How To Grow Orchids With Hydroponics
Orchids are traditionally considered to be difficult flowers to grow, however this is changing as hydroponics for orchids becomes more popular.
Many Success Stories
The use of hydroponics has brought about many success stories. Many orchid growers agree that hydroponic gardening is far more compartmentalized than traditional gardening. Each step on the way to grow orchids is prescribed by a single aspect of the process.
Find a Sterile Support Medium
Although hydroponics is soil free cultivation you still need to use a sterile support medium for best results. This medium is designed to allow free circulation of nutrient rich water and air around the orchid roots.
The easiest way to propagate orchids is by using rhizomes. Pot grown orchids often have badly shaped and diseased rhizomes because there isn’t enough room for them to develop properly. In a hydroponics situation you can allow as much space as necessary for ideal rhizome formation. It is also easy to split rhizomes as soon as they are ready without disturbing the root system. Healthy rhizomes will develop very quickly in the ideal conditions.
Knowing when to water growing orchids has often been a problem for orchid growers. Hydroponic gardening uses automatic watering systems to solve this problem.
Pump and Timer
Automatic watering systems can be mechanical using a pump and a timer. Initially you might need to use a little trial and error and close observation to get the timing just right. If you over water your orchids the support medium will help to reduce or negate the impact on the plants.
Watering your orchids can be achieved by using the capillary action of a cord connecting the nutrient rich water supply to the support medium. Water will always try to fill any small space to which it is adjacent. Capillary action is usually enough to raise water above the lip of a reservoir. From the lip of the reservoir gravity takes over and the water containing the nutrients flows down the cord capillaries to end up in the orchid support medium. With capillary action the amount of water delivered is controlled by the size of the cord. If there is insufficient water being delivered you can add another cord or use a thicker one. If too much water is delivered you can use a thinner cord.
A hydroponic system delivers food dissolved in water to plants. The orchid grower has the ability to provide food to satisfy the orchid’s needs at any time in its growing cycle. Orchids fed hydroponically do not have to struggle to find nutrients and can put all of their energy into growing. The ready availability of food removes the need of feeding more often because the food is in constant supply.
Ideal lighting and hydroponics will give a very high success rate. You should choose lighting that does not generate a lot of heat and produces the equivalent of 400 watt lights over the full spectrum from about three feet.
There is a very wide assortment of orchids that can be grown. Hydroponics makes orchid growing easier for every gardener and introduces the prospect of successfully growing less common varieties.