Most flower growers love orchids due to its enchanting fragrances and vibrant colors. Orchid gardening needs very detailed and precise care whether you’re opting for hydroponic growing or soil gardening. Selecting the appropriate growing media for the corresponding orchid species is very important. The function of growing media is to hold moisture and nutrients and present it to plants when they require. They also support the root system of the orchid. Amateurs hail for flower gardening with orchids as their first preference, and to guide such gardening enthusiasts, we are describing few most preferred growing medium for orchids.
Fir Bark: One of the most popular and economical orchid growing medium, fir bark, comes in three grades i.e. fine, medium, and coarse. For orchid seedlings and plants with thin roots, fine variety is used, while the coarse variety is used for Vanda Orchids and larger-sized Phalaenopsis Orchids.
Sphagnum Moss: This live soft springy plant has high water retention capacity and hence is best for making moisture beds for orchids. It is often used in combination with other growing medium but can be used singly too. Sphagnum moss comes in two varieties: New Zealand Sphagnum moss (premium and expensive) and Chilean Sphagnum moss (good quality and economical).
Expanded Clay Pebbles: Media such as expanded clay pebbles or expanded shale, like lava rock, are artificially made but ideal for growing orchids. They do not decay and retain good amount of moisture. They are porous, which facilitates aeration.
Perlite and Heydite: Commercial orchid growers are flocking to hydroponics growing like never before due to the amazing yield it brings. Heydite, a crushed shale product, and Perlite, a volcanic rock, are frequently used hydroponic growing media. They have very good water drainage capacity and hence, eliminate the risk of overwatering orchids. They are sterile, easily leachable, and have superb nutrient retention capacity unlike peat and soil. Perlite is lightweight and provides aeration to the root systems of the plant, which is necessary for orchid life.
A huge variety of growing media are available these days, few of them can be combined together to give maximum benefit to plants. Many varieties like Cymbidiums and Cattleyas do well in a mix of bark chippings, mixed with a little perlite, and hardwood charcoal. Paphiopedilums and Phragmipediums favor a blend of rockwool, a little sphagnum moss and some perlite. Hydroponic growing medium gives you the freedom to plant your young seedlings at any time.