All About Orchids

by Adam Sando

Orchids form the worlds largest family of plants. They grow wild in every single country except Antartica.
Orchids have fascinated people since early times. They have always been known as the symbol of love, luxury, and beauty
  'Bright Star'  

rchid history: The story is told that orchids were merely curiosites to many botanists. That would all change when in 1818 when William Cattley got ahold of some plants that had been brought back by British Sea captains from far off lands. William Cattley was unpacking the plants brought back and noticed strange looking plants that were used as a packing material. He potted them and in November, one of those plants bloomed; it was the Cattleyas. The flower world has never been the same since that blooming of a single plant.

rchid facts:

Orchids not only grow in tropical rain forests trees, they are also able to grow on rocks using the rock as an anchor. Terrestrial orchids are able to grow in other areas such as woodland, mountain sides, and in meadows...

Orchids have developed certain types of blooms to entice the type of insects that pollinate them. Orchids are also able to control their level of fragrance that is released, for example some orchids are pollinated by a night moth so their fragrance is best at night...

Many Orchids are now on endangered lists as millions of them were stripped from forests in the past. Now almost all collecting of Orchids is now banned...

Orchid collecting became strong in the 18th century in many parts of the world, people were drawn to their unusual flowers, and almost intoxicating fragrances...

rchid growing in your own home: In the past orchids cost a very large amount of money sometimes over a thousand dollars. Nowdays because of seed cultivation you are able to obtain your own orchid seeds for a relatively low cost sometimes around $10.00. Some Orchids take more skill to grow than others but with the right care and upbringing you can grow most orchids in your own home.

The Basics to home growing:

Potting: Most types of pots can be used to grow Orchids, however they grow best mounted on tree bark, pressed tree fern, or cork bark with sphagnum moss around the roots. However mounted Orchids do need more watering than do potted ones.

Growth Media: There are many types of growth media out there (eg. cork nuggets, wine corks, fir bark, osmunda, rock wool, lava rock etc.) The best mix to use for Orchids with thin roots is equal portions of small size fir bark, small charcoal chips, and perlite. For Orchids with larger roots you can use medium sized fir bark, med. sized charcoal chips, and a larger grade of perlite.

Fertilizing: A balance of 7-9-5 (N-P-K) is a very good mix for all mediums you use. To help promote flowering you can also use something known as "blossom booster" this should be used before the bud formation state and is a 3-12-6 formula. Fertilize usually once a week with a ratio of 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water you use. Also you have to judge fertilizing by the health of your plant.

Lighting: Different types of Orchids require different types of light you will have to find out from growing guides or someone who is familiar with the flower to help you decide how much light is needed.

Humidity: Ochids like to be in a place where the humidity is between 40% - 70%

Temperature: this is much like lighting, the temperature at which orchids thrive will vary amongst the different varieties so it is very important to find out ahead of time what temperature is best for your plant, this to can be done by observing growing guides, or talking to someone familiar with the plants.

Water: When watering you basically have to pay attention to the plant. The media you are using to grow Ochids on or in is usually different than that of usual house plants so don't feel the need to keep the media moist as Orchid media is supposed to absorb the water and dry out allowing oxygen in and around the roots. Start by watering your Orchid once a week and pay attention to see if the plant requires more or less.........Finally Good Luck with your Orchid growing!!!

--Here are some wonderful Orchid Pics from around the world --

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Favorite Orchid Links

Orchid Digest

the Orchid Guide

The Orchid Mall

Orchid Mania