Like any plant species, orchids grow best in conditions that closely match those to which the plants are adapted in nature. To bring about proper growth and development of the orchid, environmental conditions should be regulated to the plant’s needs. These include temperature, watering, use of fertilizers, light intensity, humidity, and repotting. Optimum Temperature Range For Growing Orchid Different species of orchids thrive well in different temperature ranges. Until the appearance of flowers spikes, generally, a temperature variation of 5 to 10 degrees in temperature at day and night benefits the plant. For common observation, species that develop well in cooler temperatures have thinner leaves than ones that require more heat and have thick fleshy leaves. Light Intensity Lighting requirements for growing orchid, too, vary from one genus of orchid to another. Most orchids need shade rather than direct sunlight. Some orchids like Paphiopedilums and Phalaenopsis do well in moderately intense light. Others like Cymbidiums and Cattleyas require brighter light and respond better to more exposure to direct sunlight. In summer, about 60% shading is normally needed for most orchids. Watering Season of the year and the variety of the growing orchid are two main factors on which the watering requirements of the orchid plant depend. Monopodial orchids having no pseudo-bulbs require more frequent watering than Sympodial orchids which bear pseudo-bulbs. Rainwater is best to use, maintaining a room temperature. Always water when you see the medium of the plant is nearly dry. The moist character of the medium can also be checked with a wooden stick. Fertilizers Like most plants, orchids need fertilizing for healthy growth. Proportion of the fertilizer used varies according to the growing condition of the plant and the kind of soil mix used as medium. For an actively growing plant a 25-10-10 fertilizer will do better and when the flowering period comes, a 15-30-15 fertilizer is commendable. If a bark mix is being used, a 30-20-20 fertilizer is the best choice. For most other mediums 20-20-20 fertilizers prove effective. Humidity It is important to consider the relative humidity while growing orchid plants in home or garden. Generally, orchids require high humidity in the environment. This amounts to about 70 % in daytime and 40 % in the night in summer season. In winter, a 50 % humidity value in the day and 30 % in the night best suit the plant. If your indoor growing orchid plant needs greater humidity, place the pot of the plant on a bed of gravel in water-filled container. Take care not to directly wet the pot. Alternatively, use a humidifier. Repotting Repotting is needed if the medium is decomposed; the growing orchid has outgrown the pot; drainage is poor; or root rot is observed. A good potting medium usually decomposes slowly, lasting at least two years. It should be light and have small openings for aeration. Before repotting a growing orchid, remove the old mix; rinse the roots, cutting the rotten parts. Place the plant in shade and do not water until after three days. Instead, use a hand spray to moisten the mix.
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