Ways & How

how to make orchid potting mix

how to make orchid potting mix

Some orchids are home grown, particularly the ones that exist in tropical climates. It’s not the temperature that orchids are sensitive to but the potting mix. Their roots need air and moisture, and soil mixes cannot give sufficient amounts of these components – that’s why they normally grow in a good mixture of organic and inorganic materials, preferably in a hanging set-up. Here’s how to make orchid potting mix:

  1. Choose a pot that has a lot of room to hold not just the components of the potting mix but also the selected orchid itself. Remember that orchids have air roots and they will not survive in a too dense potting mix.

  2. Load a mixture of one part of fir bark and another equal part of coconut husks. This should fill up to two-third of the pot. When more moisture is needed, finer barks are used – they hold more moisture than the courser ones. There are also medium grades to be in between the fine and the coarse types. There are orchid varieties that naturally grow on barks, like the Epiphytes.

    nut husks retain more water, but the breaking down is much slower.

  3. Add the mixture of one part vermiculite and three parts charcoal to the remaining space in the pot. Perlite, tree fern, rock wool and wine corks are also used to substitute the major orchid potting mix components. Wine corks are commonly used to drain water faster. Know the characteristics of these materials and find alternatives supplied in your area. It’s not practical using imported components. They will cost money and may not be the best choice for your orchid potting mix.

  4. Get the right materials for the mixture needed by certain orchid varieties. Terrestrial orchids, like Phalaenopsis and Phragmipedium, will need continuous moisture, so their potting mix must contain materials like the New Zealand Sphagnum Moss, which is noted for its water retention ability. Epiphytes are normally found in mossy rocks, so lithophytes and mossy limbs are good components for their potting mix.

  5. Take note of the progress of your orchid plantation and note the potting mix components that work best. Make adjustments by doing research to find out the best potting mix combination for your kind of orchids. Most orchid growers have developed their own recipes that work best for their orchids. You may have to do some trial and error, but it’s basically part of the process.

  6. Do some experimenting in your watering system. Note how often you need to water your orchids for a particular potting mixture. Keeping records for the details of your experiment can help you repeat successful potting set-ups over and over again. There is no short-cut for this, so take time to learn more about your project in actuality.

How to make orchid potting mix is not just about following basic instructions. The actual procedure must be observed carefully. Not all orchids have the same needs. They naturally have airy roots, but note that terrestrial orchids need denser potting mix wherein sand and peat moss must also be added. It is much safer to stick with the ones fully grown in your area, especially when you are just starting up. Other environmental factors can also affect the orchids the same as the climate.


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