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Orchid Tip of the MonthGrowing Hydroponic Orchids!
What is hydroponics?
Well, it is growing plants without soil. There are different systems that can be used, but all in all they have the same thing in common. It is the use of nutrients - water mixture poured over inert substance called aggregates.
Here are some of the benefits I have found these growing hydroponic orchids: easy to use no wondering when to water disease free growth more vigorous growth less maintenance
Ease of use goes without saying. With hydroponic orchids, the plant is placed in a special pot and is surrounded by aggregates. More on types of aggregates at a later time. The aggregates will not only hold water but also can trap air. They also allow for more freer air movement.
After transplanting a plant into a hydroponic system there is nothing to do except add nutrient laedened water. Yes, that's it, water as needed according to the system you use and watch your orchid plants grow.
Taking The Guesswork Out Of Watering
I think the neatest part comes with knowing when to water and taking the guess work out of it. With growing hydroponic orchids there is no more wondering.. is this orchid dry enough to need water or am I giving it too much water. What are the leaves telling me?
The guess work is gone because the system you use allows you to know when to water. You could even go on vacation and not worry about how the neighbor or your mother will do with watering your orchids. Will they be alive when you get back?
No Soil - Less Chance For Disease
Because there is no soil being used and the aggregates are inert there is much less of a chance for the orchids to get disease. You do not have to worry about root rot and other diseases. So growing hydroponic orchids is the best world.
It's The Nutrients That Make The Difference
The nutrients used are the same as are usually obtained from the soil. They usually will come with the system that is purchased but may be but in any store that deals with hydroponics. The nutrients may be a bit more expensive then traditional fertilizers. You can get them either as organic or chemical nutrients.
Substitutes for Media
There are different medium that can be used in growing hydroponic orchids. There are LECA, Aliflour, and Lava Rock amongst the most common.
LECA - (lecation) - which is a clay aggregate made into pellets. The clay is heated to 2000 degrees F and develops a hard shell with tiny air sacs. It provides for air circulation due to there round size and can trap water. This is what I recommend.
Lava Rock - it is a natural product dug out of the ground and used as is. These are porous on the surface and can trap excess fertilizer.
Aliflour - is made similar to the lecation rock but is not heated to the same high temperature. This makes the aggregate much weaker and can get crushed easily
Easy To Start
I have been using this a several of my orchids and have been impressed so far with the results. During the first month I used the "rooting" nutrients every 2-3 days. I filled the planter with the rooting nutrients and let the plant stand in it for about 1 minute, then emptied the nutrients back into the bottle for re-use.
After the first month I then used the system with its watering indicator with "blooming" nutrients. It is so nice to use an indicator to know when to water.
You will notice that your hydroponically grown orchids will grow faster and better. Usually there is between 30 - 50% faster growth. This is because the water used has nutrients that the plants love. The nutrients really enhance the growth of the orchids. You will see the blooms which can be larger and last longer.
As you can see with a system like these require a whole lot less maintenance for the orchids. It is a self contained system that is very easy to use.
As easy as it sounds remember that orchids can be fickle and blooming can be a bit exasperating.
Orchid Picture of the MonthPictures of the Miami Orchid Show
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http://www.orchids-plus-more.com/picture_of_the_month.html What a great way to wake up to spring.
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