In recent years, orchids in popularity have managed to overtake many indoor plants that are familiar to our latitudes. Orchid cultivation is done not only by experienced flower growers, but also by amateur novice florists.
Often, flower growers do not have the opportunity, for a number of reasons, to purchase a ready-made planting substrate, if necessary, to multiply orchids or transplant an adult plant. In this case, you can always find a way out of this situation and do the preparation of the landing substrate with your own hands.
The substrate for growing indoor orchids is completely different from the usual planting soil for most indoor plants. This feature of the substrate is explained by the origin of this marvelous plant, as well as by the natural growing conditions of all species of herbaceous plants belonging to orchids.
The most affordable planting soil for indoor orchids is represented by ordinary pine bark. But the performance of such a substrate can be different, and the main composition of such a mixture largely depends on several nuances, including the type of plant, as well as the natural and climatic conditions in places of natural or natural growth. At all stages of the independent production of planting substrate based on bark, it is necessary to follow the instructions, and also take into account some important nuances and points:
- Soil for indoor orchids of the Phalaenopsis species must necessarily contain high-quality deciduous or fresh pine bark.
- Indoor orchids grow well on pine, as well as spruce, birch and oak bark.
- The bark is very important in compiling a mixture of planting substrate, not only for growing orchids, but also for laying out the top surface of a flower pot for decorative purposes.
For indoor orchids, which largely need to use the bark of a large fraction, it is advisable to collect on their own or acquire a dense bark. Such material will then be cut into cubes of the required size.
- If you decide to purchase a ready-made planting soil in the form of a substrate for growing indoor orchids, then its qualitative composition must be studied as carefully as possible even in a flower shop.
- For indoor orchid plants requiring enhanced nutrition, mixtures are best suited, which necessarily include coal, peat and pine bark with the addition of high-quality leafy soil.
- For indoor orchids, bark from deciduous trees is not used, which is mainly due to its inaccessibility and insufficiently high quality characteristics.
Preparing the bark for planting orchids
It is imperative that the bark, which was already in the old flower pot, namely the finest, cleanest and largest pieces of it, are connected to the new bark, which will allow the fungi to be transferred to the new planting substrate. Indoor orchid has already become accustomed to such non-toxic microorganisms.
Bark for growing "Phalaenopsis"
As already mentioned above, planting substrates for the Phalaenopsis orchid species should consist entirely of bark, and it is advisable to use exclusively high-quality pine bark. The basic rules that allow the use of high-quality material in the form of planting substrate for growing Phalaenopsis are presented below:
- The experts are unanimous in their opinion and consider the standard pieces of pine bark, the sizes of which vary from 2 cm to 5 cm, to be the best substrate for growing orchids from the Phalaenopsis species.
- If it is necessary to plant a small seedling of an orchid of this kind, it is advisable to use finely divided bark with sizes from 5 mm to 1.5 cm.
- Before transplanting or planting, it is necessary to remove part of the tree bark and look at the state of the root system. In the presence of an unpleasant putrefactive odor, you can suspect the beginning of the process of decay of the roots of a houseplant.
- High-quality and practically ready for use as a planting substrate bark is sold through flower departments. This helps to facilitate the process of growing orchids in indoor conditions.
- If necessary, plant the seedling "Phalaenopsis", you can plant the plant in a mixture of very shallow bark and sphagnum.
Not all gardeners know that there is a method of growing indoor "Phalaenopsis" without using soil at all, but on special blocks. With this method, the plant should simply be tied to a wooden block from a piece of bark or fixed on a beautiful snag. Cultivation of "Phalaenopsis" and other orchids on special blocks of cork bark is also practiced.
Processing and preparation of bark
When preparing the bark for the substrate, it is convenient to use special instructions that provide all the requirements:
- take a large and suitable piece of wood bark, cleaned of dust;
- scraping off a layer on the inside of the tree bark;
- using a secateurs, cut the bark into pieces of the size required for the technology;
- remove the top layer, which is easily separated, and then cut off the rotten sections of the cortex with a secateurs;
- carefully inspect the bark and clean out all the places affected by the tree-eaters;
- cut the bark into cubes up to 2 cm, which, if necessary, can then be easily chopped.
In the process of cutting the bark, it is not always possible to obtain even and fairly neat cubes, however, on the growth and development of the plant, this feature of the natural material does not have a negative value. Cutting is completed by sorting, and then packing into paper bags. When storing in a plastic bag, you must not close it tightly, as this may interfere with ventilation.
Self preparation of the substrate
Before preparing the planting substrate, it is extremely important to thoroughly disinfect the tree bark or boil it for a long time in a water bath, and then completely dry it. Currently, self-preparation of the following substrates is widely used:
- based on wood bark with excellent drainage properties, represented by mixtures of bark with different fractions, from small to very large, with the addition of peat and perlite;
- substrate mixtures for orchids without admixtures of perlite or peat using exceptionally clean crushed wood bark.
Planting pots for some types of orchids are filled with a special mixture. For substrates for variegated precious orchids, a mixture is prepared on the basis of broken brick or expanded clay, as well as with the addition of coarse sand and pieces of pine bark. The mixture is supplemented with leafy ground and chopped sphagnum moss.
Choosing Orchid Bark
We also recommend that you read the article on how to choose a flower pot for orchids.
It is important to remember that the “ideal” planting substrate for growing orchids at home should have longevity, structure, preset or controlled moisture capacity, chemical and biological inertness, and also accessibility. Not only the abundance of flowering, but also the life expectancy, as well as the health of the indoor orchid, will depend on the quality indicators of the planting substrate.