Orchids are grown in various media, but most commonly Douglas fir bark, which is light, porous, and drains very readily. Ordinary soil will keep oxygen from roots: most orchids are epiphytes whose aerial roots require free access to the air. Plants should be repotted before the medium decomposes. Special feeding needs are discussed separately, in the Fertilizers section.
Another orchid growth medium is Osmunda (a genus of ferns), a now rare organic substrate that requires no additional fertilization. If inorganic media are used, both nutrients and fertilizers should be provided.
Feeding should be done frequently, up to weekly or every few weeks during the growing season, with diluted fertilizers. See individual species for recommendations. Again, plants potted in Osmunda require no additional fertilization.
Compost tea and diluted seafood extracts may be used to grow orchids very successfully, organically.
Orchids may be propagated by pseudobulb division. Propagation from seed requires an expert hand as well as specialized media, equipment, and techniques: this subject is beyond the scope of this database.
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