HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS
«We are Orchids - they say alone -, nothing can be opposed to us capable of hiding us; Nor need you spend much of your hard work, gentlemen floriculturists, for us to show our virtues, we do not need land, we do not need surface, your cares useless, leave us up here astride this hospitable piece of dead wood, let them our roots dangle in the air, leave us in peace, we desire nothing but water from your hands, since you have taken us from our homelands where the sky assisted us as it suited us; just taste us if you have eyes to see, nostrils to perceive, soul to hear. "Masera - Floriculture - Utet 1970
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Kind: there are about 775 and the most used for ornamental purposes are: Brassia, Cambria, Cattleya, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Dracula, Laelia, Lycaste, Miltonia and Miltoniopsis, Odontoglossum, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum, Phalaenopsis, Phragmipedium, Pleionee Vanda
Species: there are about 19,500
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICSAlthough belonging to a single botanical family, that of
Orchidaceae, include a large number of species, genera and varieties. both spontaneous and cultivated, which makes their classification extremely complex.
They are widespread almost everywherebut for the most part they originate from the humid zones of the intertropical belt. In Italy we have about 85 spontaneous species, distributed in wetlands both in the mountains and near the coasts, many of which are extremely rare and endangered and as such protected from indiscriminate collection.
Orchids have very different habitats
Read also the article «Classification of orchids».
The stemit is generally erect, although in some cases, as in the Vanilla Planifolia, from whose fruits vanilla is obtained, is creeping or climbing. In various species there are particular tuberized steles, called pseudobulbs, which act as reserve organs for water and nutrients; for a good growth it is essential that the orchid has at least two. Read also the article: «Anatomy of orchids». Also
Leavesthey are mostly simple, elongated and without petiole and in the formeepiphytes they start from the pseudobulbs.
The flowersthey are of various shapes, colors and sizes, solitary or gathered in inflorescences, terminals or at the axil of the leaves.
Orchids are almost all allogams
ORCHIDS CULTURAL TECHNIQUE
The climatic needsof the different orchids vary considerably in relation to their different geographical origin and for the same individual, depending on the phase of the biological cycle; in Italy their cultivation takes place exclusively in protected and carefully climate-controlled environments.
In any case, orchids love the lightbut not direct exposure to sunlight and the temperatures of our apartments in winter are generally satisfactory for their needs.However, temperatures that are too different from the optimal ones can cause disfigurement in the leaves and flowers.
ambient humidity, which if it is excessive it causes the appearance of spots on the flowers, while if it is too low it causes yellowing and wrinkling of the vegetation. Especially for epiphytes it is better to humidify the environment than directly wet the substrate. Read also the article: "Light for orchids »And the article:« Temperature and ventilation of orchids ».
WATERING AND MOISTURE ORCHIDS
In heated rooms and during the hot season, irrigationit must happen 2 to 4 times a week, while
in the cold seasonit can be reduced to once a week, especially for epiphytes, unless they are cultivated suspended so, being exposed to the air, they need more irrigation interventions. Pearls
species originating from areas with drought periods, it is better to suspend watering in correspondence with these periods; moreover, the species with pseudobulbs can store water even for long periods. Very harmful are the water excesses that cause yellowing and degradation of the pseudobulbs, with the roots coming out of the pot. It is also very important to avoid water stagnating in the leaves or flowers, causing so with rots; it is advisable to use rainwater and not tap water, which contains chlorine to which orchids are particularly sensitive. Read also the article: «Watering and humidity of orchids».
TYPE OF SOIL - ORCHIDS REPOTGenerally orchids prefer
substratesbasically acidic, soft and well-balanced, poor in mineral elements; the materials tend to be used are made up of mixtures of peat, sphagnum (moss that grows in peat bogs), coniferous leaves and bark, fern roots, woodland. While for epiphytic species the substrate has mainly a supporting function, for terrestrial species it has a trophic (nutritional) function. Very often the epiphytic or semi-epiphytic species are cultivated suspended in bins of wood or wire, on "rafts" of bark mixed with spongy materials, which maintain optimal levels of humidity around the roots. article: «Type of soil and repotting of orchids».
Generally, orchids are not very demanding in nutritional elements; the optimal nutrient solution must contain twice the nitrogen compared to phosphorus and potassium and is replaced with a frequency ranging from 7-15 days to 3-4 weeks, depending on the needs of the species and the seasonal period. Read also the article: " Fertilization of orchids ».
MULTIPLICATIONIn floricultural practice
orchids are reproducedby seed or vegetatively propagated by division of adult plants or by culture of meristematic apexes. Given the complexity of these operations and the need for them to take place in particular environments, it is not possible to carry out them in one's own home.
PARASITES AND DISEASESSince most of the orchids grown in greenhouses and sold as houseplants are native to tropical or subtropical areas, or are hybrids obtained in nurseries with particular cross-fertilization techniques between different species and genera,
they do not find their natural parasites in our environmentsand vectors of specific diseases. For this reason they are therefore mostly subject to physiopathies, that is to alterations caused by conditions of temperature, light and humidity not favorable to their harmonious development.The light factorif not adequate, it manifests the following damage in plants:
a) symptoms of insufficient lighting, which can be remedied with artificial lighting. In the winter months, 12 hours of light should alternate with 12 hours of darkness
b) vice versa are symptoms due to excessive lighting, accompanied by high temperatures and low ambient humidity:
they generally depend on excessive watering, even with water that is not at room temperature or rich in chlorine or even from excessive environmental humidity
Temperature factorWe are talking in particular of damage caused by too low temperatures:
However, most orchids currently grown are in the form of hybrids that adapt to different temperature conditions, but not too much from their original one.
Read also the article: «Diseases and treatments of orchids».
LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS AND PLANTS
See: «Orchids - The language of flowers and plants».
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