Characteristics and cultivation of orchids

Whoever decides to go into the cultivation of orchids  can create some confusion, since there are thousands of varieties. Of course, each of them usually has its own needs. So it is best to play it safe to avoid making a mistake that literally costs that species their lives. So without further ado let’s get into the subject.

Orchid cultivation


Of South American origin, Cattleya s are one of the most popular orchids that exist. The flowers are large, fragrant, and have a wide tongue-shaped lip with a fringed edge.

Most hybrids are the so-called labiate or unifoliate plants that have a single leaf. The C. labiata  has flowers of 12 cm wide and bright pink spots on mauve, leathery leaves. The dowiana C.  is another member, whose flower spike is up to 6 yellow buds with crimson lips. Among other lipped Cattleyas are  C. mossiae, C. trianae, C. gaskellianaa,  and  C. warscewiczii.All these orchids, although they are large, require abundant light and heat throughout the day. As well as a temperature break of 6 to 8˚C at night. A clean atmosphere with high humidity is necessary, except when the species is flowering, otherwise it will cause spots on the shoots and shorten their life. Also, these plants should be transplanted every 2 years when they can be divided (as long as necessary).

Of the bifoliate plants, there are the largest plants such as C. loddigesii , which can reach 30 cm in height. As for C. aurantiaca, it  is a small bifoliate that can be grown in a glass urn or in a terrarium . Other species are suitable for polls maximum C. and C . Gwen Turner.


One of the easiest orchids to grow indoors is the Coelogyne cristata . It is native to the Himalayas where it grows in winter conditions. White flowers with yellow centers. You need to water it sparingly and prune it little by little as fall approaches. It grows well in pots drilled with a mixture of sphagnum moss peat soil and sphagnum moss. The ideal is not to transplant it.


Brassarola digbyana  also known as Rhyncolaelia digbyana  is used for hybridization. It features a green white flower with a fringed lip. This last characteristic appears in the Brassocattleya hybrids  that are very colorful.


There are many species of Dendrobiums  that are of scientific or botanical interest, but there are also those that are cultivated for their spectacular flowers. The shapes and flowers vary greatly, sometimes the lips are magnificent borders. They require abundant water in the annual growth period. However, watering should be minimized as the plant matures. It requires an aerated mix with good drainage.


Cymbidium devonianum  is a miniature orchid that blooms in the spring. The flowers are pendulous and have different colors, ranging from yellow with purple bands to olive green. It is necessary to water them regularly when there is a new sprout at the base of the pseudo bulb. In addition, it requires a dry mix of fir bark, cleared mix (charcoal) and esophagus moss.


The tropical epiphytic orchids of South America are related to the Cattleyas. Lelia pumila  is a compact, dwarf plant that appears in the fall. The petals are bright purple pink and the lip is dark crimson. The rarer varieties are used to produce hybrids.


The name Cypripedium is applied to members of 4 genera of orchids. But the true  Cypripediums  are native to North America and include some garden species such as the Selenepediums  and  Phragmipedilums .


The Epidendrums are showy orchids that are kind to grow. Epidendrum  radicans  comes from Guatemala and has racemes with red flowers. It grows very well and tends to expand against a pillar. It must be watered when the soil is dry. You need an aerated soil mix with good drainage.


The Miltonias  are known as thought orchids. It has a range of bright colors. They grow excellently in a mixture of live sphagnum with pieces of plastic. Irrigation should be selective and restricted, but the soil mix should be moist.

Most of the Miltonia hybrids are the result of the cross between M. roezlii and M. vexillaria , whose flowers are pale pink and sometimes white, on the lip they have white veins. Although several hybrids have been produced from Brazilian species. Miltonia shoots last more than 30 days, but wilt when cut.


Native to the American subtropics, Oncidiums have captivating flowers on branching stems and are ideal for growing. They usually require plenty of water in the summer, but little in winter.


Native to tropical America, they are usually ideal indoor plants. It is necessary to water them moderately in the summer, since it is their growing season. However, watering should be minimized as the leaves dry. In winter it is necessary to provide them with humidity to prevent the pseudo bulbs from contracting. They are species that require a mixture of soil based on peat moss of sphagnum and sphagnum moss.


The  known Zygopetalum species are native to Venezuela, Brazil, the Guianas, and Colombia. Zygopetalum mackayi  is the most popular for cultivation. It has greenish-yellow flowers with purple spots, with a subtle aroma. It grows very well indoors or outdoors.


The tropical Paphiopedilums   or slippers orchids formerly called Cypripedium s are very popular. They usually only have one flower per stem emerging from the middle, but there are exceptions with 3 or 4 flowers per stem. Paphiopedilum hybrids are houseplants that require less light than most orchids. Also, a soil mixture made from sphagnum peat moss works well. Among the varieties that stand out are P. barbatum, P. spicerianum, P. philippense, P. insigne, P. venestum and P. fairieanum.


Native to Central and South America, the Odontoglossums  form their name from the Greek words that are tooth  and tongue  because their lips simulate quasi-dental projections. It is very popular for cultivation and even hybridized. The same happens with the species Odontoglossum grande, O. Citrosmum and O cervantessi .

The Odontoglossum  require an airy, cold and humid environment, with abundant light in the winter. But in the summer, it is necessary to protect them from the heat. There is no dormancy period and the soil mixture should be kept slightly moist.

So regardless of the variety of orchid that is grown , there is no doubt that each of them is of a unique beauty that could frame any garden or room (as the case may be). And although their care is not easy, everything in them is worth it, don’t you think?

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