Package of Practices for Growing Orchids
Orchids are most fascinating and beautiful of all flowers. They exhibit a wide range of diversity in form, size, colour and texture of flowers beyond the imagination of human mind. This manifold and perplexing range of floral structures arouse our highest admiration.
Cultivation of orchids has become a very profitable occupation. Development of new hybrids and commercial production of cut flowers in orchids have expanded tremendously.
It is grown in tropical, sub tropical and temperature. It requires 40-75% R. H. it requires less light intensity. Temperature 15-21OC. It prefers high humidity.
Orchids are grown in orchid houses, Lath house, Fabre glass house, controlled glass house.
Orchids can be propagated by both seeds and vegetative means. The creation of hybrids and raising the seedlings in flasks are being practiced by commercial growers through out the world. Plants raised from seeds, however take long time to bloom. The technique of meristem culture is used for rapid and large scale multiplication and in fact it has revolutionized the orchid propagation. Multiplication by traditional methods of vegetative propagation such as by division, cutting, air layering etc. are followed, particularly by amateurs.
An orchid house is a protecting structure that provides suitable environment for the successful cultivation of different kinds of orchids. Many types of structures have been used over the years and the simplest ones are those used in warm regions.
Clay pots, wooden or galvanized wire baskets, tree fern blocks, logs of wood, etc. are the different types of containers used for growing orchid. Clay pots provided with several cuts and holes to facilitate adequate aeration and proper drainage are very popular in different places.
Potting and Media:
Under natural conditions, terrestrial orchids are found growing in forest soils composed of rich humus, accumulated from the falling leaves over a period of time. For a potting medium simulating this natural humus, a mixture of equal parts of leaf mould, garden and soil and coarse river sand will be suitable. In fact any well drained petting mixtures of equal parts of leaf mould, garden and soil and coarse river sand will be suitable. In fact any well drained potting mixtures containing 50% or more organic matter can be used.
Manuring and Fertilization:
Like other plants, the growth and flowering in orchids are markedly improved by proper supply of nutrients in liquid forms. The major mineral elements required in large amount are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulphur and magnesium. Iron, boron, copper, manganese, molybdenum, Zinc, and other micronutrients are also necessary but in extremely small quantity. Under natural conditions, orchids get their necessary inorganic nutrients from the soil or decayed organic matter on the bark upon which they are growing and also form the atmosphere washed down by rain. The organic matters are supplied by the decaying vegetable and animal debris. When under cultivation, all these nutrients should be supplied to the orchids regularly for their growth and flowering.
This is a very important operation and the growers should have through knowledge about the flowering behavior of the orchids used for cut flower production. Proper time, stage and method of harvest determine the quality of the produce. In general, orchid flowers do not mature until 3-4 days after they open. Flowers cut prior to their maturity may wilt before reaching the wholesaler. Harvesting should preferably be done in the evening.
Post Harvest Handling:
There are no standard grades for orchid flowers and their prices and fixed according to the size.
Since most orchid flowers are long lived on the plants they should not be harvested until needed. If these are to be cut they should be stored ate 507OC.
Packaging is another important aspect in the flower trade. If it is not done properly, the flowers may with or suffer mechanical injury during transit. An ideal package should be airtight, water proof, strong enough to withstand handling and small in volume.