we can find out if the substrate contains sufficient humidity and in this case we must not water it at least until it becomes dry. Finally, when the water to be administered is necessary to avoid the excesses anyway and water the plant in the early hours of the morning when the sun is still pale, avoiding to wet the leaves and flowers. The foliar fertilization can be administered every fifteen days or more, with mixtures of mineral fertilizers dissolved in water and applied with common manual sprayers.