As an orchid grower, you’re only as good as your orchid supplies. Once you’ve made the decision to grow your first orchid, you’re probably going to be eager to jump in and get started. But keep in mind, it pays to take your time and make sure that you’re properly equipped for success first. By becoming familiar with all the essential orchid supplies on this list, you’ll be ready for anything that comes along during your journey as an orchid grower.
#1: Orchid Pots
As a rule, orchid growers enjoy simplistic pots of plastic or terra cotta that let the natural beauty of the orchid speak for itself. But they’ve got an added benefit: they are also inexpensive. If you don’t like the way a plastic pot looks, you can always put it inside a more decorative pot. Just make sure that there’s plenty of drainage. This is important to keep in mind because your plants will generally need to be repotted every year.
Many people have the mistaken impression that you shouldn’t fertilize orchids. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While certain soil mixes can be too dense for an orchid to thrive in, a growing plant requires the kinds of nutrients that can be found in fertilizer. Look for concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium that match your plant’s individual needs. Usually, a balanced formula is a safe bet if you are unsure. And stick with the weakly, weekly fertilizing schedule.
#3: Potting Mixes
Orchids need to be able to circulate air around their roots, so be sure to choose a potting mix that provides for ample aeration. This is a very important orchid supply, so choose something that contains either perlite or vermiculite to get the job done.
#4: Misting Bottle
While you’ll only be watering your orchid every week or so, you should keep a misting bottle on hand to periodically spray down the leaves of your plant. (This is especially true for species that require high humidity.)
Even though natural sunlight is far and away the best type of light for orchids to grow by many growers supplement the sun with their own set-up of grow lights. When you are choosing your orchid supplies, you may very well enjoy the degree of control this gives you over your plant’s exposure to light sources. This article discusses the 4 basic types of grow lights.
#6: Pest Control Supplies
One thing you should have among your orchid supplies is an ample amount of pest control products. Orchids are known to occasionally become infested with insects such as spiders, mites, slugs, snails, and even scale bugs that blend into the surface of the leaves. An organic insecticide is a good option, but so are chemical treatments such as malathion.
#7: Pruning Snips
As your orchid nears the blooming stage and moves beyond, you’ll want a pair of precise pruning snips to exercise total control of its appearance. With these, you can trim back errant leaves and sculpt your plant to the perfection. Every serious orchid lover has this in their tool chest of orchid supplies.
#8: Orchid Mounts
Many orchids are so delicate, they require support to stand up straight. Often, you’ll see sticks jutting up from flowerpots with a thin piece of string tied around the stick and the main stem of their plant. This is a less than ideal situation. If your plant needs vertical support, use a proper orchid mount that doesn’t risk damaging the leaves, stems, and flowers that you’ve worked so hard to cultivate.
#9: Humidity Trays
When germinating your orchids or getting them through vegetative growth towards the blooming stage, humidity trays can be one of your best friends. These broad flat trays are perfect for tending to small amounts of orchid plants that require a humid environment in which to thrive.
Remember you don’t need to be a millionaire and have a well-equipped garden to grow beautiful orchids. You simply need to pay attention to your plant’s individual needs and be sure to collect these few essential orchid supplies with which to care for them.
Mary Ann Berdak is the publisher of OrchidCareZone.com – a top online destination for orchid growing tips and advice. For more information on caring for your newly purchased plants, download her free report, “The 5 Biggest Orchid Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them!)”, at OrchidSecretsRevealed.com.