Information on Species
Hybrid orchid culture presents fewer problems than species orchid culture because each species has its own individual cultural requirements. The problem is to identify the conditions required by each individual species and to reproduce these conditions in your orchid house.
Some species, such as Dendrobium falcorostrum will tolerate sleet, while the likes of Cirrhopetalum makoyanum is a tropical grower and must be protected in winter. The one constant is air movement. Good air movement is essential to all species. Watering also must be carefully watched. More orchids are killed by over watering than under watering, so a well-drained media is mandatory. Slab mounting provides excellent drainage for plants susceptible to root-rot. Basket culture may be more appropiate for some species.
An orchid house five metres high is more suitable for species orchids than a low structure. Plants can be hung at various levels, which will allow a choice of growing conditions.
Species orchid growers are the conservationists of the orchid world. They are committed to species preservation because of the unique natural beauty of the flowers and the need to maintain biodiversity. Selfing and selection produces superior species. These crossed onto existing hybrids produce superior progeny.
Flowers of many orchid species are as bizarre as they are beautiful, from the wild mophead of Cirrhopetalum medusa, to the savage serrated beak of Gongora truncata, something you would expect to find in “The Day of the Triffids”. Some orchids manipulate their pollinating insects to an extraordinary degree.
Fertilizing is something of a problem when growing species. Some demand more nourishment than others. Too lush and vigorous growth with few flowers maybe a sign of too much fertilizer. Fertilizing is only required when the plant is in active growth.
Species growing can be interesting and rewarding.
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