Choosing the Right Orchid Pots
Orchid pots, especially the plastic pots, are indispensable items in the possession of every orchid grower. Generally, pots support the good caring of a plant and play an important role to the success of orchid growing and caring. Paying less attention to these potting matters may limit the healthy growth of your orchid. On the contrary, providing the appropriate pot will provide you with the possibility to control a healthy substrate required by your orchid.
Orchid pots are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes as well as various materials of which they are made from such as plastic, clay, ceramic and some other special materials like the purple clay and coir which is the outer shell of coconut. The shapes and sizes are geared to the requirement of a growing orchid, which in its development gradually needs more space for the root to expand healthy.
A good pot should meet the following requirements:
It does not break easily and strong enough to hold the force of expanding roots or when dropped by accident. It could also stand wet potting media and will not fall apart when exposed to watery substances for quite a long time.
Facilitates proper drainage or where you can easily control and schedule your orchid watering. Different materials will have different water permeability which should be well-adjusted with the number and size of drainage holes.
It provides enough room for the expanding root direction. Some orchids like the Cymbidiums have very long roots, thus a tall pot is needed. While other orchids such as the Jewel orchid has spreadable roots thus is best placed in a shallow broad pot.
It should be odorless and pH neutral. Some plastics can produce harmful substance when exposed to heat. Acid and alkali may be harmful as well. Please check this condition especially when you want to re-use an old pot.
It should be resistance to fungi and algae to assure healthy feeding of your orchids. The presence of fungi and algae will cause ineffectiveness of your potting media since these two will share the nutrients in it.
Potting materials have advantages and disadvantages which you may consider when you need to select a pot for your orchid.
Plastic orchid pots are the most common used pots especially in orchid gardens. They do not easily break and can be kept and used again after repotting your orchids. They usually have multiple drainage holes since plastic is less permeable to water, that’s why the potting media tends to dry slower compared to the clay pot. The popular pot is the clear plastic pot where you can see how the roots are doing in the potting media where you can easily detect if something is going wrong with the roots or substrate.
Clay or terracotta as well as ceramic pots are heavier thus it can provide more stability. It has higher water permeability for this reason it usually has only one drainage hole, but the bigger ones have several holes in the bottom. Due to this higher permeability, the potting media tends to dry out faster than the plastic pots. Clay pots are therefore most suitable for succulent drought-tolerant orchids since there is less possibility for water accumulation in the potting media.
Basket pots are made of plaited wire, plastic, wood and nets. Having loose walls provide advantage to heavy-rooted orchids which need better air circulation. A Dracula orchid or Drac for instance are best placed in a mesh basket to induce successful flowering. Some orchid decorating flowers such as Acineta, Gongora and Stanhopea can be enjoyed to the fullest if it is placed in an open basket pot.
Coir pots are made of coir which is the coconut outer shield composed of dust and fibers. This long lasting coir pots are claimed to be biodegradable and the most eco-friendly which provide a lot of benefits. This university-tested pot is weed and disease free, facilitate faster orchid growth and ensure strong roots. Being made of natural coconut hush it contains essential nutrients such as iron, magnesium zinc and copper. It can also be placed straightly into the ground.
Purple clay pots are made of a special type of clay originated from Yixing, Cina which is called ‘zi sha’ using ancient techniques by master craftsmen. This unique clay has been dug out since the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century to produce the famous Yixing teapots. Purple clay has three natural colors: red, yellow and purple. The natural porosity of purple clay is very suitable for orchids with delicate roots and provides better air circulation for those delicate roots.
In terms of shape and sizes, there are plenty of choices that might meet your requirement. You can purchase them online or at your gardening store. I suggest you to learn more about this potting matter or you can ask the store keeper who probably can provide you with some good information pertaining a certain type of pot. Happy potting …..!
Uno Birawan is a writer and wrote a lot on how to caring for orchids. You can also obtain more information on Repot Orchids or you can visit his site www.TheOrchidPot.com to share more valuable information on caring for orchids
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