As a new orchid owner, you might ask whether caring for the epiphytic plant is difficult. It is not very true, yet just different. Therefore, learn what Orchidaceae needs and how it grows from the following article to understand its basic knowledge about orchid-like flowers.
Orchid Plant Classification
Orchidaceae becomes the most distinctive flowering plant that has over eight hundred genera and twenty-two thousand species. Each type needs diverse care requirement, both hybrid and pure varieties are quite challenging.
A large number of new growths are created by crossing different genera or species to establish typical characteristics that include fragrance, coloration, and flower size. Depending on the condition in which it lives, the orchid can be as epiphytes, lithophytes, or terrestrials.
The long-lasting blossoms come in various luminous hues such as yellow, pink, magenta, white, and purple. The proper care allows the orchids to stay for years. Every several months, they will repeat the lifecycle, from the incipient blossom, latent period, and rebloom stage.
Moreover, orchids have two categories based on their growth habits. Firstly, monopodial features an erect single-stem with opposite leaves. The flower branch comes out from the bottom of the topmost.
Secondly, sympodial has a horizontal growth habit that forms young branches from the rhizome root. The flower and leaves appear on the new stems. This group of orchids can deposit nutrition and water for the dry season.
Moreover, some groups that relate to the wild habitat require a different level of moisture, lighting, and temperature. Humid-tropic orchids grow at a temperature of 23 to 29 degrees Celsius and 90% humidity.
Then, warm-climate species live in the area with good stability of air circulation and humidity. They are adapted to a temperature of 27 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, the high-altitude orchids need a temperature of 16 degrees Celsius with a very high level of moisture.
How to Grow Orchid
The main key to achieve successful orchid care is to mimic the conditions in the wild habitat. Most species grow on other plants, stick to stones or rough bark, and some varieties thrive on the garden floor.
Each type needs different preferences for water, lighting, fertilizer, humidity, and growing media. Importantly, orchids should not be over-water. The right amount of water might vary due to the varieties, the type of mix, and the environment. Watering from the bottom of the pot or using a humidity tray is optional.
Providing proper lighting is essential since orchid light requirements may vary. Some prefer a high level of illumination without being exposed by direct sunlight. Meanwhile, others need low intensity but stay close to any source of flares.
Moreover, give appropriate moisture levels by utilizing a humidifier, humidity, or gravel-filled tray. After that, you can fertilize the plants to support healthy cultivation. Apply liquid fertilizers when they are growing actively.
Opting for the best media should fit the variety of orchid since this plant is mostly epiphyte. For example, fir bark becomes a popular cultivating medium. It circulates the air and allows the water to drain quickly. Other materials are rock wool, peat moss, perlite, and coconut fiber.
Although most orchids will stay healthy in the same container, some types need to be repotted annually. Re-potting is necessary when the roots creep out of the planter. Also, if new shoots put out of balance, replace the pot with a larger one.
Additionally, propagation by seeds is more difficult since the seedlings have no nutrient storing layers. It may occur in sterile conditions. Grow them in a medium that consists of growth hormones and nutrition.
On the other hand, propagate the orchids with plant dividing. The large division will produce many flowers. Meanwhile, the small one needs plenty of years to reach its maturity.
Orchid Care Tips
One of the tips for successful orchid care is choosing proper media that offer good airflow and drainage. The materials should fit the type and growing condition. Secondly, opt for the best pot that allows the plant to grow healthy roots.
Therefore, clear containers help you to control the condition of the root. They get involved in photosynthesis. The transparent vase allows the light to pass through it and make the process occur.
Then, the orchid plant that suffers from any diseases will show some signs like the spread of bacteria and bug. Remove the infected parts as soon as possible. The perfect protection for the illness is by applying cinnamon as a safe and effective bactericide.
Popular Types of Orchids
Orchid has been grown into a wide range of varieties that offer unique colors, shapes, and fragrances. While several types are quite difficult to cultivate, some other species still require easy care. Determine what kind of group to suit the growing conditions that you have.
This species usually found in warm, moist, open canopy tropical trees. Cycnoches feature thick and long stalks with the blossoms hanging downward. The blooming flowers come in white, pink, yellow, green, and deep red. The sympodial plants are sensitive to light, so it is better to keep them away from direct sunshine.
They belong to the Catasetum genus that will thrive indoors with LED lights. Keep the room temperature at about 24 degree Celsius during the day and 6 degree Celsius at night since the genera prefer cool or warm condition.
Cymbidium orchid functions as both indoors and outdoors decorative plants with blooming flowers that can last for two months. Do not expose this cold-tolerant genus to direct sunlight since it can be burned.
The tall spikes feature 25 scented blossoms with long narrow leaves. It also has a widespread root system that might be overpotted. Therefore, dividing and repotting the orchid plants are necessary. Use Rockwool, fir bark, redwood fiber, and dried oak leaves to grow Cymbidium.
All groups of Dendrobiums are epiphytic plants because they grow on the tree branches in the wild habitat. These popular genera have dendrobine, a kind of toxin that functions as traditional medicine.
Dendrobium orchid is tolerant of any climates such as cold mountains, wet lowlands, and hot temperatures. Thus, this robust grower develops a new erect cane from the rhizome every year. The old elongated stem can produce flowers and small young plants called keikis.
The scientific name Brassia comes from William Brass, the botanist who helped originally collect this orchid. Brassia is a fragrant orchid that resembles a spider. Every pseudobulb has 12 flowers with attractive colors. The blossoms have maroon spots that appear in the yellowish-green petals. Its creamy-rosy long sepals look like legs.
Brassia has several types of flowers that include eternal wind, mystic maze, orange delight, Tessa, and Sherlob Tolkien. They offer spider-like appearances in different color schemes. Their figures are useful for attracting insects to help pollination.
Grow in the warm, moist open canopy of trees but there are a number that are happiest in the “boot” of palm trees. Catasetum is an orchid plant with eye-catching waxy flowers. While touching the blooms, they throw out the pollen. Interestingly, it can produce female and male blossoms. Both sexes depend on light intensity levels. Most of the Catasetum species are like Cycnoches in growth pattern.
In low lighting areas, the male flowers will appear. They are more attractive with bright hues and big size. On the other hand, the females that cultivated in high illumination have yellow-green petals and small altitude.
For a long period, a Cattleya corsage was a prerequisite for any special occasion and as a result the Cattleya has often been called the Queen of Orchids. Cattleya orchids have large blossoms with vibrant yellow petals and deep red lobes. These sturdy plants are very fragrant. They are popularly used as cut flowers.
The corsage orchid, another common name of Cattleya, has smooth and tall stems with bright green leaves. It belongs to a sympodial plant that develops along the rhizome. The flower colors are white, purple, pink, yellow, orange, red, and blue.
One of the most favorite species among orchid lovers is Epidendrum. This plant has slender jointed stems, whereas other varieties produce pseudobulbs.
Then, the flower clusters appear in corymbs and inflorescences. They feature a three-lobed lip at the lower part. Bunches of blooming blossoms come in orange, red, yellow, and lavender.
Pansy orchids or Miltonia have varied hues such as white, pink, yellow, red, and purple. The blooming flowers look like a face. The plants are bred into many hybrids with vibrant blossoms and appealing leaves.
Each long stem comes up ten flowers that are similar to Odontoglossum orchid. The petals mostly have a white color with a blush of purple edges. Then, they will bloom in the spring season for about five weeks. Several hardy species will rebloom in fall.
Maybe many of you think Paphiopedilum is Cypripedium or Phragmipedium orchids. Paphiopedilum has slipper-shaped flowers that are the same with Cypripedium and Phragmipedium orchids. Therefore, this species is also known as the lady’s slippers. Some types are single-flowers, while other varieties have multi-flowers.
The lady slipper has a protuberant dorsal sepal and a lip that resembles a cup. This pouch is unique and available in various color patterns depending on the varieties. Besides, its leathery glossy green leaves create a fan-like tuft.
Phalaenopsis or Moth is the most famous orchid because this plant offers a showy look with an easy-to-grow feature for beginners. It has large leafy flowers with various pure hues and spotted markings. Then, the spikes will develop from the stem under the third leaf.
Finally, you have already known about several appealing orchid varieties that have easy plant care, especially for first-time growers. Those types are hopefully suitable for your growing conditions, so the tips will help to keep the blooming flowers stay healthy and alive.