Indoor plants

How orchids are cared for

The fabulous orchid plants, where they come from and how they are made.

Orchids are characterized by an exceptional variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and in fact constitute one of the largest plant families, in nature there are more than 30,000 species and about 700 genera, to which are added the man-made hybrids that there are now over 100,000. The first to talk about it seems to have been between the sixth and fifth centuries BC the Chinese philosopher Confucius, who praised its beauty and perfume. Even the Aztecs, in Mexico, knew orchids and in particular the species Vanilla Planifolia (vanilla), whose fruit they mixed with cocoa, water and chilli to obtain a drink called Chocoatl, from which chocolate would then be derived. From a botanical point of view, orchids are mostly Epiphytes, that is, they do not live in the ground but cling to other plants even though they are not parasitic, Phanerogams,

The first step is to choose the most suitable environment.

All orchids love air and light, but each species has its needs, so it is difficult to establish in the abstract what the ideal environment is to place an orchid plant. The light needed to develop and bloom ranges from the penumbra of some species to the full sun required by others, although in general orchids still need abundant light. It is advisable to place them in front of windows facing east, but protect them with a light curtain. Regarding the ideal temperature there are orchids from cold greenhouses (min.10 ° C max 27 ° C), intermediate greenhouse (min.13 ° C max 30 ° C) and warm greenhouse (min.15 ° C max32 ° C). To give some examples, the Cattleya genus thrives well in the intermediate greenhouse climate and needs a lot of light, also loves the full sun the genus Vanda while the Phalaenopsis are better with the dimmed light but they need the heat. The Miltonia genus also lives well in dim light.

How to maintain the right humidity around our orchid.

Orchids need a humid environment and therefore the ideal room to place them is the bathroom, you can still create an adequate microclimate by spraying water around the plant and on the leaves, preferably in the morning. Water is essential for plant growth, but excessive watering is often the cause of death of orchids grown at home by enthusiasts! In principle, it is sufficient to water once a week, increasing the dose in case of high temperatures, dry air, full vegetative phase and on the contrary decreasing it if it is very cold, humidity over 70%, or if the plant is in the resting phase. To check if the plant is thirsty, look at the roots which must be green, if they are gray it needs water. The water must be at room temperature and preferably rain or demineralized since the drinking water is often rich in limestone. It is always good to check that the substrate does not remain wet to prevent the roots from rotting. The different species of orchids would require a specific substrate, but bark, a more or less fine pine bark, is the most used.

How orchids are treated in case of disease and adversity.

If the orchid looks suffering, its roots are rotten or gnawed by snails, if it grows too much, if the substrate deteriorates or is infested with parasites or molds, it is necessary to repot. Orchids can undergo parasitic attacks and infections by fungi and bacteria, often favored by poor cultivation conditions, and in fact a carefully cultivated plant by providing it with the right light, temperature and humidity is stronger and remains healthy. Infections, in particular, by keeping the environment ventilated and the aerial parts dry should not show up. The parasites that most frequently attack the orchid are the scale insects, which tend to colonize the entire plant and suck its sap. In particular the cottony scale insects, with the appearance of small white lice, they produce a characteristic waxy substance and often nest in hidden points but do not escape careful inspection. A valid alternative to insecticides is thorough cleaning with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol, to be repeated several times. If you have more than one specimen, remember to separate the diseased plant from the others.

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