Where you live and the type of orchid you have can make a difference.
Do you live in a humid area, or a dry one? Do you like watering your plants, or tend to forget about watering? These are factors to consider when choosing the growing medium for your orchid. Also, the type of orchid you have determines what growing medium you?ll need.
Most ground-growing orchids need a potting mix that retains moisture, but also drains well and is very airy. Miracle-Gro® Orchid Potting Mix is made of composted bark and peat moss, with Miracle-Gro® Continuous Release Plant Food to provide consistent nutrition for up to 3 months. This is a good choice for all types of orchids. Other orchid potting mixes can be made with coconut fiber (coir), fir bark, and perlite to allow for moisture retention and air circulation. It is important to note that potting mix for other types of houseplants is often too dense for growing orchids.
In nature, tree-growing orchids (called epyphytic orchids) wrap their roots around tree bark or vegetation. They thrive in humid locations. To grow one of these beautiful plants, you can use a mounting material. This could be a piece of tree bark, cork, or a basket with oak bark. You can also plant them in shredded fir bark. These materials allow for fast drainage while providing plenty of area for roots to anchor. If you live in a frost-free area, you can place your orchid in a tree, as long as it doesn?t shed bark too much.
Sometimes, you?ll see orchids planted in mixtures containing manufactured materials, such as rock wool, perlite, or clay pellets. Also pumice and other volcanic rock are used. These substances, called aggregates, help increase drainage, and are more commonly seen in areas with high humidity or in mixes for outdoor orchids. If these materials are in your orchid mix, you may need to increase your watering, since they drain so well.
Which Medium Is Right for You?
Factors such as humidity, temperature, and how you water can make a difference in what planting mix you need. The more humid your area is, the faster the drainage should be. That?s why you often see nurseries in Florida sell orchids in a mixture containing aggregates. In drier areas, you can do well with fir bark or a mix containing bark. Miracle-Gro® Orchid Potting Mix will work well in all climates. If you want to swap ideas on planting media with other orchid-lovers, get in touch with your local orchid society.