Orchid does not grow well in pot or containers. It is too dense and doesn’t drain well enough. Most orchids grow in the air, the medium being there to give roots something to hold onto. The many choices in orchid potting materials available can make it confusing.
However, you can create your orchid mix by becoming familiar with your plant’s needs.
Brick Pieces and Cobblestone
Brick chunks can add weight and stability to heavy orchid pots. Because brick chunks can be heavy, it is best to choose smaller pieces. This material is water-retentive and can increase humidity for orchids.
Cobblestone can also be used as an anchor for the bottom of an orchid pot. Cobblestone is small and uneven, so it helps top-heavy orchids such as dendrobiums stay upright. However, cobblestone won’t retain water, so you will need to improve the drainage properties for your orchid mix.
Coconut Coir and Husk Chips
Coconut coir, the fibrous middle of the fruit, can be used alone or in a custom mix. Coconut husk chips are a renewable resource. They slow down the process of chip decomposition, which allows for maximum air circulation for orchid roots.
Cork is a watertight material that anyone who has ever opened a vintage wine bottle knows. For the perfect orchid mix, you can combine water-shedding cork with water-absorbent sphagnum moss or shredded bark. Larger cork chips provide many places for orchid roots to explore.
Pumice is loved for its ability to polish rough skin. However, this volcanic rock can also be used as an inorganic medium for growing orchids. It is porous and can hold up to 50% of its weight in water. It is also very lightweight, so it will not weigh down your plant.
Rock wool, also known as Rockwool, is a cotton-like fibre made from chalk and basalt. It can be purchased in better gardening shops or online. The best thing about rock wool is its inability to break down in orchid potting mixes. However, you will need to balance rock wool cubes’ alkalinity with organic ingredients like bark or peat.
Shredded bark is taken from trees such as fir, cedar and cypress. It is a common material in orchid pots, especially in nurseries and flower shops for beginners.
As it is broken down, bark will acidify the orchid mixture. It is also appreciated for its pleasant scent and natural appearance. Orchids grown in bark mediums may require repotting every year.
Styrofoam can be a good medium for orchids that need to thrive during dry periods. Styrofoam peanuts are a good option for growing orchids. They can also be recycled as common packing material. Aerolite is a special Styrofoam product that’s made for epiphytic plants such as orchids.
Garden stores often sell vermiculite, which can be found in a variety of potting soil additives. You can also find vermiculite in ready-made potting-soil mixes. It appears as small, gravel-sized particles.
This light-brown mineral is good at retaining nutrients and water. Vermiculite can also be used to aerate a potting mix. Vermiculite can be combined with sphagnum moss to make a light, moist orchid mix.