Orchid Potting Material – Get the Right Mix

Orchid Potting Material – Get the Right Mix


To grow an Orchid successfully takes a lot larger variety of materials than say a standard house plant. Instead of a soil Orchids must be potted in a mixture of materials that are aerating and also able to retain water. On top of this an Orchid grower must correctly calculate the ratio of aerating material to water retaining material for each different species of Orchid he or she wishes to grow.

Often excess moisture will form at the edges of pockets of air within the potting mixture that is being used; this can then in turn cause faster degradation of the compost that has been used to pot the Orchid. In turn this will lead to root rot and the Orchid being unable to absorb enough nutrients with its damaged root system will start to turn yellow on its leaves.

In the situation that the leaves of an Orchid do start to turn yellow many novice Orchid growers jump to the conclusion that the reason for the yellow leaves is a lack of water. To rectify the situation many beginners would decide to further water their Orchid, which will only result in yet more damage to the already damaged roots due to overwatering. As you can imagine this is not an ideal way to care for an Orchid and if continued with will undoubtedly lead to you owning a dead Orchid.

Orchids grow best in a mixture of both organic and inorganic materials. You can get these mixtures from almost all garden centre’s as well as nurseries.

You also have the opportunity to create your own potting mix to use when growing your Orchids. A mixture of your own making has gives you the chance to cater to the exact species of Orchid you are growing ultimately resulting in a healthier Orchid with more impressive blooms.

By combining a selection of the below mentioned inorganic and organic potting materials you are sure to give your Orchid an advantage when it comes to maximizing its blooms.

Organic Materials for Use in Your Orchids Potting Mix

  • The fibers of tree ferns are in fact an ideal potting material. The reason for this is that they decompose very slowly and also offer good drainage for your Orchid, which as you know from above is crucial if you are to avoid root rot. The only real problem with tree fern fibers are that they are not very easy to obtain. If you can however locate some tree fern fibers for use in your potting mix then it is highly recommended that you do.
  • One of the first materials that was used when specialty Orchid mixes came into existence is the coconut husk. This fiber is reasonably good at retaining water and affordable. When compared with fir bark however coconut husk does have a faster rate of decay.
  • The thing you must know when using fir bark in your potting mixture is that at first it has trouble properly retaining the water. But taking this into account fir bark is a wonderful material to use and is also widely available.
  • With better water retention than fir bark and a fairly slow rate of decay redwood bark makes an ideal material for use in your potting mixture.

Inorganic Material for Use in Your Orchids Potting Mix

  • Heavy pumice rocks or lava rocks provide great drainage for your Orchid when used in your potting mix.
  • Over used pearlite can cause nearly all excess water to be absorbed resulting in there not being enough water left to feed your Orchid. But when used in moderation pearlite has fantastic water retention capabilities and can go a along time before decay will force you to renew the potting mix.
  • Vermiculite, a naturally occurring mineral, has extremely good water retention abilities, which means there will be better aeration throughout your potting mix. It cannot be stressed enough just how important it is to have a well aerated potting mix when you are trying to grow a healthy Orchid. If you can include vermiculite in your potting mix then your Orchid will be all the healthier for it.
  • A material that decays slowly and is able to absorb toxins within the potting mix is charcoal and is a wonderful material to be used in your potting mix.

Many factors affect the growing of a healthy Orchid but the potting mix in which you grow your Orchid is arguably the most important. Without a satisfactory potting mix you will be limiting the potential of your Orchid to reach its full beauty. By creating your own potting mix you can cater to each and every Orchid you own and in this way always get the most out of which ever Orchid it is you wish to grow.


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