Orchid is an outstanding beautiful flower of the flower world. It is famous for its types, attractive colors, long vase life and its fragrance. Due to its long vase life, maximum use of this flower is an as cut flower. In this “Orchid Care – How to Care for Orchids Growing” post, We have discussed Importance of orchid, Classification of orchid, orchid care and management from planting to harvesting step by step. The plants belonging to the family Orchidaceae are commonly known as orchids. All orchids are monocot plants.
Common Name: ORCHID
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Orchids produce very fancy and decorative flowers. The cut flower life of orchid in the vase is long. It lasts for a few days to a few months. It is a multimillion dollar business in the world. The original sources of vanilla are the orchid species Vanilla planifolia. The vanilla is obtained from the dried and cured capsules. Orchid has some medicinal value. The drug Chin Shih-hu obtained from the dried stem of Dendrobium nobile. It is being used in China for a long time as an antipyretic and tonic. Leaves of some orchids are used as a vegetable in many countries. Such as Anoectochilus is used in Malaysia. Dried and cured leaves and pseudo bulbs are sometimes used to prepare beverage and tea. Stems of Dendrobium spp are used for weaving baskets. Some species of orchids such Geodorum nutans yield a glue. It is used in the manufacture of musical instruments such as a guitar.
Orchids are classified in various ways:
The growth of the axis is ceased at the end of each flowering season. They continue in the next season by newly grown aries e.g., Cattleya, Dendrobium, Oncidium.
This group of orchids does not make new vegetative growth every year or season. They have one main upright stem which continues to grow. They elongate season after season bearing new flower e.g., Vanda, Coelogyne, Phalaenopsis, Arachnis etc.
This group of orchids are lying between the sympodial and monopodial orchids. They grow simultaneously in the apical direction season after season e.g., Phalaenopsis spp.
The orchids which like a day temperature of 15.5 – 210C and that of 10 – 12.50C night temperature for proper growth and flowering e.g., Cymbidium, Dendrobium etc.
The temperature range of 21 – 290C during day and 18 – 210C at night is ideal for these orchids e.g., Phalaenopsis, Vanda and Dendrobium.
The temperature range of 18 – 210C during day and 15.5 – 180C at night is ideal for this group e.g., Cattleya, Oncidium.
The production of good orchid depends on orchid care and managements. The proper steps of orchid care and managements are-
Most of the orchids are very sensitive to their growing conditions. Humidity is the most important determining factor for growth and flowering in orchids. Regulation of shade is equally important and needs the attention of the growers. Good air movement is also essential for healthy growth of orchids. The growth and flowering of orchids influence on water quality. It also depends on the quality of the growing media such as sand, coconut husks etc.
Orchids are propagated by seed, tissue culture and other vegetative means.Vegetative methods are slow and inefficient. Monopodial orchids like Vanda and Arachnis can be propagated by top cuttings. In Phalaenopsis, flower stalks can be used for propagation Sympodial orchids. Like Dendrobium, Cattleya and Cymbidium can be propagated by division. In tissue culture, seeds, axillary buds, apical buds, leaf segments and inflorescences are used. Seed propagation is carried out only in tissue culture medium. The reason of the seeds are extremely small and are devoid of endosperm. Each pod may contain millions of seeds.
Earthen pots, baskets, tree fern blocks, wooden trays and whole husk of coconut are the common containers used for planting orchids. Sufficient drainage is very much essential for orchids. Therefore, holes of appropriate size are made at the bottom and on the sides of the containers. In the case of terrestrial orchids, plants can be planted on the ground in shallow trenches filled with media.
The medium used for growing orchids should have good aeration and drainage. It should not absorb too much water. It should not degenerate easily.
Broken bricks, gravel, tile bits, charcoal, coconut husk, perlite, vermiculite and tree ferns are the components of media used for epiphytic orchids.
The components are washed thoroughly before filling in pots.
A judicious mixture of humus, leaf mould dried manure, chopped tree fern fiber and spaghnum moss is used. In a case of epiphytic orchids, the pots are filled with the media. The plants are placed over it exposing the roots. In the case of sympodial orchids, the plants are placed near the edge of the pot, the growing point facing towards the center. A monopodial orchid is placed in the centre of the container. When grown on tree fern rafts, the plant is tied with a soft copper wire. The whole plant with pot may be dipped in water after planting and thereafter watered judiciously. The plants can also be grown on raised platforms over appropriate media directly on in pots. Orchids can be grown in hanging pots or baskets where light media like charcoal, coconut husk and tree fern fiber are used. In case of Dendrobium the plant density should be 100,000 – 150,000 plants/ha. Sympodial orchids in general, prefer a very close planting and crowded growth.
Orchids require both macro and micronutrients. The relative proportion of N controls the vegetative and reproductive phase of the crop. A higher level of N stimulates vegetative growth and a lower level stimulates flowering. Readymade fertilizer formulations are available in the market to satisfy these requirements for different categories/varieties of orchids. Generally, 0.1 – 0.2% of these nutrients should be applied 2 – 5 times in a week. In the case of flowering plants, nutrient solutions should not be sprayed at least 3 days before harvesting of flowers for better keeping quality.
To provide shade proper size net should be used for orchid care. Staking should be done as and when required. Decayed and dried up parts of the plants are to be removed. Proper drainage and aeration should be maintained. Weeds should not be allowed to grow in the media. The roots should always be exposed to air. The plants should be irrigated regularly by sprinkler irrigation. Irrigation water should be free from salts or any other ions having a neutral pH. Generally, rain or river water is the best. During the dry season, the plants are to be irrigated twice a day.
Orchids come to bloom after one year of planting. In Bangladesh orchids bloom during March – April. After opening the flowers take about 34 days to reach its full bloom stage. They come in spike during this time. The spikes should be harvested when a couple of bottom flowers reach full bloom stage. The flowers should be harvested either in the morning or in the evening. Flowers should not be harvested during rains. Immediately after harvesting, the base of the spikes should be immersed in water to keep it turgid. Afterwards, orchid care should be done by keeping storage at low temperature. Spikes are graded according to the flower buds in the spike. 8 – hydroxy Quinoline Citrate (100 – 200ppm) with 35% Sucrose and 1% Boric acid increases vase life of flowers.