Can I Use Regular Potting Soil for Orchids?

You may have heard from an experienced florist or a gardener that orchids are one of the toughest plants to take care of. This is true in some cases, but there are orchids that are relatively easy to take care of. If you are planning to take care of orchids, you may be tempted to use a potting mix, especially for the indoor ones. You can do that, of course, but you should know what type of potting mix is suitable for your orchids.

  1. The Right Potting Mix

You should know the right potting mix for your orchids. Orchids need a potting mix that can provide good air circulation, moisture and has good drainage. Of course, this would still depend on the type of orchid you are trying to grow. There are a lot of orchid potting mixes available in the market, each focuses on a certain type of important orchid preference. They come with a variety and different sets of materials, and all of which have their own set of pros and cons. You can even attempt to make your own type of potting mix, which you can easily learn to do if you read below. Of course, if that task is too tedious for you, there are a lot of ready-made orchid potting mixes available for you. Just do not forget to ask about the ready-made potting mix and what its qualities are.

  1. Know Your Options

  • Of course, you should do research and know your options for orchid mixes. You can find a variety of them in the market and sometimes, it can be overwhelming. Orchids are very choosy when it comes to their potting material. This is because their roots need proper air space, and it also needs a material that is good with drainage. There is no specific or a single potting material that works best for an orchid. In fact, most florists and gardeners’ experiment or mix specific types of material to create something that is perfect for their orchids.

  • You should make sure to know the specifics of a certain potting mix and what its components are. It is also best to have someone explain or guide you about the available mixes in the market and have them tell you about the pros and cons of each one. It really pays to be observant and organized, especially if you are taking on the challenge of growing an orchid. You should also know a lot about the orchid you are planning to grow because each orchid has its own preferences.

  1. Make Your Own

Did you know you can always opt to make your own potting mix? Most florists does this as there is no specific potting mix for orchids. You really have to experiment or create your own mix that is most suitable for your type of orchid. Do not feel overwhelmed as creating your own mix is relatively easy. There are two basic mixes that are known to suit orchids.

There are many factors to consider when you choose materials for your potting mix. Some of these are the size of the roots of the orchid and their need for water retention. You would have to adjust the texture of the material you are going to use in your mix that would suit the preferences of the orchids. Here are the two types of mix you can easily do that is good for your orchids:

  1. Fine Mix
  • This type of mix is good for orchids that are small in size. These orchids can be oncidiums, slipper orchids and Miltonia. You can also use this for orchids that come with small roots that want the soil or the potting mix to be a little damp. There are only a few orchids who like this type of potting mix.

  1. Medium Mix
  • This is a good choice of a mix if you are unsure about what you want. This is also known as the middle-of-the-road mix. This type of mix is generally good for phalaenopsis, cattleyas and most of the orchids that are considered mature.

If you want to just by a mix that is good for orchids, you can easily fine prepare potting mixes in shops that sell orchids. You should ask the owner of the shop which specific potting mix is good for the orchid you are trying to grow. This is to make sure you use one that is suitable for your orchid’s preferences. Most of the mixes available in the store contain general materials like charcoal, perlite, peat moss and fir bark. These are materials that are suitable for most, if not all, orchids.

You can experiment, and try to make your own potting mix but what you need to keep in mind is that growing orchids can be quite a challenge, especially if you are a beginner. Do not be discouraged if you fail at your first try, most experts started that way. You should remember that gardening requires a lot of patience and hard work as plants and flowers do not just grow out of the ground when it is neglected, except of course for wildflowers. Orchids are known to be able to last 100 years if taken of properly. Do not give up after the first failure as you will get the hang of growing orchids soon enough, and it would definitely be worth it.