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What to Be Aware of When Selecting Orchid Potting Mix

When selecting a potting mix for orchids, it's going to be important that you account for the proper amount of drainage, moisture and air circulation.  There are 30,000 different types of orchids all with slightly different needs.  But all orchids share some basic needs that generally can be met with an orchid potting soil mix. I'm going to go over how to find a good brand, how to make your own orchid potting mix, different orchid potting mix options and orchid care tips.  I hope that this helps you to be aware of what the specific needs are for orchid soil.

How to Find a Good Brand

When selecting an  orchid potting mix, it important to get a good brand.  First, you will want to make sure that the orchid soil has everything that your orchid needs.  Such things could include proper drainage, air space for their roots, and moisture.  Before you buy a potting mix, make sure it has these important features in it.

Another way to find out if the orchid potting mix is good is if it is a top rated item.  If you notice a lot of unsatisfied customers, this may be a sign that the brand isn't too good.  Before you buy potting soil for orchids, find out if the customers were pleased with their purchase.

Lastly, check the ingredients to make sure it provides the right amount of drainage and air circulation.  Such ingredients could include sphagnum moss and bark. Make sure the ingredients will last a long time, since orchids don't like being uprooted and replanted.

Make Your Own Orchid Potting Mix

If you are a Do-It-Yourselfer like myself, you may be interested in learning how to make your own orchid mix.  You'll not only save money, but may enjoy the process and satisfaction that comes with making your own orchid potting mix.  I'm going to go over a simple orchid recipe here.  If you get into fine tuning your orchid skills, you may want to tweek this recipe for your particular orchids.  This is a basic orchid mix that will cover a wide range of orchids.

Orchid Mix Recipe

4 parts medium-grade fir bark or medium-grade coco husk chunks

1 part medium charcoal

1 part horticultural-grade perlite or medium-grade Aliflor

Directions:

Mix the ingredients thoroughly.  The potting mix is ready to use as soon as you finish mixing it.

orchid potting mix

Image Source: Pixabay

Different Orchid Potting Mix Options

Each orchid may have different needs than other orchids.  Because of this, it is important to research what kind of soil your orchid needs.  In this section, I'll go over a couple different orchid potting mixes that you may be interested in.

Phalaenopsis Potting Mix

Phalaenopsis, also called the moth orchid, is one of the most popular orchids.  This orchid thrives with almost any orchid potting mix, with ingredients such as fir bark, sphagnum peat, tree fern, charcoal, sphagnum moss, perlite, coconut husk chips, or diatomite.  You can make your own homemade potting soil for Phalaenopsis, or you can purchase it online/at your local store.

Fine Mix

This potting mix is for orchids that have small roots.  You can make this mix at home, or you can find it online.  In it is 4 parts of fine-grade fir bark or fine-grade coco husk chips, 1 part of fine charcoal, and 1 part of horticultural-grade perlite or small-grade Aliflor.

Medium Mix

This orchid mix is made for mature orchids.  It contains 4 parts medium-grade fir bark or medium-grade coco husk chunks, 1 part medium charcoal, and 1 part horticultural-grade perlite or medium-grade Aliflor.

Where to Buy Potting Soil for Orchids 

Potting mix for orchids can be found almost anywhere.  You may be able to find some at your local store, depending on where you live and what stores you have. Another place to find an orchid potting mix is online.  You can order off Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart, and other common online stores.

orchid potting mix

Image Source: Pixabay

Orchid Care Tips

Water It Just Before It Becomes Dry

One of the most common reasons why orchids die is because they get overwatered.  A simple way to find out if your orchid needs water is to put your fingers in the orchid soil mix.  You will easily be able to tell if there is any moisture in the soil.  If you don't feel any moisture, then it is time to water it.  There is a fine line between watering and watering too much, so be careful to not overwater.

Get the Correct Orchid Potting Mix

As I mentioned throughout this article, make sure to get the correct orchid potting material.  Make sure the potting mix provides the proper amount drainage, moisture, and air circulation.  The potting medium for orchids is very important, so make sure to choose the right kind.

Fertilize

If you want to keep your orchid in tip-top shape, it is going to need proper nutrition much like a human body.  Fertilize your orchids either weekly or every other week while they are producing new growth.  Once the plant has matured, decrease adding fertilize to just once a month.  When your orchid goes dormant for the season, stop fertilizing until the next growing season.

Indirect Lighting

Don't put your orchid in direct sunlight.  Instead place it in an east-facing window.  South and west facing windows will produce too much direct light for an orchid, while north facing windows don't produce enough light.

Repot

It's a good practice to repot your orchid every other year.  You may even repot it every year if you notice that your orchid has stopped blooming.  If you are considering repotting an orchid after one year, first analyze if the orchid has sufficient lighting, temperature and humidity before repotting.

Check for Illness and Pests

Keep an eye on your orchid and do routine checks for signs of disease or pests. Common orchid pests include aphids, scale and mealybugs.  Insecticidal soaps are good for washing off orchid pests.

Final Thoughts

I've gone over some basics for selecting proper orchid potting soil.  There is no perfect best medium potting soil for orchids, though there are some basic needs that you should provide.  In addition to orchid soil, make sure to have the right amount of drainage, moisture and air circulation.  With over 30,000 different types of orchids, individual needs will vary slightly but by following the basics, you should be safe.  I hope that this article on selecting orchid potting mix helps your orchids to thrive so you can enjoy their unique beauty.

Top Ten Best Potting Soils

Image Source: Pixabay

Mariann Foster

I am one of our content writers for Everything Backyard. I am a mother and business owner of Big Horn Mountain Alpacas in Wyoming. I love farm life, cutting my own firewood in the mountains, and participating in local trail run races.

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