Many people think that orchids are very difficult to grow, and some species certainly
require special skills. However, the majority of popular varieties are really no
more difficult to grow than other house plants, such as African Violets.
As for any plant, the secret to successfully growing an orchid is to duplicate as
far as possible the conditions under which it grows naturally. Some orchids grow
on tree branches in the tropical jungle, some grow on rocks in the high mountains
of South America. Some local orchids grow in the ground in Gatineau Park, and some
grow in very wet conditions in Purdon Fen or Alfred Bog. Obviously each one requires
very different conditions to thrive. Find out all you can about the natural habitat
and try to offer a similar environment.
The three main variables involved are:
• Light intensity
Other important points are:
• Potting medium
• Air circulation and humidity
Since orchids come from a wide variety of habitats, their cultural requirements will
vary quite widely, and conditions which will allow one type to thrive may be fatal
to another type. When you buy an orchid, find out from the vendor whether it needs
bright sunlight or shade, does it like to be kept wet or allowed to dry out, how
cool or warm to keep it, how often to fertilize, and so on. Always try to buy a plant
which will thrive under the conditions you are able to provide, rather than buying
something which will require you to set up special conditions.
We now have a number of articles on orchid growing, each offering details on specific
topics. The articles cover the following topics:
Jean Hollebone and Marilyn Light have produced several documents to inform members
what is required to bring orchids into Canada. Although these were originally written
for the World Orchid Congress held in Florida in January 2008, they are of interest
to anyone planning to import plants from the US or elsewhere.