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The orchid is not planted in regular potting soil. This tropical crop needs a specific substrate.
The soil can be bought in a specialized store, but it is not always possible to guess the quality, so it is best to prepare it yourself.
The article describes in detail how to make soil on your own, what components are required and where to find them.
Is it possible to prepare the soil yourself?
Florists who are just starting to grow orchids prefer to purchase ready-made substrate in stores. But already experienced flower growers prepare the soil mixture on their own. They believe that such soil is considered to be of better quality. Preparing such a substrate is not difficult at all.
In addition, it has a number of other advantages:
- costs a minimum cost;
- the florist is completely confident in the quality of the components;
- the ability to select components in accordance with the varieties of orchids;
- the recipe is as simple as possible, the mixture is prepared quickly.
Important! Remember to replace the soil every 2-3 years.
Why is the store substrate bad?
With the growing popularity of orchids, the choice of substrates for planting these flowers also grows. There are mixtures of Russian and foreign manufacturers. The main constituents of a standard substrate are sphagnum moss and tree bark. But there are also more expensive components.
Unfortunately, the growth of ready-made substrate options led to the fact that the quality of the soil mixture began to deteriorate. Increasingly, growers are replacing bark and moss with soil dust and peat.which can be harmful to the plant. That is why it is recommended to prepare the soil yourself.
The main criteria for the composition of the mixture are lightness, air and water permeability, as well as pH at 5.5-6.5.
The main components of orchid potting mix are:
- tree bark;
- sphagnum moss;
- ash (also wood);
- fern roots.
This composition is considered basic and most optimal for orchids.
In order for the plant to bloom magnificently and release rich greens, auxiliary components should also be added to the mandatory components:
- deciduous and soddy soil;
- coconut fiber;
- dry foliage;
- nutshells (you can take any nut);
- expanded clay in granules;
- brick chips;
Basically, additional components are used as a drainage layer.
Where can I get them?
What can you buy?
Inorganic ingredients will need to be purchased at the store. Among them are the following:
- Expanded clay. It has proven itself as a drainage system. The material is lightweight and inexpensive. There are different factions. The size should be chosen based on the size of the pot and the root system.
- Gravel, perlite and vermiculite. The material is environmentally friendly. It is necessary for loosening and drainage of the soil. Available from hardware stores.
- Styrofoam. One of the cheapest drainage components. Responsible for increasing water permeability. The material is non-toxic, chemically inert.
- Coconut fiber. The material is sold already disinfected, in ready-made packages with different weights.
What can you get yourself?
Some natural ingredients, for example, such as pine cones and bark, can not be bought, but prepared with your own hands:
- Tree bark. The bark of both deciduous and coniferous trees is suitable. But the second option is preferable. It is necessary to take the bark from the fallen trees, since they no longer contain resin, which negatively affects the condition of the orchids. The bark must be dry and diseased and affected areas must be removed immediately.
- Fern rhizomes. They dig out any bush and cut off the roots from it, clean it from the soil. After that, the roots are cut into small pieces and dried well.
- Sphagnum moss. Grows in swampy areas. It is best harvested in springtime. Moss loosens the soil, fights bacteria and absorbs excess moisture. It contains a large amount of trace elements. Moss can be used dry. and wet.
- Wood ash. Characterized by properties similar to moss. To get it, it is enough to burn a few logs.
- Peat. necessary for the accumulation and retention of moisture in the mixture. You need to choose a salt-free variety.
- Pine cones. You need to take already fallen dry cones.
- Deciduous ground and leaves. You can choose any foliage, the main thing is that there is no debris and even tree branches in it.
What to replace?
Most of the soil constituents are natural materials. But, if they cannot be obtained, it will be possible to find replacements for the missing components.
- Pine bark can be replaced with sand. Only you need to take a large river. Leafy earth or small polystyrene is also suitable.
- Instead of moss, add hydrogel or foam rubber.
- Wood ash is easily replaced with crushed activated carbon.
- Broken brick, perlite, gravel, vermiculite, as well as pebbles and crushed stone are equal drainage components. Therefore, in the absence of one, you can take another.
Several options for soil composition
Orchids that are grown at home are divided into two types - epiphilic and terrestrial. They differ not only in appearance, but also in the optimal growing environment. Therefore, they need to select the composition of the soil individually.
For epiphytic plant species
The main difference between this species is the growth of the root system on top of the soil. Therefore, the substrate has only one task - to maintain the plant in an upright position and maintain an optimal moisture level.
For epiphytic species, it is not necessary to add peat and soil to the mixture. Substrate options for epiphytes:
- 2 parts of moss, half of ash, 5 parts of tree bark, 0.5 parts of dry leaves.
- 1 part of ash, peat and moss, as well as 3 parts of bark and cork material.
- Take bark, moss, fern rhizomes and charcoal in equal proportions.
- Mix 1 part wood ash with 5 parts pine cones or bark.
These species need enhanced nutrition. Therefore, the earth and and peat will not be superfluous components. Variations in composition:
- In equal proportions, take bark, moss, peat, charcoal, and expanded clay in granules.
- 2 parts of leaf soil, humus and fern roots, as well as 1 part of peat and coarse river sand.
- Three parts of leafy or sod land, as well as part of the following components: pine bark, moss and peat.
- Part of dry foliage, moss and coarse sand, 3 parts of leafy soil, 2 parts of dry fern rhizome.
Basic rules for harvesting
The most important rule is to prepare the ingredients in advance. It is also recommended to adhere to the following rules:
- Moss is dried in partial shade, after which they are put in separate bags and stored in a dark, dry place. If the moss is wet, it is placed in the freezer, also packed in separate bags.
- The coals from the fire are collected, crushed into pieces of 3-4 cm. The ash is placed in a bag and stored in a cool place.
- The bark should be dry, but not decayed. With the help of a secateurs, the bark is crushed into pieces of 3-4 cm.
- Fern roots are advised to be stored in a hermetically sealed package.
- Do not forget that all the components collected by the florist on their own are disinfected. Large components are poured with boiling water for half an hour, and then placed in cool water. And small and loose ones are pierced in an oven at a temperature of 220-230 degrees for 5-7 minutes.
How to do it at home?
Selection of the optimal ratio of components
First you need to find out which species your orchid belongs to. 90% of all plant species are epiphytic. These include the following:
And only the remaining 10% are land-based. These include cymbidium and pafiopedilum. After that, he will choose one of the mixture options described above.
Preparing the right amount of materials
All components are prepared in advance. The proportions are indicated in the recipes described in the article above (in the section "Several options for mixtures for orchids").
Choose orchids for your species. But slight deviations from the recommendations are allowed. You need to look at the state and size of the root system.
Also, do not forget to pay attention to the indoor climate. If the room is very dry, add a little more moisture-consuming ingredients.
Mixing container and tools
You need to prepare a flowerpot for planting an orchid, a container for mixing the components, as well as a spatula and a measuring container. After that using a measuring spoon, take the required amount of ingredients, place them in a large basin and mix well.
Staged placement in a pot
The last stage is directly placing the mixture in the pot.
- You need to take a transparent flowerpot, which must have drainage holes. First of all, we lay expanded clay - this will be drainage.
- Then you need to put a layer of substrate.
- Then drain again and finish again with substrate.
Remember to constantly check the condition of the soil. Indeed, over time, it depletes and turns into dust without any useful components. Therefore, the orchid needs to be regularly transplanted into new soil - at least once every 2-3 years.